Why Custom Apparel? How did it all start?

Why Custom Apparel? How did it all start?
Colbee, owner.

Okay, so strap in.

As a kid, understanding the uniqueness of my name came with a lot of embarrassment and somewhat hatred towards my parents. I vividly remember sending a signed petition to be able to change my name to Bianca. Not only was I one of the kids that would be constantly asked to repeat their name, I could NEVER find my name on magnets, mugs, beanie bears etc. As a 10yr old, that is a nightmare. I think these feelings never really left me over time. (I LOVE my name now and every other unique name in the world)

Fast forward 18years, here I was spending a fortune on pretty basic sweaters. I became obsessed. If I found a style that I loved, I needed it in every colour. It became an issue when I was over taking a shared wardrobe with my sweaters and running my bank account dry. My partner at the time had a few factory connections with merch companies. So I decided to invest $500 in getting a couple of Sweaters designed, printed and embroidered. At this point, my idea was to just jump on trends, make them into a sweater and buy a whole heap to sell. This is the only way when working with larger factories, you can’t get smaller quantities and there are HUGE set up costs involved for each design. So custom? No way. Not possible. My first sweater design was BRUNCH CLUB. Brunch was trending, food blogs were all the hype, Instagramming your meals on the daily was EVERYTHING. Much to my surprise, I received orders from strangers and people outside of my family. I couldn’t believe it.

2 months pass and I wasn’t happy with every single piece that was coming through from the factories. I noticed embroidery faults and I just wasn’t happy. It was then, that I decided to take a trip down to the local sewing shop with my Mum. I was keen to see if there were any embroidery machines that I could buy. I met Katie and Monica there, both over 75yrs old. They were the hardest people to convince to be my friend, ever. They thought my idea was silly and that I shouldn’t just buy a machine when I have no experience or idea about the machines. Actually, come to think of it, they were kinda rude. It was then my mission to be able to prove them wrong AND to make them my best friends. Which I did. I bought a $3,000 machine off them (goodbye to any sort of savings). They told me to take it home and figure it out. I wasn’t allowed to ask them any questions until I did this. It was a wild learning experience but wouldn’t change it for the world. I think I went down to the shop every second day after that and asked my questions. Slowly, they both let me in and shared their secrets. It took me a good 3 months to be able to understand the machine and be confident with my work. I learned that I was a bit of a perfectionist when it came to embroidery. This hasn't changed.

It was then, when I started to offer CUSTOM text on sweaters. I gave the option to the customer, to create their own. They were the designers. We were now a personalised brand. People with unique names like mine, would be able to make their own merch and not rely on those lame name magnets. WAHOO. Slowly people started to love this concept and I was getting more custom orders than collection piece orders. I started to release different garment pieces so we could flow through the season and still have orders coming in. We now offer pretty much everything here at the club for people to be able to customise.

Fast forward 2.5years, I had outgrown 3 different garages, my original baby machine and things were looking a little scary with this pandemic situation. I was in a position where I needed to take the risk and move into a bigger space. This would allow for more machines, more stock and be able to take on more orders. So I did it. We signed a lease for a mini warehouse space. My team grew from just my pooch Elton and I, to a small team of 3 awesome ladies. We continue to fulfill the custom dreams of people and businesses around the world. Custom crazy madness, we LOVE it.

Why Custom Apparel? How did it all start?