How many steps does it take to release a collection? Story behind the What Matters Hoodies
Inside the Wolf Den
Every project comes with a number of obstacles that requires time, money and energy to maneuver around. These so called “obstacles” create valuable opportunities to learn and grow stronger from. This article was written to shed a deeper insight on the trials & tribulations we experienced in working on our latest hoodie collection. This project required months of patience, keen attention to detail, and offered many valid growth opportunities. Hopefully this helps in better understanding what just one clothing release looks like for us.
focus on what matters, let go of what doesn’t
Simplify the process. Hindering distractions will misguide you from finding your true self, your true purpose, and will hold you back from acknowledging the most important things in your life — time and the present.
Focus on what is within your control and your immediate obligations — for the people, animals, and energy around you all depend on it.
Consistent assessments of self and surroundings will help you in identifying what truly matters and also in the process of letting go of what doesn’t.
Step 1 — Believe in Yourself, Have Faith & Trust the Process
Finding and ordering wholesale apparel of any kind can be approached many different ways. Our search led us to working with a California based company Custom Colors Apparel. After checking out the wholesale catalog we settled on two different style hoodies— the Red / Black Crystal Wash and the Aqua Blotchy. The contrast is beautiful and both colorways offered so much opportunity to bring something special to the collection. We reached out for a quote to hear back the minimum per color was 72 pieces. Our plan was to make between 65–75 hoodies for the entire collection and to have about 35 of each colorway, so a 72 pc min per color was not in our budget. (investing in a project of this size, especially hoodies, can get very expensive. not to mention all the love + detail we decorated these with, but more on that later).
Through an efficient exchange of emails, thankfully the wholesaler was willing to work with our budget & vision we for this project. As this may not always be the end result, we can assure you it’s always worth a shot.
The important takeaway here is to be patient and negotiate for what you want or need. Maintain a respectful tone and approach the negotiation with a solution focused mindset. More times than not each party involved will try to find common ground in order to get a deal done and services rendered.
Wholesale order is filled, but wait.. they’re in CA and we need them in NY..
After agreeing on the numbers we placed the order, paid in full, and patiently waited until they were ready to be shipped. Based on past experiences working with large wholesale orders — shipping figures have always been generated into the order total. (most large wholesale companies have great logistic deals and can ship much cheaper than the average joe). However, in this case my assumption was wrong. Always always always double check these type of situations. This is not an area we usually would overlook, so it was a humbling reminder when Custom Colors reached out with a $350 shipping invoice to let us know they were ready. Initially alarmed with that number, we used this moment as a reminder to turn over every rock and ask plenty of questions. Add $350 onto our overhead — no biggie, we had some dope hoodies coming our way. Onto the next task.
Brainstorming new clothing ideas is a cycle filled with ebbs and flows, often times bleeding into your thoughts at all hours of the day and night. However, once a concept is developed we are fortunate enough to work with super talented and likeminded designers who help us bring our vision to life. The What Matters hoodie designs came together collaboratively amongst myself and the homegirl Raegan. Over the course of a few hours in her living room with discussions ranging from streetwear, the NBA, to social justice issues and beyond, we narrowed it down to the final designs you see today. The important key in this process is identifying the story or message behind your project. Once you’ve done that, usually the designs come together like spaghetti & meat balls. (maybe you prefer lamb & tuna fish?)
It would be fun to visually document more of this process, maybe we’ll do something like that in the future. ya neva know
Once we finalized the designs I was still bouncing back and forth a bit on if the chest logo should be embroidered or printed. A strong case could be made for both ideas but we ultimately decided to embroider on the chest of Cloud 9, and use screen print for the Volcanic Rock. These might seem like minor decisions but the difference between good, great and amazing are in the niche details. Additionally, when you peek into the financials of these decisions, it’s these minor details that are vitally important to producing a product at a price per unit (PPU) that works best for you and your customer base. For this project specifically we pretty much said fuck the price — we wanted to create the dopest hoodie we could & something we’ll be forever proud to wear and share. We did that & it feels great.
To complete the decoration at the highest quality possible, we partnered with our friends at Nickel City Shirt Co, located at 1106 Kenmore Ave, Buffalo NY. We have been working with Nickel City since 2014 and would provide them with a glowing recommendation. They screen print, silk screen and embroider — all while providing terrific customer service, unbeatable pricing, reasonable turn around times + outstanding attention to detail with every project. We were initially a little nervous about what we were asking of them, considering all the fine details and distinction between the two different threads. After an exchange of emails, texts, and a few face to face discussions, they assured us everything was good to go. Keith at Nickel City was up front about the pricing and noted there might be cheaper ways to decorate these but we stuck to our design and Nickel City did an amazing job with them. Huge shoutout to their team for the excellent customer service and outstanding work as always. If you wish to know more on who we work with or where you can find a company to help with your ideas — reach out and we would be happy to make a connection to the right shop for you. However, for most of your clothing decoration needs, Nickel City Shirt Co. is the best in the business.
