How a startup brand from Croydon took on the world

We started Teemill so new startups could achieve what took us 10 years in 10 minutes. We know that our automated factory systems, low waste printing technology, organic materials and product quality give us a huge competitive advantage. But Teemill is about co-operative advantage. Letting other brands access this free through our Teemill platform has enabled thousands of startup brands to jump ahead and plug into a better supply chain, product and online store kit then focus on the most important bit: Designing amazing products and selling them to the audience they’ve built up. We caught up with Jonny, creative director of Croydon vs. The World, a brand that’s growing super fast and behind the scenes, uses Teemill to power their store tech and order fulfilment.

Croydon vs the World

Welcome, Jonny! So we love Croydon vs. The World – What motivated you to start the brand? How did the idea originate?

I come from Croydon which traditionally has always had a negative reputation. Now there is so much positive stuff happening here – we’re the UK’s fastest growing economy, London’s fastest growing tech startup ecosystem, home of Boxpark & the world’s largest urban Saffron farm, and London’s “Street art capital” – that I thought it was time for the borough to get a fashion label that changed the narrative and engendered town pride.

Once you decided on an idea for the brand, how did you go about building it?

When I first started Croydon Vs The World I had absolutely no idea how to launch a fashion label. I work in marketing for a B2B software company.

Make sure you are good at online marketing: designing a product is only 10% of the journey.

You have to be good at creating brand awareness and generating demand – and you have to be savvy enough at online marketing to make sure that the money spent on marketing is not more than the profit you make on each t-shirt. Positive ROI is everything.

So how did you get the word out about Croydon Vs the World?

I had a launch party on the first day the website went up to kickstart sales – getting people physically into a room and presenting a pitch about the fashion brand was a great way to get early customers. I even had a laptop there so people could buy clothes whilst listening to my story.

I wrote about the brand in lots of local blogs and alerted local newspapers about the launch of a ‘hyperlocal fashion label’ story. That helped push the story outside of Croydon to across South London and beyond.

Instagram is the largest driver of traffic to my site – and I have a Croydon Vs The World Instagram profile which features happy customers wearing clothing around the world. It inspired me to set up my own Instagram training website called Gram To Grands.

That’s great advice. It sounds like you are super focused on marketing your store now and driving sales. Looking back, how did it feel getting your first order?

I got my first sale on day one and it was a friend who bought one of the white Croydon Vs The World canvas bags. I was so elated that I’ve asked her to keep the receipt so I can get it framed (I’m not sure she has though haha!).

I love that everything is handled by the platform. Sales, fulfillment, returns – everything. Teemill makes the process of selling t-shirts online so easy.

What’s the best thing about building your brand?

Pretty much every day I open Instagram and see people I’ve never met before from around the world wearing my fashion label. That is hugely invigorating!

And what are the ambitions for the future?

I don’t want Croydon Vs The World to be a brand worn just by people who are from Croydon. One day, I want it to be a global brand worn across the world by people with no affinity with the area, in the same way people wear NYC snapback hats even though they’re not from New York City.

What’s it like knowing there are hundreds of people out there wearing your designs?

INSANE. Especially when I see where they’re from Japan, Iraq, Australia, North America, Europe, China. The Croydon Vs The World is everywhere!

Startup Brand

That’s amazing. Spotted anyone on the street wearing your stuff yet?

Yes. It’s made me a bit of a local celeb which is very amusing!

Incredibly, one of the local pubs – The Spread Eagle – even bought a wholesale order of Croydon Vs The World for their staff. It’s absolutely unreal walking past and seeing all these people wearing my design on their way to and from work.

Sounds like an amazing journey Jonny, is there anyone you want to give shout out to?

Everyone who has supported the Croydon Vs The World brand and supported our aim to “Let the world know that Croydon is the house”.

If you’d like to start a brand, check out Teemill.com, it’s free.

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