As human beings go, we do not just seek basic gratification in the form of food & fornication, but being the most successful species on the planet (I say this in terms of adaptability), we also seek a higher purpose through our work and play. For some of us it’s art, for others writing. For LudoCherry’s creator Phoebe Wild, it’s clothing with a touch of board games.
Phoebe Wild and her partner Mark Harris’ ongoing and wildly successful Kickstarter project for their LudoCherry clothing line — one which combines vintage clothing with a touch of board game geekiness — is a subtle nod to the hobby. Currently, their Kickstarter is running up to 25th March, and at time of writing it has hit more than $60K — around 600% of their initial goal.
As someone who loves geeky clothing and has an eclectic dress sense, I was drawn to the project mostly because the skirts have pockets — which isn’t something one sees every day. Gone are the days of having to carry an extra bag when I can just slip my phone and purse into the pockets, which boast a holding capacity of 200 dice!
Sara: LudoCherry is certainly something people don’t see every day. What inspired you to create this clothing line?
Phoebe: It started with a binge of Project Runway episodes — as I’ve always been interested in fashion. The thought came to me that geeky clothing is usually very conspicuous — so I wanted to marry my two loves. LudoCherry was then born — a nod to the hobby yet stylish enough to wear to work and parties.
Sara: Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been popular platforms for crowdfunding projects. What pushed you in the direction of the former?
Phoebe: A large portion of the board game community was already on Kickstarter — and very few would be willing to migrate to another platform to give their support. Tabletop games was also one of Kickstarter’s largest sectors — it was evident by the success of many other games there that we had a good market.
Sara: I’m sure you both were pretty surprised by the support — you hit your goal pretty quickly. How did you come up with the concept of LudoCherry and how did you go about realising it?
Phoebe: Yes, haha! We were watching it go up to the 90s and by then we had to sleep. When we woke up — it had passed its goal and was still climbing — it was pretty surreal. LudoCherry’s name is a combination of ludo — the Latin word for “game” and cherries were a common motif in vintage clothing design — which then lent itself to the titular pattern LudoCherry signature — which is D20 dice as cherries!
Sara: With your background in board game publishing – tell me how was the process getting the designs realised? What were the challenges you faced?
Phoebe: I first drew up the designs — and then started sourcing for artists — we were looking for both great design and affordability, but this didn’t mean we would skimp on paying artists. We found Rachel Kramer (Meeple Garden), Veronika Demenko (Polka Dice & Victory), and Brian McGinnis (LudoCherry Signature) — who also created the LudoCherry brand identity. I showed them the initial sketches and they did a pretty good job translating it into the designs you see today.
Knowing nothing about the clothing industry — we ended up researching plenty on it — and eventually settled on a manufacturer. It was challenging and interesting, but we dug our teeth right in to it. It was great that we learned so much about figuring out what factors are important in getting a design from paper to product — materials, mockups, and prices.
The tech pack — which is the specs of the clothing (fabric, colours, and measurements) was what we sent to the manufacturer. We sent our designs and paid for samples — which were then sent back to us for inspection. Once we were satisfied — we ended up going with custom printed fabric — a little pricier, as it had a minimum order count, but we had more control over it.
Sara: I noticed that your manufacturer is GOTS-certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) — how did that factor play into your decision of choosing a manufacturer?
Phoebe: GOTS ensures that the manufacturer that we use is both environmentally and ethically certified — which means that their workers were being paid properly and recyclables were properly treated. We didn’t want to be profiting off sweatshops, and the higher cost was worth it.
Sara: Tell me one interesting story about your journey.
Phoebe: Well, the Victory design was meant to have 1-2cm meeples on them — so when we got the sample from the manufacturer — it was much bigger! Literally giant meeples covering the area. Despite that, it still looked really good, albeit loud.
Sara: You mentioned you’re from Melbourne. What is the general feel of the board game community in Melbourne and their reception of your idea?
Phoebe: The board game community in Melbourne is very active — there is a large game design community, along with meetup, prototyping & playtesting groups. PAX AU was also an avenue where designers could showcase their work. Even though it was largely geared towards video games — the board game scene was pretty active there. The Tabletop Designers of Australia, which we are a part of, has a booth there and allows members to rent them for a couple of hours. You’re surrounded by fellow designers and the atmosphere was supportive. As for the congoers, they were really engaged!
Sara: Right now, you only have shirt and skirt designs. What are your plans for expansions in the future — in terms of both designs and patterns?
Phoebe: We’ve gotten plenty of requests for long sleeved shirts, socks, ties, women’s blouses — so we’re looking in that direction. Our latest offering — “madness is coming” is something we’re planning to release in the future.
When we first started out, we didn’t think it would grow this big — and we did contact folks over at D&D and Z-Man with not much luck — so hopefully now we’ll get a chance to. Perhaps even a collaboration with Stonemaier Games — Wingspan’s art is stunning!
I’m eagerly awaiting what will come from LudoCherry’s endeavours — the reception has been fantastic and the Facebook community is awash with support and camaraderie! You may have noticed I did not mention where the clothing would be available once the Kickstarter had ended, Phoebe notes they are planning to sell online as well as possibly brick & mortar stores, depending on the pickup rate.
If you’d like to support them, and are a huge fan of geeky clothing, do consider backing their Kickstarter which will be live until the Thursday of March 26 2020, 8:00 AM AWST (12:00 AM GMT). As for “madness is coming”:— it has been revealed as the stunning Lovecraftian Cthulhu pattern — Madness by Mary Haasdyk — as an unlocked design!
Hopefully in the near future, I’ll be able to bring you an in-depth review of the clothing pieces themselves and its nod to board games. As for now, I’m cheering on the LudoCherry team and hope that they will be able to stitch together an amazing clothing line!