FK chats to Sarah one half of the creative team behind Melbourne based label The Club of Volumes, who debuted at the Melbourne Markets in April!
Tell us a bit about The Club of Odd Volumes and what we can expect to discover?
Based in Collingwood, Melbourne, we’re a digital direct-to-garment printing operation offering a range of in-house designed homewares and garments. Our service also involves custom printing where you can provide your own designs and we do the rest. T-shirts, tea towels, cushions and pillowcases, in fact if it’s cotton, the chances are we can print it. What’s more there’s no-minimum orders, no setup costs and great re-seller rates, which is why we’ve been working with local artists – helping them to create uniquely designed ranges that are both achievable and affordable. Full colour, watercolour, pencil, paint, vector, camera, phone – we’ve got you covered.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
Our team consists of me, a book designer, and Matt, a signwriter. The wheels were really set in motion nearly a year ago when our good friend encouraged us to try sell a few designs online. Finding a printer who could fire off a small number of tees at a realistic re-selling price, was tough, in fact it was near impossible. Realizing that there was definitely a gap in the market, we hopped up onto the proverbial diving board and jumped right on into the deep end, purchasing ourselves a brand spankin’ new fabric printer shortly after.
What inspires you daily?
I think you can see good design anywhere you look, but we are both really loving Instagram at the moment. It sounds weird, but we’re both big fans of avid collectors and people with peculiar passions. On a trip to Mexico I developed a slight obsession with the local craft, and ended up purchasing close to commercial quantities of crosses, skulls and ceramics – and these have influenced me greatly in my designs. Combine this with Matt’s love of fishing and boats, along with a little inspiration courtesy of animal lovers, and you’ve got the making of our latest range – “The Collections Collection”.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
Our main challenge was, and still is, getting exposure. Local markets stalls like Finders Keepers have really helped us in this regard. It gave us an opportunity to showcase our designs and also the capabilities of the printer. I’ve found the design and craft industry to be really social, and as well as promoting the business, markets like these are a great opportunity to meet other designers and artists, and talk to them about their process, projects and just bounce some ideas in general.
What is your workspace like? And what is your creative process?
We currently work from a studio at the back of our apartment. When people ring the intercom for the first time they ask, “Is this the printing place?” I think they are shocked when we welcome them into our home and they see we are not a factory. But it’s here in the comfort of our own home that we get inspired and often come up with our best ideas, and with our printer not taking up much space, the choice to set up the studio at home seemed logical. We’re not a production line making novelty mugs, mousepads and stubbie coolers, we’re designers too, and we want people to see that.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
We’re hoping to get our Club range into more stores across Australia, with the intention of launching a second range later in the year. Our primary focus however is the development of the custom print side of the business. To facilitate this we are giving the website an overhaul. Along with providing ease of access for people wishing to create their custom pieces, we also want it to double as an online shop, selling on behalf of local artists and designers. As we have learned, exposure and a marketplace (be it virtual or physical) are so key in succeeding and we hope to provide this opportunity for up and coming artists – an online gallery of sorts. We will print, package and post goods out for the artists so they can stick to what they do best – creating – and make money in the process.