As promised, we're going to dive into a bit of the work flow for our newest PARC product, releasing tomorrow. Britt and I knew that we wanted every product that carried a PARC label to be special. There are 100 other brands making tees and screen printing isn't all that special. So we started looking for ways to make our brand stand out.
Over the last 2 years, I've had the pleasure of bouncing ideas and production woes with 2 guys. Justin, from Walts Wardrobe and Aaron from Lost Boys Club. Together, we've all taken leaps into the manufacturing. Our first jump into production was with a manufacturer in Pakistan last year - but I'll save that story for our post on the Princess Track and Field jackets.
After finding a factory with some promise, I let Aaron know that I finally had a reliable partner overseas that could reliably produce QUALITY garments for us. After all, thats literally HALF the battle.
Disclaimer: Im no expert in manufacturing... but lets just say I've made a ton of mistakes and learned a lot from them. Your biggest hurdles are:
Aaron is a super talented designer, fashion junkie and has a keen eye for detail. I've actually been wanting to work with him for a while. So when he shared a mock-up of the "OH BOY" design to me, I knew this would be the perfect time to test my manufacturers abilities and our ability to communicate the detail of this garment to them.
Concept: Graphic Tee with 3-D Embroidery stitched over screen printed design.
Garment: Cotton T-Shirt
Embellishments: 3-D Embroidery and Plastisol Ink
The biggest challenge for this project was going to be lining up embroidery and screen printing. Its hard enough to make sure alignment on 2 colors is properly registered with screen printing. Adding a whole different element like embroidery to the mix was going to be tough from a quality standpoint.
1. Tech Pack: The first thing we had to do was create a tech pack (Technical Package). Which is basically a document that lays out the basics of the garment. Rough measurements, Art placement, Thread colors, etc. Here's a basic overview of ours. Its nothing fancy, but enough to convey what we wanted.
Note: Measurements for the shirt were taken from a shirt we really liked the fit of. From that our manufacturer was able to dial in the details. Again, this is a rough idea of what you want. A more technical document would be a pattern. For this case, a t-shirt we didn't feel it was necessary.
2. Sampling: Once you've nailed down the rough details, the real fun begins. The factory begins to sample your product and keeps in touch along the way to inform you of any hang-ups. And dont worry, theres always hang-ups!
3. Revisions: Pretty straight forward. Anything that needs to be changed after the sample has been produced should be done at this point.
4. Production: All your dreams come true! They're making your product!
We knew the tee was going to be black, so our factory had provided us with some nice dark black options. We requested, that along with our sample, they send us cotton swatches and thread books (used to select thread color for embroidery for future use.
For this project, we selected colors based on Pantone color books. This brought us to our first challenge. When collaborating with factories overseas, its important to make sure you're using the same color books. Pantone has SEVERAL color books and if you and your factory isn't using the same color books, you could end up playing a guessing game on your colors. I'll give you a real life example.
Above, we selected a color RED 032C from the PANTONE SOLID COATED book.
My manufacturer was using the TPX color book for fashion and textile cotton. The result? A Skype session with our manufacturer holding color cards up to her phone for me to make a decision on embroidery threads. Avoid this at all costs. Make sure you're using the same books so you can compare colors based on the same standards. We ended up picking something that was more orange, as you can see by the threads around it. This was changed later on.
The first part of the design was screen printed. Yellow Plastisol was used to create the neon look. Remember, the Embroidery has to line up perfectly with the above design to get the right look.
Looks about right! But we noticed a few things that we wanted to change. Some of the yellow lines were becoming distracting and we removed some from the inside of the letters. See below:
Embroidery close-up. Ignore the yellow thread, it was used as a placeholder during testing.
We received the sample and noticed our thread was more orange than we would have liked. Thankfully we had a thread book from our factory and selected the correct thread color. The embroidery was changed and production was green-lit!
Whew! That was a lot. It was a real eye-opener for us to see how something so simple, like a t-shirt could get so detailed. We definitely enjoyed making this product and loved the collaboration process with both our factory and with Aaron. We'd love to hear your questions and or thoughts about the process!
OH BOY Tees go on sale tomorrow 02/07/18 at 7PM EST!
Are you currently trying to manufacture something and need advice?
Are you running into hurdles with your supply chain?
We'd love to help! Leave a comment or send us an email to get in touch!
Thanks for reading!
Leo De La O