Today we want to give a big shoutout to our first Kickstarter backers.
Last year we had an idea to create fabulous clothes from the beautiful hand screenprinted textiles being produced by remote art centres. In early 2017 we decided to launch a pre-order campaign on Kickstarter (crowdfunding platform), to help us understand the appetite for these clothes, and raise the much needed funds to start the business. The response was phenomenal. We reached our target of $20,000 within the first day (!!!), and within the month we had tipped $103,000. After this I was able to hang up my lawyer hat and get to work on Magpie Goose full time as there was much to be done!
First we had to survey the 603 people who had put their money behind the idea of Magpie Goose - what prints did they want, in what styles?
Then I coordinated with our four fabulous art centre partners - Palngun Wurnangat in Wadeye, Babbarra Designs in Maningrida, Injalak Arts in Gunbalanya and Tiwi Design in Wurrumiyanga - who got to work screenprinting over ONE THOUSAND metres of 12 very special designs that we'd selected.
This was no easy feat. Let me give you an idea of the enormity of this....
Once the fabric is shipped out to community from Sydney or Brisbane or Perth, it is rolled onto an 8m or 13m table, and the designs are screen printed by hand onto the fabric - One. Metre. At. A. Time. Two people pass the paint through a screen with a squeegee, back, forth, back, forth, about four times. Then they lift up the screen and move it down the table, filling every second spot on the fabric before going back to fill in the gaps. Often two other people help out with the hairdryer!
The fabric was then bundled up into a big gas oven, heatset, folded, packed into post bags and sent to us in Katherine. From here we then packed it all up into boxes, wrangled some freight deals, navigated Indonesian customs, and shipped it over to Bali where our good friends Ayu and co. crafted it into the pieces that are out in the world now!
Today we really want to thank those first 603 people who put money behind our idea, as it gave us the startup capital to be able to order all of the fabric from the art centres, and get the clothes made. Their backing meant we could start with a bang, and learn along the way. And learn along the way we did!
There were many dramatic ebbs and flows throughout it all: There was the TNT cyberhack incident where several boxes of fabric (worth tens of thousands of dollars...) were lost in space for many weeks; boxes were held up in customs indefinitely for no apparent reason; there were muslim religious festivals that affected the Javanese workers schedules, and then Hindu celebrations that affected the Balinese workers; there was the great pink linen shortage of May 2017 where it seemed like the pink prawn print might almost be impossible; there was the hectic dry season and the competing priorities; the house paint that wrecked the screens; the dried up paint and the slow shipping times to remote Australia...
Through it all our Kickstarter backers waited patiently, and trusted that good things would (eventually) come. And for that we thank them.
Amongst all of this we have:
- switched to Australian manufacturers - we have some new great mates at Sphinx Australia in Bankstown, Sydney
- run textile design workshops in Katherine with four artists (who will be featured in our March 2018 collection)
- trained up five local jobseekers to become screenprinters.
Next year we're working towards establishing a screenprinting hub in Katherine, and establishing a space for you all to pop in and visit when you're passing through!
Thanks for sticking with us for 2017 - what a year! Cant wait for more great things to happen in 2018.
Maggie & Laura