Part 1 of 3 – The Basement.
It’s actually hard to believe that it’s only been a year since we started Twiga… so much has happened. We have grown so much! We literally started with a few sheets of vinyl we ordered off of Amazon, our daughter’s bath towel, an exact-o-knife, an iron, and a million ideas!
Were we going to have a store? Just do pop-ups? Sell our shirts out of the back of our car? Who knew?!
All we knew for certain at the time was that we wanted to build a business our daughters would learn from and be proud of, make products with meaningful messaging, and give a portion of our sales to local not-for-profits that support causes nearest and dearest to our hearts.
So, I sat down and drew. Right away I made a design I knew spoke to us and the message we wanted to get out there, and so the “Bleeding Feather” was created. I wasn’t sure if anyone would buy it. Was it too controversial? We actually didn’t care. Surprisingly, it has become our best seller! This piece initially got the ball rolling, and soon after, designs related to the causes we care about began pouring out of my head onto paper.
But how were we to get my sketches from the paper onto a shirt?! A lot of YouTube videos, a lot of mistakes, a lot of late nights, and many not-so-subtle questions to my local vinyls supplier (Amazon was a one time thing… I didn’t have a clue where to buy anything at first).
At this point, we knew we were going to make a go of this business no matter what – our passion was already so strong. We’ve been talking about (at times maybe even preaching) these issues for years, been marching in the cold for 2SMMIWG, and every time Palestine is under attack, cried seeing Syrian children washing up on the shores of Greece, had more conversations than a person should explaining why black lives matter. And now we had a way, to not only say everything we wanted to, but have other people join the conversation and spread the message that – even though we might not “be you,” we love you, we will stand by you, and you matter to us.
So, we cleaned out the playroom in the basement and brought our kitchen table down to be our “work table.” We set up an IG account and went down to city hall (only to find out you actually don’t go to city hall for a business license lol), and ‘BAM!’ we were in business! Okay, well maybe not quite “BAM”, we did have to buy the right equipment (the iron and exact-o-knife weren’t really going to cut it), find a shirt supplier, and there was a lot more trial and error.
Most importantly, before we even made one sale, we needed to approach the two not-for-profits and tell them we wanted to commit 20% of all our sales to them – something that has truly been one of the most rewarding parts of it all. Check out here a picture of Adam Sturgeon of WHOOP-Szo Band & Rezonance supporting our #1 shirt!
And then we booked out first event, which leads us to “everything in between”…
Stay tuned for the part 2!