If you’ve been following us long enough, you’ll probably remember us posting our cream sweatsuit set in the later half of 2020. It was our first big project alongside our corduroy shorts, an ambitious idea that excited us and from the response and support we received, we knew it excited our audience as well. The sample (albeit far from perfect) really reflected our growth as a clothing brand and marked our journey into cut and sew which was (and still is) an intimidating process. However, a sample was all that cream coloured sweatsuit came to and it’s instagram post debut soon became a throwback Thursday. Looking back almost a 1 and ½ years later, it dawned on us that we never really took time to acknowledge what didn’t become of the cream sweatsuit.
Long story short, the reason we never sold the sweatsuit was that we simply just couldn’t get it right. And that came down to the communication issues we had with our manufacturer - we had provided tech packs, feedback and endless amounts of What’sApp messages. Sample after sample, everytime we asked for a change, something different would happen. We’d get a different waistband despite asking for a different drawstring, we’d ask for 1cm off the width of each leg and get a thicker cuff on the ankle, things like that. After the second sample, the garment was still not where we wanted it to be. From afar it looked fine, fine enough to post on social media to show our Friends & Family what we’d been working on. But after assessing the finer details, we knew it wasn’t something we’d be proud of releasing and that was important to us.
We could have kept trying, but the trust within our relationship with the manufacturer had been lost. We had to ask ourselves, how much more time, energy and money were we going to pour into a garment that was going out of season, with manufacturers who couldn’t listen to what we needed?
Tough gig right?
In hindsight, we knew we should've taken more time to do our due diligence when researching the company and we shouldn’t have lowered our standards and succumbed to the pressures of time. And as a business owner you wish you had the foresight to know when to pull the plug rather than to persevere out of (blind) hope which was an expensive decision. You also wish you could recognise the manufacturing red flags like you would a toxic relationship. But ultimately we came to understand that you can’t gain experience from not having gone through an experience…
When your ideas don’t actually go the way you plan and you publicise them online, it’s a hard pill to swallow. From the get go, we knew we wanted to bring people along on our journey so having transparency across our brand has always been a core value for us. And of course it’s cool and respected to do this but people don’t talk about being transparent on social media means having people online witness your mistakes and ”failed” projects in real time. When you tell your brand story through your content, transparency is almost the hardest part to tell when shit goes south. It's so easy to curate content that makes your brand look good but it's hard to publish the vulnerability when things go wrong even though it does add heritage, meaning and depth to your brand journey. It’s definitely a double edged sword.
This hurdle has definitely been a lesson on how to fail forward. Failure is almost inevitable and unavoidable on any journey you take. Failing backwards meant repeating the same mistakes, never expecting to fail (or even expecting to always fail), blaming others and quitting. Failing forward means to take responsibility, learn from our mistakes and know that it’s a part of the process. It’s easier said than done of course. For us it didn’t come without all the shit feelings we’ve been conditioned to associate with failure like: frustration, embarrassment and defeat. Over the past few years, we’ve learnt how to work through those feelings faster and more efficiently.
This experience was also a good reality check on the clothing industry and we’ve learnt first hand how tough and tight the timeframe is from moodboarding a collection to sampling to production and then getting it online ready to sell. It was also important for us to have a mentor who could help point us in the right direction and figure out the right manufacturer(s) for us. With this in mind, we think what our audience will see through the next 3-6 collections is our quality and design improve by leaps and bounds.