We wanted to let you know a little more about us, The Club of Odd Volumes.
It all started June 2012. Matt was a sign writer and I (Sarah) was a designer working in publishing.
A friend encouraged me to try sell a few of my random drawings online. She had just started a shop and I thought ok… lets give it a go. We looked into screen printing and off-shore production but were not ready to gamble on large quantities of untested designs, pay huge set up costs and predict customers sizing.
Matt had a little experience with customizing apparel in the sign writing biz, so after researching we decided to jump in and commit to a digital printer instead. The joy of digital is that it can print one at a time. With no set-up and no colour separations it allowed us to make-to-order printing directly onto pre-sewn garments. Within a week the bank had approved a loan, we bought a printer, agreed on a name and got started.
The Club of Odd Volumes was inspired by a bookclub in Boston, US from the 1800’s. They use to gather to talk type, books, letterpress, binding. All the things I loved. Odd meaning varied or mismatched (like odd socks, not odd weird).
We realised fast that friends also wanted to print their art onto textiles. We started with random birthday presents, a few tea towels for a pop-up shop and a tote bag here and there. Slowly word spread and a few artists started printing goods to re-sell.
This became our focus. Helping artists like ourselves who just wanted to make a few tees and see if anyone else liked them. Within a few months we were busy enough for me to focus on The Club full time.
I think when anyone starts their own label they quickly realise that an online store is hard. How do you get people to see your awesome product when you have no foot traffic.
The artists we were working with were also struggling with this. They needed a community that was not too large that they got lost amongst millions of other artists. A company that would look after them personally, take on some of the boring admin, and help promote each of them.
This is what inspired The Odd Collective.
In August 2013 with 20 artists we launched our new online store.
We deal with customers, payments, printing, packaging and daily trips to the post office and then give the artist their profit. To keep it fresh rather than adding more artists, we decided to keep it at 20 and rotate the artists every six months to give new up-and-coming talent a chance to get some exposure too. Through Facebook, Instagram, bloggers, newspapers, magazines, markets and word of mouth we help get more exposure for our artists.
And that is pretty much it …. Matt joined the business full time a few months after me, a year later we raised $45,000 on kickstarter to make our first bulk run of bed sheets offshore, upgraded to a larger studio and got married.
We are still a small two person team covering all areas of business and work around the clock to print, source new products and find rad artists to join. We do not run our business by a strict set of rules and hoops customers have to jump through. We print and post 90% of orders within one day (even thought we ask you to allow 2-5 days for printing) because customer service is important to us. We like to think you get an honest personal approach and we are genuinely excited to see peoples artwork translated onto textiles.