Life and Times of Bumpy Pitch Vol. 3

You might be questioning why there is a picture of the collar of one of our t-shirts. And that is a very good question. Let me tell you a story of how some neck collars became a serious issue in the early days.

When we were barely starting out with Bumpy Pitch, there was so much we were trying to learn (nothing has changed with that to this day). So many new things were being thrown at us that we had never experienced before. We didn't know anything about the apparel business and often times we only knew what questions to ask if something had gone wrong. usually the mistakes were pretty minor. We learned from them, added them to ur base of knowledge on things and kept it moving. No mistake had cost us too much money so we chalked these up to not only learning about an entirely new industry, but also the cost of doing business. We just figured as long as the mistakes weren't too costly and as long as we never made the same mistake twice.

At this time, we were having our t-shirt blanks made as what are called PFD's. PFD means "prepared for dye" and it basically means that the fabric comes in an off white color and has been sewn with thread that will take the color of any dye the same way that the fabric will. That's an important little part of dyeing clothes. But, so is the actual makeup of the material, or materials, that you are dyeing. Just like with screen printing (which we will get to in a separate post), different fabrics take dye in different ways, which ultimately affects what the garment looks like after dyeing it.

So we a ton of shirts that we had just bought that were all PFD. We had worked hard to get our dye colors just right and we were taking our blanks to the dye house to get their custom colors. This was a big order for us (probably our biggest at the time) and we were so excited to get the shirts back so we could take them and get them printed with their graphics. 

(Not an actual Bumpy Pitch tee above)

When we get them back we notice that some of them came back as a "ringer" t-shirt. The necks had been dyed a much darker color than the body of the shirt. Not knowing why (and starting to panic at this point) we called the dye house to see why this had happened. They said it was because the collars of the shirt must be a different fabric than the body. So the fabrics took the dye differently, thus creating the "ringer" look. Which we most definitely were not going for.

Our dye house tells us to call our manufacturer and see what is going on. So we dial the manufacturer real quick to see what the deal is. They tell us that there had been a mixup with the sewing. Their quality control (QC) department had failed to realize that the material of the body of the shirt and the material of the collars were different. Because all the fabric used was PFD, the collars and body of the shirts looked identical. It wasn't until they were dyed that you could actually tell.

Here is a fun fact for you. When you work with a clothing manufacturer, as soon as you alter the product, in this case by dyeing the shirts, they will no longer take them back. Even if it was their fault and they missed the problem in the QC stage, they still won't take back the shirts because they have been dyed. 

If earlier we were panicking about this, we were now in full on freak out mode. We had countless shirts that we couldn't do anything with. We didn't want to use ringer t-shirts. It was something that we were very much against using. It didn't fit the look that we were going with. And we didn't have much to fall back on other than releasing the exact products that we wanted to release. So we had to shelve the shirts and basically start over. Luckily it was very early stages and starting over really didn't mean a tremendous amount. We just tried to shake this off, learn from it and make even better products than we had been doing.

So moral of the story, is information is key. I know that is said all the time, but there is a reason for it. If you are in a manufacturing business, you have to understand the process. Information and knowledge are like gold, so get out there and try to accumulate as much as you possibly can. You need to hoard information. Ask questions even if you are embarrassed for not knowing the answer. When you start a business you are going to make mistakes. Just try to make sure they are relatively inexpensive mistakes, and please, please, learn from them as you go. And pay attention to your materials!!!