Wheelchair rugby – murderball
I started playing wheelchair rugby (also known as murderball) in February with Dorset Destroyers – a new team. I love the game – it is awesomely brutal, a complete change from people covering you in cotton wool!
The team are are very new and need cash and I wanted to find a way of promoting the sport and helping them.
I love t shirts. Especially t shirts with funny designs or interesting images on them. So I wanted to find a wheelchair rugby t shirt to wear in my free time. Unfortunately the only t shirts available are either team shirts or gimmicky shirts with designs like this:
Wrong ball. Wrong chair. Wrong throwing position. Daft logo/message.
I have a friend who has their own t shirt company (MadJester) and I knew that we could do better than this!
I knew what concept I wanted. The right wheelchair and ball for a start! And I love a certain sort of cartoony – realism style. After one training session where the ball hit me on the forehead 3 times and watching the rest off the team smashing into each other I knew what design to commission, a rhino in a wheelchair rugby chair! If I had a horn on my forehead I’d be much better at catching the ball!
I approached a couple of artists online with the sort of style of drawing I was looking for and eventually found http://www.woodpig.co.uk/
Gareth was awesome, had a few discussions about the design, size and pricing and what I’d use the design for and after sending a few links to reference pictures to make sure the details were right, he got exactly what I was after.
Tshirts and printing
Next was choosing the right shirts, being very keen on being green as possible we chose the organic brand from Continental and found Otto (http://www.otto-tshirt.com/
) who uses environmentally friendly inks. Match made in heaven!
We already knew we needed to use screen printing to create a good quality t shirt with designs that last. Vinyl transfers are cheaper but tend to crack with age and digital direct to fabric printing is still not quite good enough quality to match what can be achieved with screen printing.
Otto has a a lot of experience with both continental t shirts and also highly detailed printing, Otto advised us which to which shirt to buy to bring out the print quality required and worked with Gareth to get the design in the right format for transferring onto screens for printing..
Sizes and numbers
One thing my friend had learned from experience in the t shirt business was the importance of getting the right numbers and size ranges. Basically how important market research is!
I put together a quick survey to check out interest, size distribution and possible prices. Based on that we decided to do a smaller run of 50 (instead of the original plan of 100 or so) with a plan to print a second run in larger sizes once we’ve covered costs.
Then the last job was to work out all the costs and what price we’d need to sell at (and how many to sell) to cover costs and generate a reasonable amount to give back to the Dorset Destroyers (who helped out a lot with the market research and general publicity).