I came across Lucky Girl in April 2018, and was grabbed by the idea immediately. For those who haven’t happened upon this genius situation: you order a mystery tshirt (with a few hints to get you wrapped up in the riddle) by the tenth of every second month, and then receive the tshirt at the end of the month – with $5 from each tee going to the Womens Refuge, to boot. I ordered the May tshirt and loved it, so I decided to reach out to Chris and see if we could have a wee chat.
Chris is the lovely lady behind Ruby Fearless (yes, there was a discussion re blogging as well as Lucky Girl), and I was legitimately confused as to how she’d kicked off another project…so we started there.
At the end of 2017, Chris was looking for a new challenge, but not any old challenge. Her thinking started with subscription boxes, which have taken off overseas but haven’t seemed to get the same foothold in New Zealand, but in the end it was the humble tshirt that called to her. As Chris says, the tshirt seems to be the backbone of so many New Zealand women’s wardrobes (I certainly own my fair share), so it seemed like a great place to start with a whole new approach.
Chris has always been captured by the idea: “make the familiar surprising, and the surprising familiar”, so with tshirts locked in it was time to find the surprise element – hey presto, mystery prints! I love the mystery element – like a lot of women, there aren’t that many pleasant surprises in my life. My birthday, Christmas, the occasional parcel of something I may or may not have forgotten I ordered – the list isn’t long. That’s also why the prints are limited edition. If you order it, it’s made specifically for you so not only is there no wastage, there’s no surplus stock kicking around. If you see a woman in a Lucky Girl tee, you know she bought it in that exact month and year.
The design process starts with a quote, like this month’s:
Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose
With that in place, it’s a matter of finding the inspiration images to build a collage (and to release to us, on Instagram) so that the design can begin to percolate in Chris’s mind. Because yes, that’s right, she’s all the Girl Bosses in this particular business, from marketing to design to logistics (and all the admin too!).
The last tshirt/hoodie design was an absolute cracker (the pink guy pictured in the topmost image above) and I resent myself for not getting round to ordering it, and that’s just too bad for me because once a design is done, it’s done. Integrity is key to Chris and to the Lucky Girl model. She tells me that even friends don’t get past prints, and nor do they get sneak peaks (she’s tough but fair), because Lucky Girl only works if every print is a surprise, and only those who ordered it receive it.
I am always curious about the logistics of a business, and Chris has managed to create something with relatively low overheads and a smooth process built in from the start. She uses AS Colour tees, based on her own experience of their outstanding quality (tell me about it, I am six deep over here and love them all) and after a wee mission finding a printer has now found a top-notch joint on Dominion Road who have done all her printing. Wise advice for those who want to start a venture follows: Chris says don’t freak yourself out, just get onto building a website, then start finding the solutions that will make it happen. Silence the horrible voice in your head that says you’re an imposter, and do the things that need to be done to make your project sing.
Coincidentally, the story of how Lucky Girl came about (hard work and hustle) is also the story behind the name Lucky Girl. Chris was sick of people telling her how lucky she was when she got to go to a fun event or had some kind of success, when actually, she’d worked bloody hard to get there. It’s fair to say it resonated with me when Chris said “shit doesn’t just get given to you!”, and I’m always delighted to find another kindred spirit who spends their evenings on their laptop working away on a project. Luck might be an element of success, but hard work is a critical ingredient. Lucky Girl tees are intended as your reward to yourself for a job well done – a wee surprise in the mailbox from time to time.
Women’s Refuge is a key part of the infrastructure supporting women in New Zealand, but relies on donations, philanthropy and bequests for approximately half of the funding they need to keep themselves going. In a country with shameful rates of domestic abuse against women and children, Women’s Refuge is the first safe place these women will know. If you’re privileged enough to be able to buy a mystery tshirt, I think it’s ace that your purchase also contributes towards supporting women who need that safe place.
The next tee closes on 10 November 2018, and features a choice between tan and khaki tshirts and sweatshirts (because let’s be real, it will still be sweatshirt weather in Wellington then). I can’t wait to get my tee at the end of November, and I really encourage every one of you to give Lucky Girl a go. Small runs of exclusive designs, with a donation to a vital not for profit…I love it so much.
Order your tshirt here (or order one for a friend as a REAL surprise!)
Follow Lucky Girl tees on Instagram here for more information about upcoming designs!