For better or worse we have decided to start the Turf Legends Blog. Traditionally blogs are about what is happening right now, but as this is our first, it is the opportunity to tell the story of how we got to where we are, so here goes:
Back in 2007 Stuart & Lee were quietly working away on some long-forgotten advertising campaign, when one of them (and we’re not saying who) randomly said “I want to buy a shirt in Desert Orchid’s colours” this inevitably led to a 24 hour Google marathon whilst the aforementioned article was searched for. Amazingly no such item existed. Not willing to be beaten the intrepid duo concluded that the only way to get one was to ‘make their own’.
And this was how it all began.
Turf Legends was sort of like ‘Field of Dreams’ in those early days, (you remember, -the Kevin Costner film – “If you build it they will come”). The only solid facts were: 1. Over 6 million people go to live horseracing every year. 2. There was no discernable clothing for the horseracing fan.
We were helped by the fact that we like a bit of racing, so knew a little bit about the heritage, but aside from that our learning curve was a bit like an ejector seat. – straight up and very fast.
Our initial quest was to manufacture the silks of some of the greats in the style of rugby shirts and we chose 6 of the best to start with: Arkle/Cottage Rake/Dawn Run/Desert Orchid/Golden Miller/Red Rum, this is the Dick Rees Classic Colours Collection that can still be purchased today.
We unleashed the collection to the unsuspecting public at Cheltenham Open Meeting in November 2008 (yes it really did take that long to get the right product manufactured). The feedback was fantastic, and special thanks to all of you early visionaries who ‘got what we are about’ way back then.
But, don’t be fooled, starting a clothing brand is really, really hard work, and there have been times when we wanted to walk away…..but we didn’t and thankfully our efforts were recognized by someone who knows far more about clothing and horses than we probably ever will – Terry Warner.
Enter Terry Warner:
Terry as some readers will know is a prolific racehorse owner, owning amongst others Detroit City & Rooster Booster, what perhaps less people will know is that Terry was one of the first retailers to recognize the potential of sports related casual clothing. Terry Warner Sports shops were a common sight, certainly in the South West for many years up until the late 1990’s. So not only did Terry understand the heritage of the brand he was also able to advise on the future, experience that we could never hope to buy.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe our early conversations with Terry as being like the Dragon’s Den, and we’ll never be able to watch that program again without feeling huge sympathy for the pleaders, (apart from the ones with really stupid ideas that is!).
So – time for a quick evaluation:
- Idea – Check
- Products – Check
- Investor – Check
- A bit of a clue now – Check
- Let the real work begin!!!
We knew we had to get new products lines pretty quick, because we were getting loads of requests for Tee shirts & Polos, so Lee gave up sleep for a few weeks and got his pencils and crayons out. Out of over 50 new product designs only 5 have made it to production, but don’t worry dear reader because the others are carefully filed away in the future products drawer.
Having got the designs, we then had to take the photos, (I’m pleased to say the photo shoot will be the subject of the next blog,) however we do need to say special thanks to the following:
- Sam Thomas
- Carl Llewelyn
- Rachel Harrison
- Milly Baker
- Harriet Langley
- Tom George for the use of his stunning yard at Slad
- The Hotel DuVin in Cheltenham for allowing us free rein of their premises
- Ruth & Graham from G and R Classics for trusting us with their E-type for 48 hours
The photo-shoot was great fun and we think the results are pretty special, now we’ve got to put it all together as a brochure and website.
And here we are, it’s August 2010 and we’re about to launch our new collections, how will it go? Well we’re pretty confident but come back often and we’ll let you know right here.