This is a post from our sister website The Student Fashion Blog.
QCumber (a play on the word cucumber), is a brand new clothing company established by two recent graduates. SFB recently caught up with one of the founders, Robert Heaton, to learn more about the brand, its future, and how it got started.
SFB: Hi Rob, tell us a little about how QCumber how got started, and what all the ‘fruitiness’ is about.
I chucked a strawberry at my partner, which made a wicked stain on his jumper. We had a titanic food fight, which ended with our clothes looking a lot cooler than when we started. This got us thinking, and 6 months or so later here we are!
[The fruitiness] It’s about putting some cool and colourful shapes on some cool and colourful jumpers and making something that stands out against the torrent of grey v-necks.
SFB: How have students responded to the jumpers?
There’s been a fantastic response across the whole country; students seem to be tired of hoodies and shirts and so on and just want something fun and original. We’ve shipped orders to places as far flung as Dublin, Edinburgh, Belgium and Jersey, it’s great to see the word spreading from place to place and fascinating trying to work out how people might have come across the jumpers.
SFB: Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
We have a vision of a supermarket with aisles, shelves, freezers etc. but no food; instead it’s all teeming with fresh, cutting edgeQCumber clothing.
SFB: Can students get hold of your clothing at any retail stores?
SFB: So not only are you making jumpers, sorbet and icecream are also a part of the brand? Is this something that you will be doing more of?
The good folks at G and D’s are big fans of the clothes and very kindly created and named a flavour after us! We’re always looking for cool collaborations with other people and projects, but we’re unlikely to start our own range of ice creams alongside the jumpers, although it does have a certain charm!
SFB: What other new ideas are you currently working on?
I’m just putting the finishing touches to two slayer new designs (broccoli and bananas), which will be going to print shortly. I’m also finishing off the programming for the first part of the QCumberChallenge, a Facebook based competition with £100s of prizes and some really cool and fun gameplay. Stop motion films, summer picnics, it’s all going to go down!
SFB: Are jumpers quite the sell in the summer? Or do you have t-shirts in the works as well?
T-shirts are indeed in the works, in fact the first round of samples are in the post as we speak. And you know that in the English summer you’re always going to need some emergency protection. Jumper sales haven’t slowed down as the weather’s got better so it seems that students realise this!
SFB: How are you faring in a poor economy? And do you feel that students are getting value for their money with your jumpers?
There’s no doubt that students are getting value for their money with QCumber. The designs are fresh and original and the jumpers themselves are light but warm. And their low price means that we haven’t really suffered from the economic slowdown at all.
SFB: What kind of students are you targeting with the brand?
Any student who’s a fan of bold and exciting pineapparel and who just wants to have a bit of fun with their clothing.
SFB: The jumpers certainly look fun, are there any plans to have a fruit cocktail jumper? Since at the moment its just one type of fruit per jumper.
Oh indeed, the fruit cocktail jumper is certainly coming, we’re holding back until a truly special, limited edition piece is in order though!
SFB: Any words of advice for aspiring designers and apparel entrepreneurs?
You have to work out how best to advertise and spread the word to people outside your immediate circles without spending much money. This does mean more than a Facebook group and a website (although these are invaluable), you have to get people to interact with and be intrigued by the brand itself. Try and forge mutually beneficial links with existing projects/organisations who could bring your products to a wider audience whilst benefiting themselves from the association with your company. Most importantly don’t be shy!