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Standing up for a generation. Fola’s Windrush Story

#WeAreAllWindrush is an incredible campaign using eye-catching designs and a clever social media strategy to get the word out about their cause. We caught up with Fola and Gillian who shared their secrets to building a successful campaign using Teemill.

For those that may be unfamiliar, what is #WeAreAllWindrush and how did the idea for the campaign come about?

2018 marks the 70th Anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush ship to Britain from the Caribbean. Now, after decades of living and working here, some members of the “Windrush Generation” are being threatened with deportation.

We came up with the slogan #WeAreAllWindrush – it means standing in solidarity with the Windrush Generation and standing up for the kind of society we believe in – one that is inclusive, diverse and celebrates all who are part of it.

That’s an amazing idea. Why did you decide to start selling t-shirts for the campaign?

We wanted to find a creative way to raise money in support of those who have been affected by the scandal. By wearing the #WeAreAllWindrush t-shirt people are standing for something and share in solidarity with others.

T-shirts have a long history of being used for subversion and protest art.

The idea was born that if we could produce a beautiful design, good quality t-shirts and encourage people to wear them in solidarity with the Windrush Generation, we could raise awareness about the scandal, and use fashion to raise funds to contribute to the legal fees of those affected by the scandal.

Very cool indeed. What were your priorities when you started looking into creating the store?

We both have full-time jobs, so whilst we were eager and passionate about doing something to resist the government we needed to find a way of campaigning that was sustainable and did not require a full-time commitment.

We knew our campaign needed to start mainly on social media and with an online store rather than people buying t-shirts from us in person.

We knew we wanted to create a powerful piece of protest art for the t-shirts to capture people’s attention.

And how come you chose Teemill?

Teemill allowed us to fulfil all of our needs for a manageable social media campaign. Teemill is print on demand, which meant we didn’t have to overstretch ourselves with the upfront cost of ordering lots of t-shirts and then selling them ourselves.

When a t-shirt order comes in, Teemill fulfils every aspect of the order and delivery promptly and efficiently, so that we can focus our time on other aspects of our campaign. The fact that the t-shirts are such good quality and produced sustainably was also important to us.

We’re stoked we’re able to do little to help out. Absolutely love the designs, could you tell us more about the story behind them?

We approached an artist, Cressida Djambov, who replied at once to accept the challenge, and within a week she had designed the most beautiful protest art in the form of a brilliant subversion of the royal postage stamp.

The result was disruptive of national symbolism and, at the same time, the stamp commemorated the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush from the Caribbean to Britain.

How do you feel using the #WeAreAllWindrush hashtag has influenced the success and reach of the campaign?

Using the #WeAreAllWindrush hashtag signifies to others that you are proud to voice your beliefs and stand in solidarity with the Windrush Generation and for the kind of Britain we believe in – one that is inclusive, diverse and celebrates all those who are a part of it.

Our aim with the #WeAreAllWindrush hashtag was for people to use it when they posted a photo of themselves wearing our t-shirt.

If we hadn’t used a slogan hashtag this would have been much more difficult.

We have seen some awesome pictures of celebrities and influencers wearing your tees – how did this come about, and how have you used this to market the campaign?

we are all windrush

It has been wonderful to see the range of support coming in. Our campaign supporters range from nurses and teachers to musicians and actors. We value each and every supporter and we aim to repost every photo that gets sent to us on our campaign Instagram, twitter and facebook pages.

People have been finding out about the campaign through social media and personally, we have also been reaching out to friends and family to help us spread the word.

There is an element of six degrees of separation – when one person posts their photo, their friends and family see and tell their friends and one of those friends may well be Nathalie Emmanuel from Game of Thrones!

What would you say are the top 3 methods you used which have got you the most sales and engagement?

  1. Starting with a clear vision, design and ethos and then not straying too far from it.
  2. Having a lively social media presence – we engage with our supporters on a daily basis. Gaining from the support of key influencers with strong social media presence.
  3. The enthusiasm of our supporters: when people post wonderful photos of themselves in the t-shirts with a meaningful caption about why they believe in #WeAreAllWindrush it really engages others to find out more and learn about the campaign.

Awesome points there Fola. What do you find is the best way to get the word out about your store and products to your followers?

  1. Social media has been invaluable.
  2. Attending relevant events wearing our t-shirts

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

Every day, as new posts come in, it is heartening to see and feel the sense of solidarity and to read messages of support and stories about what Windrush means to people either because someone has an intimate family connection, and shares a heritage with a person from the Windrush Generation. It has taught us that the important thing is to try, you never know where your idea might lead to and whose lives it will touch.

Thanks so much for sharing that with us Fola, what’s next for the campaign?

We are hoping to continue building the momentum of the campaign in order to raise more funds for the Windrush Justice Fund. With Notting Hill Carnival on the horizon, we hope people will take the opportunity to wear our t-shirts at one of the most famous events in London, the UK and Europe that celebrates Caribbean culture in all its variety.

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