A huge portion of my design experience comes from creating my own clothing line. As a competitive female flowboarder in a male dominated community, I felt a need for apparel that could both encourage female riders to compete and improve their skills and spark a conversation about our growing sport. Thus: flowlove was born. I managed everything from beginning to end: design, production, marketing, sales, order fulfillment and customer service.
My favorite part was overcoming the learning curve involved every step of the way. When creating designs, I start with what I know: sketching, drawing and painting, then digitizing the designs in Photoshop and Illustrator. The first flowlove shirts were printed in my friend’s garage where I learned the basics of silkscreen printing. I built my own set-up for the next generation of one-of-a-kind shirts, and eventually consulted professional printing shops to learn about different printing processes and produce larger batches of flowlove designs. I learned the best practices for product photography, researched how to build a linesheet for wholesale and consignment buyers, promoted the line through sponsorship of the Flow Tour and social media and made international sales online and in person.
The most challenging parts of the process were communicating my expectations to the print shops and rebranding flowlove to encompass both women’s and men’s apparel. Even with a thorough description of size, color and quantity and a detailed visual mockup, there is still room for error when working with another print shop. I often made alterations by hand to the products that didn’t turn out like I had planned to make something I was confident putting my brand name on.
When it came time to expand my target audience, I did away with the heart logo and decided with the Endless Flow Summer collection I would create unisex designs influenced by my travels that would appeal not only to flowboarders but people outside the sport as well.