They say all good things take time, and building a clothing company from the ground up is no exception.

So, after a year of hard work, we are excited to at last be launching our line of women’s Aftersports Wear™. And what a year it has been! We have had fun and learned important life lessons in the course of this voyage.

Lesson #1: Everything you need to know about life you can learn from Gilligan’s Island.

Back to basics: the TIKA and HERA in black

Ginger & Mary Ann—perfect for the woman on the move

The Big Idea

In a world where black yoga pants and spandex leggings have become the standard attire for working out, travel, and everyday activities, many women have expressed a need for something with more color and more coverage. But it is incredibly difficult to find stylish yet functional clothing that allows for a seamless and appropriate transition from workout to daily life. And if you want to be comfortable in that clothing? Good luck!

However, in the spirit of Gilligan and his crew-mates, we took on this challenge. We sought to create clothing that allows today’s active woman to go straight from the climbing gym to the grocery store or office, incorporating both fashion and function.

Thus, Ginger & Mary Ann Clothing Co. was born.

We named the company after two universal icons of femininity (as seen in Gilligan’s Island) because they represent the Ginger and Mary Ann in each of us. These two beautiful women embody a spirit of cleverness, resourcefulness, and wit– each in her own unique way. And our clothes are inspired by them. Sometimes we feel exotic and glamorous; other times we want a classic, comfortable, girl-next-door look. In a broader sense, this famous island theme has come to characterize our entire brand.

Lesson #2: To bring an idea such as this to life, we needed the same skills it takes to get off a desert island: innovation, inspiration, patience, teamwork and a lot of heart. As Chelsea Snow, Operations Manager for Ginger & Mary Ann Clothing Co. points out, “We’ve learned a lot of lessons. You have to be very committed and have a strong belief in your product.”

hawk scaled

Sectr 17 Productions at work

Assembling a Team

Just as finding one’s way off a deserted island demands a group of hard-working, motivated individuals; bringing our concept to fruition required that we pull together a dedicated and talented crew.

Early on, we approached Sectr 17 Productions (local graffiti artists known for their bold, colorful work) and asked them to help us create a unique look for Ginger & Mary Ann Clothing Co. graphics. We sought out young, new fashion designers to bring their vision and energy to our project. We knew that to succeed we also needed to call on experienced individuals in the world of fashion to help us achieve a fresh but polished look.

Lesson #3: Just like the seven voyagers on the three-hour tour, we each come from very different backgrounds, generations, and lifestyles. And like them, we found success despite our diversity. (We would like to think they ultimately did get off the island!)

GMA-in-process

Behind the scenes

Creating, Testing

From the beginning, it was our aim to create functional, good-fitting, comfortable clothing to fill the gap between exercising and socializing (i.e. Aftersports wear™). We wanted to create clothing with purpose. Beyond fashion, each piece was to serve a function, or solve a specific problem. (One example of this is demonstrated in the ANGA, a garment with a safety cuff to hold a canister of mace if the wearer so chooses.) Drawing inspiration from the bicycle industry, we also wanted to incorporate vibrant colors, and to expand our graphic designs into an island theme with a graffiti influence. The end goal: to create limited edition, wearable art, made sustainably within the Northwest. This was no easy task.

To make these garments functional, however, it became apparent that we’d have to think through every last detail. For instance, what types of patterns and stitches would be required for each special feature? And would it require a special kind of thread? What about the placement of labels, zippers, and pockets? Needless to say, as we finessed our original designs to reach final execution, our clothing line has endured many changes. But we’ve worked together to achieve an end result which we think is the perfect solution for women wanting something between active wear and casual wear.

Lesson #4: Like the Professor, think outside the box. Use available resources to address a need. Test and retest until you get it right. (Check out our washing instruction graphic. It’s a positive reminder to save energy and wash your clothing ‘the island way’).

GMA-in-process2

Sublimation printing strike-offs

Bringing it to Market

Despite the many talented folks who have come to comprise the Ginger & Mary Ann Clothing Co. team, we still faced a number of challenges along the way. First, we needed to find a domestic manufacturer. There was no compromising; our clothing had to be made in the U.S.A. This presents no shortage of obstacles, especially for a cost-conscious, start-up clothing line like Ginger & Mary Ann. When it comes to the industry, we are very much our own island. “There’s a reason little girls dream of becoming fashion designers—and then don’t end up becoming fashion designers,” says Snow. “It’s a complicated industry, requires a huge investment, and is difficult to manufacture domestically.”

Second, we had to find digital experts to build a web store. Preferring to reach our customers directly (on the internet) rather than via a brick and mortar store, we knew we would need expertise to make this happen. Thus, our web development team was born.

Third, we needed a place to store inventory, package, and ship our products. Why not repurpose a large, unused garage? We stripped the interior, added lighting, shelving, internet connectivity, and an inventory specialist—and our warehouse came alive.

Lesson #5: Despite challenges, working together effectively— remaining committed for the long haul (as were the crew members of Gilligan’s Island)—is essential. This requires clear communication, tenacity, and dedication.

MotuHomepageFast Forward to Today

At this moment, as you’re reading this, you’re joining us for the most exciting leg of our journey. In recent months, we have created an image for the Ginger & Mary Ann Clothing Co. name, one that portrays its essence via photography, our newly launched website, and several social media platforms. Best yet, our line is now available—and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you, and the rest of the world.

It’s not easy to condense an entire year of work into a brief write-up, but we believe that’s what makes a great brand: the people behind the scenes who work tirelessly to bring it to life, all while maintaining their vision.

But this is not the end of our journey, this is the beginning. We invite you to join us. Each season we will feature new artists, new graphics, new designs and fabrics. We invite your feedback and your ideas. Send us your photos and stories; show us your Ginger, show us your Mary Ann. We here at Ginger & Mary Ann Clothing Co. welcome you to our island.

Be sure to email us your comments, product ideas, and tag us in your photos on social media—we want to see your Ginger and your Mary Ann!

Email Here