Since it’s three months since we joined with our friends at Marathon Talk to become official kit partner, it’s probably high time we provided an update as to what’s been going on behind the scenes in our commitment to supply a new range of Marathon Talk t-shirts and vests.
At the beginning of May we undertook to source a replacement for the kit deal for Marathon Talk branded running gear (that was previously supplied by Adidas). Unfortunately it wasn’t a case of simply taking an existing stockpile of running tops and slapping a Marathon Talk logo onto them. Rather, we offered to design and source an entirely new range of kit which was both brand new and top quality, but at a price that would be great value and comparable to anything that had come before.
That design and manufacturing process inevitably takes a bit of time to get right, so we thought we’d share with you what the process involves to give you some insight into what goes on behind the scenes, and most importantly, to give you an idea when the finished products will be available to purchase!
Our brief was to offer not only our existing range of products (www.xempo.co.uk) but available co-branded with a Marathon Talk logo, plus our usual option of personalising with details of your best race time…
…but also a completely new range of generic Xempo / Marathon Talk branded gear that did not as yet exist. At that point our project began.
Two things to consider first. Find someone who can design a new range, then find someone who can actually manufacture it. We approached our existing UK based manufacturer, however after much discussion we eventually decided that the higher cost of UK production, which would have to be passed on via the retail price, would be a big negative for you, the customer.
So we settled on a good quality, reputable Far East manufacturer via a UK based agency who we were able to engage with closely on the design process. The great thing about being involved with the designer is that you’ve literally got a blank sheet of paper with unlimited scope for creative input. The downside is that there are so many decision to make. There’s the simple things like colours – about a million options there! But there are decisions to make on everything from logos (size, colour, position), panels, labels, necklines, cut, fit and so on.
Once this is done, you need to get the manufacturer to produce samples, which then need to be sent back to the UK for trial before you can give the green light. Here are some of our first samples. (We played around with some logos, but ignore the logos for now; they are going to change!)
We were pretty happy with the quality of the samples, but we wanted to make a few changes. Partly aesthetic, such as the size, design and position of the logos, but also some small changes that you can’t see here regarding the necklines, underarm fit, necktape etc
We also had a debate (you might have seen it on the Marathon Talk facebook page) as to whether pink was the right colour for the ladies’ vest. Opinion was divided, but in the end we decided to launch with a baby blue colour, then add more colours once we have established a demand.
There was also a discussion on the distinctive “26.2” logo, which was such a popular feature on the old Marathon Talk kit. Whether it should be the same, and where it would sit on the shirt? We did consider that due to the international reach of Marathon Talk, 26.2 might not mean much to some people who may prefer a 42.2 logo instead. What we have ended up with is a choice for everyone when they buy a Xempo/MT piece of kit that will allow you to pick either 26.2 or 42.2 (or neither if you prefer). The location will be front & centre (as previously)
The 26.2 logo exists currently of course, but we had to design a 42.2 one in the same style (see below)
Since this will be a post-production addition, it needed to be turned into a heat transferable logo. And here they are, ready to be (literally) pressed into action.
So what next?
Well we’ve sent to the Far East our initial order of stock for manufacture. About 600 items, a mix of men’s and women’s t-shirts and vests in a range of sizes all the way from XS up to XXL.
In the interim they have produced “final” samples for us to photograph and share with you, in order that we can start taking pre-orders for despatch as soon as the order is shipped across to us. However, bit of a snag…there were a couple of technical aspects that we weren’t happy with, so we’ve sent them back with directions to address some minor areas. We figured that it was more important to get it right, than to rush a product to you that we weren’t 100% happy with. Sorry about that, but it’s added a couple of weeks to the process.
At the moment, the “new” final samples are being FedEx’d over to us and we’ll get them up and visible to you via both the Marathon Talk and Xempo facebook pages. We’ll also make them available for those not on social media too. And whilst that’s going on, and the factories are making up the full order, we’re working on the Xempo website, so that regular orders can be placed online in the traditional fashion going forward.
We’re also looking at adding some other products, such as hoodies, wrist fumbles and branded headwear (hats and beanies). Here are some prototypes.
So in summary, it is all happening. It’s just taken a little bit longer than we intended. Thanks for your patience, and we hope that you’ll be pleased with the results. We will obviously let you know as soon as we have the products available to order. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got any specific questions.
Dan & the rest of the Xempo team