A new start: setting up our micro-factory
2022 was our busiest year yet!
Writing this at the start of the new year, January 2022 now feels so long ago. We were then still operating the studio out of our house - crazy times! With industrial machines taking up most of our living space (even the baby’s cot eventually had to move next to the cutting table), and knowing we had to hire more people, it was time to say goodbye to work from home, and look for a new studio space.
We started looking in February, found a space in March, and eventually after some tense negotiations, got the keys in May - woohoo!
It's still a work in progress but we've achieved a lot over the year, setting up all our machines and adding some new ones which allows us to make even more things ourselves (more on our new product range later). Our micro-factory is now operational making things!
The highlight for us is that we now have the space to host our own physical shop in the studio. This means all you lovely people can come in see the factory and how everything is made, view our full range of colours and prints and then try a swimsuit across our full size spectrum - and walk out with even bigger smiles than when you came in and with maybe even a swimsuit or two- satisfaction guaranteed 🤩
Growing the team
We started the year with 2 of us but desperately needed more help. In 2022 we were lucky to be able to finally expand the team with a fabulous group of individuals!
Our first hire, Vera, is our super skilled sewing machinist. Our machines have never run faster and she’s improved the quality of our garments even further.
Elle, our second permanent hire, works on marketing. She's also an ex-national swimmer who launched a successful online up-cycling business during lockdown, so we’re so lucky to have her support to build our community.
In the summer, Tilly joined us as a freelancer helping across the business including content production, but we’re now saying goodbye as she’s off travelling to Central America - looking forward to seeing some international pics on our grid soon!
We also welcomed two new amazing creative designers, Kaelan and Kizzy who joined this month to help on everything design and production related.
Throughout the year we’ve had plenty of help from other people, including Vikram who consults on our accounts, Ovelia who designed our very first swimsuit print and came back to help design the summer collection, Hati, who produced our very first editorial shoot in Margate, Beth & Paul on brand strategy, and Esme who helped with our technical drawings.
A big thank you to the team, without your amazing work, we wouldn't have achieved so much!
Building our community
We started Usual Objections with a belief that everyone is capable of great things, and while it’s important that we operate our business sustainably and support worldwide environmental causes, it’s equally important that we create a community that can inspire life-changing progress every day - both in sport and in life.
In August we kicked off our Meet series to share inspiring stories from people who overcome their own objections - thanks so much to Emma, Josephine, Alice and Jiajia for sharing their stories. Next year we’ll be hosting in person talks and workshops to expand on this further.
This year we’ve also been lucky to work with local businesses - supporting the 10-year anniversary of the East End Trades Guild, collaborating with Jess Amaral on a sustainable project using our offcuts, and donating deadstock fabrics to Yodomo, a circular social venture, to recycle fabrics into new garments and accessories.
Having a physical space where customers can visit us is really important - not only can you see where your garments are being made - it’s also an opportunity for us to connect in real life.
Some highs and lows
On March 9th we turned 2 🥳!! A small celebration, but it felt good to have survived, especially given we launched the business two weeks before a global pandemic took over the world.
Other highlights this year was expanding our swimwear range - cue new prints, colour-ways, and finally, in the last weeks of the year, we launched our men’s trunks - a 7mm brief. Our bikinis are now also graded and will be ready to launch in the coming months.
We also had lots of fun on our very first editorial shoots - a shoot in Margate with swimmers who responded to a casting call out from our instagram, and a night shoot at London Fields Lido with swimmers from Henry Fincher’s Swim Faster London group - thanks so much to all our amazing models!
We've also been busy getting our activewear range ready - sourcing new technical fabrics, buying up dead-stock fabrics, and designing and testing sweats, t-shirts, run-shorts, and more recently some running accessories.
There were some low points too. In May we took a hit from the global shortage of fabrics which meant almost all production stopped for about a month - luckily our lovely customers were very patient with us.
Rich spent the best part of the year trying to fix a waistband machine, just in time to launch the trunks, though sadly too late to launch the bikinis and trunks over the busy summer months. We were also so busy we definitely didn’t swim or train as much as we wanted to 😫
So that’s a whirlwind tour of what we’ve been up to in the year.
In 2023 we’re hoping to achieve even more things - launch new products, offer custom options to personalise kit, share more inspiring stories, start our talks and workshops programme, and say hello to even more of you - in real life and online!
Wishing you all the best for 2023!
Linda & Rich and the team xx