There's an endless amount of resources available to learn about and discover innovative marketing ideas. Every outlet you find is gonna lay the blueprint out a little differently using similar concepts. At WolfPak — our marketing strategies come to life from sharing our story and being transparent about who we are / what we stand for, as opposed to some form of persuasion. We believe that complexity is the enemy of execution when it comes to marketing. We do not lean on why it’s crucially vital to your existence to own a WolfPak tee-shirt— although it’s inevitable that you’d be a lot cooler if you did.. Instead we simply choose to document our journey through our products and promotion of love & positivity. Let the story sell itself, while leaving it open for interpretation by others.
If you are being your true self and expressing that in ways that make you happy and fulfilled — someone, somewhere is going to feel that and relate to it. Express yourself freely and your vibe will attract your tribe.
Content Creation 📸
Luckily, we were able to work with our guy Tommy Tette on bringing the visual content to the main stage. Together Tommy and I discussed the story behind the hoodies, the stark contrast between the two, and some creative ideas to help guide the vibe where it’s supposed to be come shoot time. The Photo Icon crushed the rest of it from there, with a huge tip of the cap to the models Harley Wiggs, Stevie Steve, and Louie Lou. This epic NYC shoot deserves it’s own Look Book if we’re being honest —as the Instagram posts will simply never do it proper justice. Utilizing unique camera angles and stellar natural lighting — matched with a genuinely goaty feel behind the lens + an empty city as their playground, the homies really delivered some magical content with this project.
Crossing your t’s & dotting your i’s
Next step of the process always draws a lot of excitement from me — and usually starts first thing in the am after reading a text Tommy sent at 3:27am that says “droppy”. This text indicates the content has been signed, sealed, and delivered to the drop box where I get my first glance at the visual heaters that await. Personally, this right here is one of the most fun and exciting moments of the entire process. Tommy always does such an incredible job at directing each moment & each picture into a visual story you can swift through with entertainment as if you’re fully indulged into a thrilling novel.. it’s really awesome. (but that’s a blog for another day).
After going through the photos, videos, gifs, etc — we do our best to identify what will work where best and what order to begin releasing with. For a more specific example, we will try to loosely categorize pictures to use for stories, for posts, for website displays, what might be better for insta vs twitter, etc. etc.
Next we dig deep & unlock some colorful names for each product and upload them onto our website. Staying mindful of the current COVID pandemic & the financial trickledown, we decided to set the retail price at $60 per hoodie. At this stage of the game it’s all about fine tuning the details of the release — then fine tuning them a little more. Once the creators and family get their gear, and a few sales happen within the inner circles of the Pak, we then double & triple check our inventory to make sure it’s accurate. When it’s finally the release date we find it helpful to have our social media posts drafted and ready so we don’t feel as overwhelmed the day of.
NEW GEAR AVAILABLE NOW
We conduct advertisement techniques in a fashion that allow us to utilize creative juices on a daily basis and allows the consumer to get a better feel of the WolfPak brand or the particular product we’re promoting. We believe that complexity is the enemy of execution when it comes to marketing. Let the story sell itself, while leaving it open for interpretation by others.
It worked — people are buying our products! Actual living people are visiting our website, placing items in the cart, and spending their hard earned money on something we’ve created. WOW. This is great yes but now we must finish the job properly all the way to the end.
Once a WolfPak order is placed Spencer and I get an email notification — I then forward the order details to our amazing Logistics Coordinator, our father Monty, also known as Papa Pak. Generally it’s within the following 24–48 hours that Monty ships out the package and provides us with the tracking info. We then update the tracking numbers into our system, which provides our customers with an email that contains their order tracking number.
that's pretty much it — our process begins and ends right here.. Easy right?
“Between the excellent quality, drippy designs, and inspirational messages, Wolfpak clothing hits it out of the park with their cloud 9 hoodie! There’s nothing better than looking and feeling good, all while rocking a message I live by everyday! You’re missing out if you don’t get on this cloud 9 hoodie train!” — Nick Hallett
“Feels like being swaddled in a soft plush cloud” — Anna Hartinger
Pak Love 🐺
Content Crew — Tommy Tette, Harley Wiggs, Steve Plezia, Luis Acosta
Design — HUGE shoutout to Raegan Lester for not only putting forth her time & energy in crushing the designs, but also for picking up all 6 giant boxes of hoodies at the shop for us! Love & appreciate you
Logistics / Quality Assurance — Monty + Julie Sticek
photos by Tommy Tette