Quite often you hold a pre-conception of a workplace. Is it fun? Is it a big office or a small hut? Is it chaos or organised? Is it all a façade and secretly it's an absolute nightmare to work at?
As the team roll in the door from 8am, I thought I'd run through an average day in the Wild Bangarang Cave and give you an insight into how much madness and love goes into your apparel...
WWE Day... Simone, Shonie, Michael, Adam, Liz, Suzy and Charleigh
Technically the day starts for the crew at 9am, but there's a wholesale demand biting at our ankles so our Production Manager Rob is in at 8am to nail down some of the printing and heatpressing to get a head-start before everyone else trots through the door. The UK Top 40 Spotify playlist is blaring out the system around the production area as Adam (CEO) trundles through the door at about 840am, charging up the staircase to the Upstairs office and firing up his Mac. Hot on his heels are Suzy and myself, usually heads together chatting about whatever we'd started to discuss on the school run. Seamstresses Simone, Michael, Boom and Emily roll in to round the team up to maximum for a busy Monday.
Suzy checking out some of the leggings in the production area
Suzy runs for the kitchen; being a Mrs Hinch-obsessed Zoflora-crazed cleaning guru she insists she makes the tea and coffee, and the machines all fire up with the freshy cleaned mugs lined up on the side as she moans about grim people leaving their coffee cups on their desks (usually me; I worked from home last week and she Whatsapped me a photo of a 'science experiment happening in your Tokidoki coffee cup'...). While I make my excuses - "Sorry Suz, I just rushed out the door again!" - Adam has already started the daily list of things that need chasing.
As we all settle into the day, I'll be reading all the customer emails, and liaising with Suzy and Rob about which customers are chasing an order, asking about a size, questioning lengths or what's best for their loved ones or whether we can create their apparel in time for events and comiccons…"I want to be Aquaman next Wednesday, can you help?" Yes - we rarely say no, because our customers are legends, and Suzy collates the orders and any urgent enquiries and heads down to work on the production team for the morning.
Cheeky hot chocolate for some of the team
Adam has usually downed his coffee by 10am, and he's jabbering away about things that make no sense; let's change up the next collection, we need to shoot this creative image for the release, have we watched the latest advert for a Netflix show or have we seen the latest Funko Pop release? As the coffee wears off, we start hitting the design list with Zsolt and David via messenger. I don't think it stops pinging all day, with GIFs, awesome concept designs, and regular update emails between us and our licensors to ensure each design is spot-on for release.
It gets to 11am and the music has descended into Musicals, Rave, something eyebrow-raising that dictates the whole unit. The production team are knee deep in cutting material, knocking heads together on a new pattern, heatpressing and sewing. Suzy runs up and down the stairs, tapping her iWatch to get her steps in and wrapping customer orders in the packing room. "We need more leaflets!" she shouts; something else for the list.
By lunch, Adam is engrossed in designing another collection for one of our licensors; WWE, Tokidoki, My Little Pony... he's squinting and his tongue sticks out as someone is asking him a question and he's oblivious to their conversation. Boom has walked one of our brand new samples up the stairs to show us for shooting, and the white background for product shots is erected for the afternoon.
Emily floats up around 130pm and the kitchen fills with the smell of a hearty lunch; Adam decides it's time for a walk up the shops for his sandwiches. Suzy is now welded to the computer printing the shipping labels and muttering at the Royal Mail system as she scans in the products and sends the customers their tracking information. I'm flying around social media, chatting to customers and posting our latest photos and products as well as building emails to send with our upcoming collections.
David joining us at Warhammer Fest with our Ultramarine apparel
One of the samples for a future collection comes up with Simone about 230pm. Adam is in his food coma and Spotify is back on with some background music which is sending the Upstairs Team to sleep. "Adam...I don't like this line-up on this item," Simone says; she's determined to see each piece perfect and she argues with Adam for ten minutes until he asks Zsolt to line the design up a little different for the production team. "You can't say we don't pay attention to detail!" someone pipes up; everyone knows in the office that apparel can take weeks to get just right, but nothing less leaves the Cave.
330pm and Rob is up for his afternoon drink; "Can we order some more black thread please, Adam?" he shouts. "Rob, where are we with our wholesale figures?" I ask, and we sit and work out numbers to ensure we're on par to hit our weekly targets.
Simone, Suzy, Liz and Charleigh rocking our Toki Thursday
430pm - an influencer or celebrity has been seen in a pair of our leggings and we're like children in the office. "Imagine if this celebrity wore these!" and the 'what if we won the lottery' and 'what if we were in the middle of a zombie apocalypse' conversations start up. Simone's up for her last minute cuppa, and Suzy is buzzing around trying to marry up the last of the evening's customer orders. "Marketing is up to date!" I shout as it comes up to 5pm, and everyone starts to pack up ready to hit home. Eight new samples lay on Adam's desk, freshly shot for the webstore and ready to be sent to the licensor for final approval. Bags are ready for collection by Royal Mail with apparel willing themselves to their new homes. Emily and Michael are busy tidying the heatpressing paper and emptying the material bins, and the final song on the Top 40 plays before the lights are switched off and the team part ways for their evening.
8pm, and Messenger pings. Someone has decided to share a photo of their dinner, and the rest of the team shortly follow. "Who's in early tomorrow?" And the plans for the next day in the Wild Bangarang Cave begin...
Pyjama Day in the office!
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Until next time,