I love creating stuff. Getting some merch together has been a bit of a long term goal of mine. I’ve very much wanted to create some interesting stuff in my own style for a while now. There’s just something about having an idea, getting the stuff together, and releasing it into the world. I find joy in that.
Back in 2015 I designed the Contour Jerseys and they were a huge flop at the time. I ended up investing far too much money into them and, in the end, sold them at a break even price to try to move them. In hindsight, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just wanted to make something and put it out into the world. I don’t think I had enough of an audience to have spent so much cash on something, and I certainly didn’t do my research. I went with the first company that said they were able to supply them and priced from their invoice. I realise now that’s not how it’s done. Luckily, the jerseys are great quality and I’ve enjoyed wearing mine. Over the years, a few people have picked one up from me and I’ve ended up with only two left. So, nothing lost in the long run. The Contour Jersey was an exercise in creativity and a chance for me to make a jersey I’d enjoy wearing – at the time, I remember a lot of crazy designs which just weren’t me. It was a success on that front. Financially, it was a hole.
I virtually gave up with the idea of selling stuff after that. I’d doodle bits and bobs or create photographs instead. It seemed safer to not have to have a physical product and create stuff that was time investment only. There’s no outlay (at least, not after I’d bought the gear I needed to actually make sketches and photographs). There’s less risk.
Eventually, I got the itch to make something physical again though. I started with leather. My dad runs his own manufacturing business and he happened to have some leather scraps and spare tools laying around. I’d seen some YouTube videos and leather working looked relaxing. So, I set to learning how to burnish edges, how to cut rounded corners without a press, how to hand stitch. Learning something new again was fascinating and, at the end, I’d created a few wallets, some cable organisers and a camera strap. It was that camera strap which got me thinking about creating some more stuff for Pedal Slip.
By this point, I’d also been sketching and turning my doodles into digital illustrations. A few people had messaged and said they liked them. Several had said they should be on t-shirts or hoodies. I ended up making stickers from them instead. My decision was that it’s just not something I would wear, even though I like the doodles. If I wouldn’t wear it, I wouldn’t put it out into the world. I wanted to make sure that I was holding true to the Pedal Slip brand… which is just me. Stickers were low cost in comparison and pretty fun all the same. They went down really well and that’s what gave me the confidence to start to think about physical products again.
Fast forward a few months and I’ve got some clothing in my online shop. Not much but it’s a start. Leatherworking with off cuts and scraps means I’m helping to use up leftovers at lower costs (which, in turn helps me keep my prices down). Sketching my own designs means that I get full creative control to make sure I’m happy with the end product. And working with a clothing printer who is just as meticulous in their approach to getting stuff right as I am means that I’m confident I’m bringing quality products to the shop.
What’s planned for the future? Well, I’m not really sure. All I know is that I like creating and it’s something I’ll keep doing. The money I’m raising is all put back into the upkeep of Pedal Slip – the domain, the hosting, any promotion – and in future merchandising. Eventually, I’d love to be able to make it work as an income stream but, for now, I’m happy with just making.