SandiLake has officially been open for business for 2 years! It's insane! I'm Mel, the owner, and manufacturer of this small business! This post is going to be my real thoughts and real feelings on how we came about and the ebb and flow since 2014.
It all started with two moms (My friend Gwenie and I), staying at home with our 2 kids while our husbands provided for our families. We were 26ish at the time, and having playdates left and right due to our close living proximity. It was on one of those playdates that the ideas started moving. This was back when leggings and moccasins were all the rage on Etsy, and we both loved them. However, it was hard to buy rad tribal looking leggings when all we had was t-shirts with trucks on them or hot pink princess designs. And that is where the juices started flowing. We had never screen-printed before, but for some reason it made sense for us make these tees ourselves... A make-as-ordered site. I believe we had a combined equal investment of about $2K. We bought a screen printing package from Ryonet, and purchased our first wholesale order of tees through American Apparel. We started small and cautious. I had the computer software skills, and Gwenie had some great design ideas. Together we created around 8 designs to be our start-up look. Modern, Fresh, and Simple. They were tees we wanted our kids to wear. - We watched screen-printing tutorials, made our first tees, had a crazy photoshoot, and completed our website RIGHT (hours) before opening. (By the way, Etsy is incredibly user friendly and EASY!)
That first day we had over 2,000 views and 6 orders. We were on cloud 9! Even though we knew every person that ordered that day personally, it was still something from nothing... and we were proud. Each day as we fulfilled orders, we built our business on providing great customer service and offering fun, new designs. All of a sudden, our #Merica Flag design started selling like crazy. Before we knew it, it was the hottest item for that Fourth of July! The next was our Tribal Elk for the Holidays! We had paid off our initial investment, and kept working our butts off to grow and move forward.
At the end of that Christmas, Gwenie and I split ways, and SandiLake became just my thing. I haven't shared much about this, because it was hard, and still is... SandiLake started from the two of us, and even though I was ready to keep going on my own, we were a great team. I'm incredibly thankful for her and everything we did together.
The year of 2015 brought on a new website (www.sandilakeclothing.com), a ton of new shirt designs, a direct to garment printer, and much more as I switched gears. From here on out, it was my husband (Dan) and I. -- It wasn't long after that all chaos broke loose.
In May 2015, we had found out that Target had copied one of our original designs. The #MERICA tank top. It was a blur of lawyers, large corporations, news stations, and more orders than I ever imagined I could fulfill on my own. I was sick to my stomach and excited all at the same time. I watch the Today Show every day, and the moment I got to live-skype with them was one of the most exciting days of my life! (You can read more on what happened HERE.) In this moment, we knew we were changed for good. We fulfilled every order as fast as we could, and made sure our customer service never dwindled. We brought in SO many amazing people to help us, and man, it was a whirl-wind. Once the 10 seconds of fame faded, we went back to business as usual.
In the last year, we have brought in new products, learned new skills, and grown in our knowledge of what it really takes to be a sustaining small business. We are in over 20 boutiques all over the world, markets all over the Northwest, and have some very exciting things up our sleeves coming up.
I get to be home with my babies, be a wife, but also be a person working hard to contribute to this world. Working hard every day has been fulfilling in more ways than I can describe. We used to make shirts literally all night... Now that my littles are getting older, I try to stick to days. I'm proud that my girls are watching their parents work hard and "play hard" as cliche as that sounds. Every day is something new, and I am incredibly stoked on the love and support our customers and family have given us. SandiLake is made up of SO many people doing SO much! Every day isn't always perfect, but owning my own business and doing something I love with my family an arm length away is simply incredible.
