Brand Stories | Do You Print Shirts or Sell Weed?

5 years have gone by pretty quick. With that said it hasn’t been without its frustrations, surprises and headaches.The first frustration and headache came pretty early on.

After spending almost 2 years conceptualizing the brand, building the website, putting together some designs and most importantly saving money to produce the first run, the time had finally come to print some apparel.

Being a brand that was to be heavily rooted in lake life I thought it would be fitting to utilize a printer in cottage country. I ended up finding one pretty close to the family cottage in the Whiteshell. It was 20km out of the way but would be a great piece to the brand story. I gave them a call and everything sounded great. I prepared the artwork files (most of which had been prepared and ready to go for the past year). I quickly learned that not everyone would operate business with the same integrity I had hoped to run Oak + Oar with.

After sending the art files to the printer and getting a formal quote I signed off and they scheduled my job into production. I was informed that I would have production in its entirety within three weeks “latest”. I was pretty thrilled. It was all finally coming together. I got on the phone and arrange a small crew for a lookbook shoot. I was literally counting down the days and after 10, decided it was probably worth just checking in to see how things were progressing. 5 days later – three voice mails and a couple of emails – and still nothing. Finally received an email. He was alive!

“Chris,

Sorry man. Don’t think we will have the shirts done by the 21st. But don’t worry screens are ready so hopefully soon.

Short staff. I’ll be in touch.

– *****”

Fantastic! – might not have been the word I spat out under my breath. I was pretty pissed. Not only had I been anticipating this with the same excitement as the return of the Jets but how was I supposed to now call my handful of friends who had juggled schedules and pawned off shifts to give me a hand. This was my first lesson in persistence. I replied almost immediately with my best attempt at appearing level headed.

“*****,

That’s a bit of a bummer. As discussed earlier I really need at least one of each of these for the 21st as I have arranged to shoot some photos with a handful of people who have gone out of their way to accommodate this.

I can always slip out there after work and print the order up myself if that helps? I’ve got a pretty solid understanding of the process. Give me a call ***-****.

Cheers,

Chris”

That was my response. Half motivated to get this order in hand by the promised date. Half hoping to call his bluff and motivate him to get my order completed. A few minutes later.

Chris,

I’ll have one of each shirt printed by Thursday night assuming you can meet me at the Petro Canada in Beausejour at 10pm.

*****”

Not perfect but at least workable. I arrived at 10 to 10 Thursday night and sat their and waited. 5 minutes to 11pm I was about to head home after no answer to his cell. I was literally about to start my car when the printer arrived. I recall the conversation going pretty much like this:

Hey man. Here are your samples. Chat soon”

“Appreciate it. Any chance you have an idea when these are going to be completed?”

“Soon forsure”

At this, looking back, I probably should have asked a few more questions but I was too captivated by corrugated brown box he had handed me. By the time I looked up from the box – he was gone. I flicked on the interior lights and opened the box. They literally seemed to glow or maybe that was just my smile. Upon closer examination they were, of course, all printed on the wrong blanks but I hey, at least I had my photo samples. We would venture out to the Whiteshell and shoot a pile of photos. Remember these photos? Of course you don’t. We never released them.

Why?

I never got my order.

Fast forward a month and a half and I was sitting with my girlfriend waiting for the printer once again. We had agreed to meet at the airport as he was heading out of town. I am still convinced to this day they don’t actually print shirts there but rather he has some sort of illegal grow op and the reason he always insisted on meet ups and never delivered on time. But hey I was getting my shirts and he was bring them into the city saving me a trip (even if it was 6 weeks late). Once again I would arrive early to ensure he had no issues arriving for his flight on time. He never arrived. My girlfriend would likely wonder what she had gotten herself into (although for some reason she would later agree to marry me). And I would once again be furious.

Literally a week later…

“Chris,

My bad man. Just realized I was supposed to meet up with you and get you your shirts.

Slipped my mind. I’ll have my wife meet you at Polo Park tomorrow with your hoodies. I’ll get you your tees soon.

*****”

I replied

“*****,

To be honest at this point I am just going to find someone else.

If the hoodies are actually done then let me know the discounted price you are going to offer and I will have a cheque on hand to pay your wife.

Chris”

Always check your order is the lesson I would learn. After getting my box of hoodies the next day I was disappointed to find that they were printed on some random piss poor quality hoodies. Shout out to everyone who has one of these. And if you don’t I am sure I have a few lying around haha.

So of this first order, all that would be printed were the grey signature hoodies on some completely random blank hoodie that fit like a tube sock. Terrible.