Shop Small: Downcast Apparel 🌎
This month's feature is a little bit different from the previous three. April sees us talking to Darcy Eastwood-Freeman, founder of Downcast Apparel (and who happens to be my husband)!
Now, don't get me wrong, there's no favouritism going on here.
Downcast Apparel deserves to be the pick of the month. In the last four years, the business has taken a copious amount of sweat and tears (thankfully no blood) to get it to where it is today.
A business never stops needing your nurture.
Every achievement is met with another goal.
I've seen Darcy go from strength to strength one week to battling with the dark, demotivated days the next.
But hey, a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor. So with that in mind, don't be discouraged.
Blimey, I haven't even told you what Downcast Apparel is, I've just gone straight into Nicola the motivator!
Downcast Apparel is an eco-friendly clothing brand, inspired by tattoo culture.
No Luck In This Life T-shirt - available to buy here.
Based out of our home in West Sussex, Darcy designs and prints the majority of the stock himself, he is a one-man-band with a whole damn orchestra strapped to his back.
So here he is, the man of the hour...
TAKE IT AWAY MY BELOVED!
Tell us about you.
My name is Darcy Eastwood-Freeman and I’m the founder of Downcast Apparel (along with being the main designer, screen printer and errand boy for the brand).
I’ll be 30 next year [ERM, just interjecting here, HE IS 30 THIS YEAR ]
and I have colourblindness so being a designer/illustrator was obviously the right life choice for me!
I live with my wife, an energetic toddler, an even more energetic dog, and a deaf cat.
What do you do / what do you sell?
Downcast Apparel is an eco-friendly clothing brand inspired by tattoo art and culture.
Most of our designs are designed and printed in house by myself and we sell tees, hoodies, sweaters, vests, shorts and socks etc.
I’m obsessed with drawing traditional style tattoos with a particular focus on anything closely associated with Sailor Jerry, Henk Schiffmacher and Christian Warlich to name a few but I’ve been inspired by all sorts of art and tattoo styles in the past.
How / when did it start?
I came up with the idea for Downcast in 2017 after putting together my portfolio to become a tattoo apprentice.
I was rejected (a lot) and ended up being inspired by some of the bigger ’tattoo inspired’ clothing brands out there.
I wanted to create awesome designs that customers could wear but at the same time, I wanted to build something that was as kind to the planet as possible.
I suppose I was just a bit frustrated at the fact that the vast majority of the newer brands (and larger, more established ones for that matter) that were popping up had a focus on just ’selling stuff’ rather than having a thought for the potential damage they could be doing.
I’m talking about everything from blank garment production to the packaging you decide to use.
What online platforms do you sell from / do you have a physical shop?
We sell primarily through our website but occasionally we do events, markets, tattoo conventions etc.
What are your ambitions, where do you see the business going?
In all seriousness though, the business has grown a hell of a lot in the last year or so.
We’re building an online presence, we now print most of our gear in-house and it looks like the only way is up.
The long term goal is to establish Downcast Apparel as a force in the eco-friendly/alternative fashion industry.
We’ve just started working with an agency back in January and things are looking amazing for the future so we’ll see what happens.
What has been the highlight so far of running your business?
I think there’s been a fair few, to be honest.
I’ll never forget the very first sale as that made the brand official but I think the highlight so far is having the print studio set up.
It means that I can draw something at 9 am and have it printed on a tee by 10. It’s just completely changed the way the brand works in the best possible way.
[Just poking my oar in here. My highlight was seeing a stranger in Brighton wearing one of Downcast's t-shirts. That was pretty damn cool and I felt so immensely proud]
Is there anything else you would like to add or say?
Thank you for letting me word vomit. [You're welcome]
If you could give one piece of advice for anyone looking to start their own business what would it be?
Just do it (Insert that Shia LeBeouf meme here*) and don’t give up if you believe in what you’re doing.
Downcast Apparel was started off the back of rejection and at first, I thought that it wasn’t going to take off BUT it did and if it wasn’t for the rejections and the disappointments, I would never have taken the plunge. Its hard work and time consuming but it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Yet another inspiring story of taking an idea by the guzankers and going for it. 💪
With everything going on right now, there really is no better time to be doing yourself some justice and taking the leap into making your dreams come true.
We only get one life. This ain't no dress rehearsal, this is the FINALE,
SO MAKE EVERY SECOND COUNT.
If you need some help setting up your own business drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can help set up your website, establish an invoicing system, or do some research for you.
Sourcing help needn't be expensive either, I work with you to establish an affordable rate for the tasks you need doing.
Right. Go grab a pen and paper, pour yourself a large wine and start mapping out your plans for world domination.
That's an order.
*I decide the GIFs thank you very much.