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The Back story

We are a team of 3 friends (Tom, John and Alex) based in Ireland who came together after years of working on other businesses to create the best Rash Vests on the planet. Our focus was to combine beautiful detailed designs with the latest technologies in printing to create a vest that fitted and felt better than all others on the market. All in all it has been a great adventure so far and we are just starting out!

Why Rash Vests?

We spent our entire lives on the water in various forms of neoprene and water sports gear. Here in ireland it’s cold and you are always using various layers to keep warm. Then when we go to hot countries we BURN!! so rashies were always in our bags.

One day the three of us were driving in the west of ireland when the idea was struck that there really wasn't much scope in current rash vest design. Sure the Blues, blacks, whites and neon colours were there but really that was it. The idea seemed to stick with us until a few months later when we mentioned it again… after the second conversation we decided to do our own research and sure enough we never looked back..

What makes your product different?

The 3 major areas we knew we could improve on included:

Printing and Artwork

The latest techniques for the richest colours

Garment quality

Attention to every detail, from the first stitch to the last

Fit and feel

Comfort and durability as standard

Printing and Artwork

Up until this point Rash Vests had seen little innovation terms of  print design. Sure you could get blues, blacks whites and the various block colours but we knew we could take the design to the next level. Today we print fully custom designs across each panel giving the vests a completely unique look. As well as this we experimented with a variety of printing methods until we found one which was super sharp, extremely vibrant and most of all long lasting. Combine this with some super creative artists and graphic designers and hey presto! a whole new style of Rashie is born.

Garment quality

Various brands will source from a variety of manufacturers which ultimately results in a huge variation of quality from product to product and season to season. We have a single supplier who now looks after all of our production. Together we have designed a vest that uses the highest quality fabrics, extremely robust stitching techniques and some pretty revolutionary printing techniques that allows us to design the vests right down the the tiniest detail.  Combine this with the ever important SPF 50+ rating and we feel we have all the bases well covered in making a stand out product.

Fit and Feel

The final piece of the puzzle for us was to create a vest that felt awesome to wear. To do this we used a team of compression wear experts to take learnings from that of high end sportswear products and build them into our vests. This combined with simple things like locating the chaff points and removing the underarm stitches all came together to make an extremely comfortable vest.

What are the realities of starting a watersports clothing company ?

At the start we thought we would have a finished product in 3 months… Oh how we were wrong. As it turns out the clothing industry or the “rag trade” as it is referred to globally has some of the longest product development times of any industry. 

Not to bore you with all the minute details but between finding fabric manufacturers, clothing manufacturers and printing companies that could all come together to create this product at a competitive price took one and a half years. 

This timeline brought us to the point having our first prototype and while it was a major milestone we still had to reiterate, change, improve until 5 prototypes later we were ready to go to market. 

The rag trade has so many moving parts. As I touched on above, we thought we could find a factory that would just do this for us but as we soon learned that an off-the-shelf cheap vest would not meet that standard we had set out to achieve. Today our team of remote workers span 8 countries including The Usa, Ireland, Uk, Italy, spain, Vietnam, China, and Australia… Far from the the dream of 3 guys, 3 months and 3 million happy customers :). 

Product development quickly transitioned to sales and marketing and we made headway in our targeted markets. We split our focus between online and retail, Online gives us a much wider audience and offline allows us to move larger orders in a shorter time frame. Each has its merits and challenges but both are important for any clothing product. 

Victories come in all shapes and sizes and this journey has been dotted with many. Things like when a new prototype vest arrives fresh from the manufacturer, it’s taken months of work and this is the first one to ever be made. We always keep our first prints, they are such a significant milestone. Others things that never get old are when someone buys from you and writes an email saying they love it. Or when you are sold out and people are calling and emailing to find the last size, you really think, wow.. Ok we're moving in the right direction. 

When we launched our first line in October 2016 everything was sold within 3 weeks. We were blown away by the response. Each day we were packing pizza boxes (*we deliver our vests in pizza boxes) to countries all over the world. It was a major milestone but then it was time to get back to work! :D.

Lessons learned

Talk to your customers

Talk to your customers, listen to their feedback and build it into the products you make.

Find those with the knowledge

At first we were sceptical about bothering professionals. Little did we know that they all were more than happy to help. Today many of them are a part of our wider team and play huge role in everything we do.

Be in it for the long haul

Like all businesses things can take a lot longer than expected. Keep your focus on creating the best core product or service and keep the momentum up. Having team members as motivated as you are is a great help here.

What's next ?

We are continuously designing our next range as well as developing entirely new products which we hope to launch soon.  Our main focus right now is on growing the brand. In retail we are constantly reaching out to shops who would be interested in stocking our products. Online we are always pushing to grow our audience. To do this we are looking to tie in with influencers around the world as well as move towards some Rash’R branded productions. Marketing is never ending and with a product like this there is a lot of scope for fun.

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The above is just an insight into our business and our journey. We would be more than happy to go into far more detail if you wanted it. Send us an email at team@rashr.com and we can email, skype, whatsapp, wechat or whatever works best for you.

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