Out The Woods Clothing is an innovative clothing range selling quirky graphic T-shirts where 100% of their profit goes to a charity supporting children with brain damage. This concept uniquely fuses fashion, music and charity, and is all set up by four friends who are still at university.
Label Style met up with one of the founders, Andy Waterhouse, who is in his last year at Loughborough, to find out more about the Out The Wood origins and inspirations and his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
The friends, Oli Shilling, Olly Page, Richard Mutimer and Andy, all know each other from their hometown of Bury St. Edmunds. They decided to set up a wearable clothing range in November 2011, after Richard, who studies drama at Northampton Uni appeared in a London Play supporting The Children’s Trust and wanted to help out more, Andy explained.
The fair-trade range of T-shirts gets local bands and illustrators to design individual graphics which appear on the tops for both men and women, making each one unique and hand-designed. When asked about the best-selling designs, Andy instantly points us to the ‘Yeti’ design, drawn by illustrator David Lichfield, whose “dreamlike sketches of mythical creatures” are always favourites, selling out fast.
The Style Team are particularly looking forward to his latest drawing of a Puffin smoking a pipe, which is unveiled in the most recent collection.
Local band Black Sands have also got involved by designing the ‘Kick.Push.Coast’ logo, as well as ‘Hooray for Earth’ and ‘Bear Cavalry’ from Gosport, whose ‘Sasquatch’ T-shirt is selling well.
Andy says, “There is also exciting potential support from bands in the future, such as Ed Sheeran, Ghostpoet and Bombay Bicycle Club”. These big names will undoubtedly help to spread the good cause, and push the Out The Woods brand name even further afield.
Their success has been aided, and is largely down to the spread of word via social networks and their blog, on which the guys post videos of bands, musicians and artists they like at the moment, ever-hopeful of getting support from them.
Andy continued by saying; “getting favours from friends has helped greatly to keep all profits going to charity. The models used for the online store were all friends and others including Oli, have helped with graphics”
There is a lot of work involved in starting up a business like this, and Andy offers the good advice to anyone who is interested in starting a business while at Uni;
“Realise you will need to take time out from studies to make it work. However, working with your close friends is definitely a plus along with 100% of profits going to charity, for us, makes it all worthwhile”.
Do the team plan to expand or have any specific focuses for the future? Ever-modest Andy says that, “our aim when starting out was to continue for a year but could continue longer if it carries on being a success”, which it certainly looks set to.
Andy told us about the exciting new spring range launched this week on the Out The Woods clothing site. It includes a new multi-coloured Aztec design that was chosen by fans on Facebook as their favourite, looking set to sell out soon. Support the local brand, the charity and keep yourself stylish by purchasing one of the innovative tees.