If you have any other questions about starting a new business or screen-printing, o want to open a wholesale account, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Since the beginning of SandiLake, part of our foundation has been tees that show our American Pride. Over the last few years, our #merica tee has been extremely popular. (Even before the design was copied and used by Target). Our #Merica Flag design first showed up in April of 2014, and in March of 2015 we released Merica Stars + Stripes. When May of 2015 hit and a slew of press hit the #merica tank, with Target's admitting their copy, we knew we had something going here. This month, February 2016, we just released our Merica 2016 and It's A Party In The USA designs! When creating a "holiday" shirt, we like to keep in mind that you should be able to wear these for as long as possible. This is why, all the designs have a monochrome option for the minimalist, and easy pairing! Of course, this years designs are offered in a very colorful option as well. (which we are pumped about!) Every design is offered in sizes: Baby 3-6 Months through Kids: 12, and Adult Small through XL! Check all of them out HERE!
The "Vote 4 Me" tee is one of our newest in the shop! It's another one of our designs that can be worn by both you and your kiddos, and is perfect for the upcoming Presidential Election. SandiLake is all about keeping up with what's trending in kids and adult clothing. Simple, clean lines, bold patterns, and quirky sayings are a few things that customers are leaning towards.
Coming up in the new year, your outfit can be a fun way to show your pride and support during the Election. I've got 3 words for you: RED, WHITE and BLUE!! There are so many possibilities for outfits you can create using our shirt as the staple item. It is also important to always accessorize! Even a subtle american flag print on your shoe or a red bow in your hair can make a difference. We are excited to see your reaction to the newest designs we are working on!
"Vote 4 Me" kids tee HERE.
"Vote 4 Me" adult tee HERE.
Shirt: SandiLake Clothing
Jeans: Dudley Denim
Bow headband: Baby Bling Bows
Glasses and suspenders: Fjs PopShop
xo, The SandiLake Team
5 Benefits to Shopping Small:
- Did you know that small businesses employ 60% of your community?! AND they put back 80% of every dollar into your community!?
- When working with a small business, chances are you are going to be helped by the owner or someone who is in close contact with them. Every small business owner knows exactly how to help their customers and find what they are looking for. They are experts at their own product!
- Shopping locally is helping you're community in many ways. You are keeping those companies from going out of business and supporting your friends and neighbors!
- You are allowing creative and artist talents to actually make a living off of their passions. Example: An avid fisherman opening a fly shop, or quilt shop on Etsy created by a seamstress who has sewn quilts for family members her whole life! Support the maker.
- If your supporting an online business like us, you get to curl up with a cup of coffee and your laptop and shop different websites with tons of variety and personality. Shopping online is super convenient and there is no pressure to buy!
Thank you to all who have supported us from the beginning. We appreciate every single one of you!
xo, The SandiLake Team
IT'S THE BIGGEST SALE OF THE YEAR!BLACK FRIDAY THROUGH CYBER MONDAY SALE! (11/27 - 11/30)USE CODE: SANDILAKE FOR 20% OFF THE ENTIRE STORE ALL WEEKEND!This code will work on top of our already great deals including cardigans and rompers at 20% OFF! Also use this in our Sale Section which includes $10-$15 tanks! (Prices as marked)This will be the biggest blowout of stock, and quantities are limited on some items! ALL TEES WILL SHIP IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS! Make sure to check out our Holiday Collection and get some festive tees to add to your winter wardrobe!Follow @sandilakeclothing on Instagram for an additional SALE regarding SHOP SMALL SATURDAY!We hope you have a great Holiday with your family! We truly treasure our customers and we are SO THANKFUL to have you shop with us this season!xo, The SandiLake Team
We can't believe our "Mom's #MCM" tee is still our top seller since the beginning! It is the perfect tee for a Mom's Man Crush Monday post on social media. After so many requests, we finally have a shirt for Dad's to show off their little Woman Crush Wednesdays too! We offer these designs on white onesies, gray onesies, white t-shirts, gray tri-blend t-shirts, red baseball raglans and black baseball raglans! These shirts pair great with cute leggings for her and some skinny jeans for him.
TAG US IN YOUR PHOTOS! @sandilakeclothing
xo, The SandiLake Team