Hello. Remember me?! Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. Before Christmas consumes me, I thought I’d better post an update!
The reason I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately is due to the hairy dog I drew way back in May. A friend very kindly put him on a t-shirt and a mug for me as a gift, and ever since then, people have been asking me where they can buy them. Which made me think. Hmmm… maybe I should order a few more?
So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few months.
I commissioned a designer to vectorise my illustration (which basically means it can be enlarged to any size without losing resolution) and I gave Hairy Dog his own facebook page (he was most chuffed, I can tell you).
I researched eco printers in the UK and settled on one in the West Country, who screen print their organic cotton t-shirts by hand using 100% solvent-free water-based inks.
So far so good.
Next, I emailed a select group of friends and family to ask for their feedback on which colours I should order for stock and, to my surprise, I got 20 concrete orders. Bingo!
You’d think the rest would be easy, wouldn’t you? Er, no.
I placed my order with the printers and prepared to put my feet up, whilst I noodled around with finishing a picture book I have been writing. But things didn’t quite go according to plan.
First, the printing company didn’t have all the colours in stock, so I had to go back to people and ask them to choose alternative colours. Then someone tipped me off that the women’s t-shirts come up verrrrrrry small (they are a very flattering slim cut), so I had to go back to the women and double check they had ordered the right size. Then, when the t-shirts finally arrived, I discovered there had been a slight technical hitch with the printing. Arghhhhh!
To be fair to the printers, once they realised their mistake, they pulled out all the stops to rectify things and send me out another batch ASAP. But still, it was slightly stressful; some people had ordered t-shirts as Christmas presents and I was getting ‘slightly angsty’ about them not receiving them in time (which is a polite way of saying, I was feeling a mini meltdown coming on).
To cut a long story short, the new t-shirts arrived in the nick of time on Monday. They looked stunning.
Now I am waiting to see how people respond to them. So far, it looks promising: One friend came over to pick up the t-shirt she had bought for a friend. She tried it on, fell in love with it, and decided to keep it for herself! And yesterday, another friend (who hadn’t ordered a t-shirt) popped round for a cuppa, spotted one of the t-shirts and declared, “I love it, I HAVE to have it!” So I made another sale on the spot, whilst having tea and cake. Very civilised :-)
But, OK, these are friends. The question is, where do I go from here?
I am pondering a few options. I could…
1. Set up a website, order more stock in, and run the Hairy Dog Company from home (possibly adding mugs and some of my other illustrations to the range)
2. Use a fulfillment company, such as Teemill, who will take care of all the printing and sales for me, and pay me a small percentage per sale
3. Forget this idea altogether – it was a fun experiment and nothing more!
What do you think? If anyone has any feedback or advice regarding any of the above, I’d love to hear from you. I’ll probably order one more batch of t-shirts in the new year, whatever happens, as a few more people have asked for a t-shirt – so if anyone fancies one, please shout and I’ll post details in January.
Until then, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!!
Katherine & Hairy Dog x