If you’ve been around and followed DNDL’s moves in the latter half of 2017, you witnessed A LOT. We moved into our own giant warehouse, we brought screen printing entirely in house, & we launched our PERFORM line to start manufacturing our own custom pieces. I love screen printing & graphic design, but I also love quality fitness apparel. I have a passion for combining fitness, fashion, & function. That said, manufacturing athletic performance apparel has been a dream of mine for quite some time, but a lot needed to happen in order for that dream to come to fruition. So I’m going to break it all down for you and explain how we got to where we are today, releasing PERFORM II.
Things like space & cashflow are incredibly important when it comes to owning an apparel business, especially when you’re trying to get into the big leagues of cut & sew. We needed a larger warehouse space in order to hold the quantities that come with manufacturing (I am talking tens of thousands of pieces all arriving at once). Plus, we needed to fill the space with people; we needed more manpower to receive, sort, & inventory shipments of this size, along with manpower to run our in house screen printing facility.
In June 2017, it took one trip to meet the team who would help me develop what would become PERFORM, to finally set my dream— and the future of the brand— in motion. That trip made me fall in love with DNDL all over again. For the first time in 3.5 years, I got to design a collection entirely from the ground up.
The typical DNDL creative process goes something like this: come up with a collection concept, do the graphic design work for said concept, print designs on blanks from suppliers. I love the process, but when you do it 12 times a year, it gets redundant. This cut & sew process was different. And at the expense of sounding like a complete drama queen, I am going to describe it as life changing. Every cut, color, stitch, seam, waistband, drawstring, fabric, detail… all selected then constructed by me & my team. I appropriately named DNDL’s new performance line, PERFORM.
We designed an entire PERFORM collection intended to drop five month later for Black Friday 2017, & I wrote the biggest check I had ever written from DNDL. We did not have a warehouse yet. We did not have screen printing equipment yet. So we had to get moving! Chlo, Ben, & myself got to work. Ben worked on the logistical side of screen printing & building a team there, while Chlo & I hunted down a warehouse. Long story short, we had a warehouse by the end of the month & the screen printing equipment was shipped soon after we got the keys. Our team also grew in size substantially at this time.
All of these business moves complemented each other. Moving printing in house meant more cash flow for us (and better pricing all of you), which allowed us not only to be able to pay the upfront costs of manufacturing, but also to take the hit of waiting 12-24 weeks for the manufactured product after payment. Like I said, a lot needed to happen in order for my dream of designing affordable, high quality, fitness apparel to come true.
The in house screen printing got on it’s way & we settled into our new space. We patiently awaited the first round of PERFORM. Every time we got a sample or picture from the manufacturer, our excitement grew. We learned A LOT about the lengthy, detailed process of overseas manufacturing during this time, as we planned collections for the future. The massive pallets finally showed up a few weeks before launch; there was plenty of space & manpower to accommodate the overwhelming size of the shipment. The garments looked & felt wonderful. My dream had come true & I was hit with an immense sense of accomplishment. We did it.
The first round of PERFORM was what anyone would consider to be a success, but I knew we had to step it up moving forward. We had to listen to every bit of feedback on fit & functionality in order to make every PERFORM drop better than its predecessor. Better quality, better aesthetics, better functionality. So we took things up a notch with the second round of PERFORM. The first round was meant to be minimal, as we wanted the quality to speak for itself sans embellishments. The second round is meant to be bold, as we know DNDL is so beloved due to funky, obscure print placements & loud branding.
This round of PERFORM has been eight months in the making in order to ensure fit & functionality. Eight months. To make sure you feel confident & comfortable in the pieces. We wanted every woman, no matter her body, to feel great in sports bras with cutouts. We wanted to provide more style than you see with our screen printed shirts, meaning front ties, silicone prints, back ties, mesh detailing, unique fabric blends, woven tags, & more. We wanted to provide the most functional shorts & leggings we could, allowing for deep squats, plenty of stretch in every direction, the ability to move freely, sweat wicking qualities, & more. On top of the careful construction of the functionality of all these garments, we had a blast with branding placement. The DNDL branding is everywhere without looking obnoxious. When you receive your items, you will be pleasantly surprised by a few little easter eggs that you can’t see in pictures. From stamped drawstrings to armpit prints, you will not be let down. Details are kind of our thing.
There are a plethora of fitness apparel brands to choose from, but not a whole lot of “in between” brands. And by that, I mean in between the very expensive brands that charge $120 for a pair of name brand leggings & the insanely cheap brands where pilling, ripping, & poor fit come with the price point. Over the course of the last year, I have tried to situate DNDL smack in the middle of the extremes we see in fitness apparel. I want PERFORM to deliver the best possible fit, fabric, & funk for the best possible price point. I want to deliver apparel that ALL women (and men) feel insanely confident in while lifting.
We will always be a screen printing brand, as that is who we are at our core. But two to three times per year, it is exceptionally exciting for me to be able to offer something a little more in order to continue making DNDL a little different. The manufacturing side of this industry is fashion AND function forward, which means we have to continue to evolve & learn as a brand as we pursue the growth & success of PERFORM. It has been quite the challenge thus far, but I am here for it. And just like with screen printing, DNDL will continue to try to create the trends as opposed to following them. This brand was created by misfits, for other misfits & I love the people who support us.
PERFORM releases today, Thursday, August 30th, at 6pm PST.
There will be no restocks.