Vinyl George was set up in 2008. [Founder] Gavin [Wright] left his career in the music business in London. He’d always loved t-shirts and wanted to put his huge vinyl record collection to good use as inspiration to make t-shirts with cool designs and a musical influence. The website has been a labour of love ever since.
One of the designers was a Kiwi living in Canada who Dani found on Etsy and later collaborated on two children’s books with her for an American book publisher. We’d bought an illustration from Annie Smits-Sandano and thought her designs would be amazing on t-shirts and OddOneOut usually does prints onto vintage china, so we thought t-shirts would be a nice showcase for her work. All are lovely people with cool designs so we’ve been really lucky.
We don’t advertise, so people have to find us. Those who have are always pleased they did and we get loads of really friendly, great emails about the t-shirts. It makes all the effort we put into the designs and sourcing quality shirts really worthwhile when people take the time to tell us they’re happy with them.
We met in London working for Richard Branson’s V2 Music record company – there are about six couples now married with kids who met each other working there, must have been something in the water! Gavin was in A&R (basically, signing bands) and Dani was head of press. We both wanted to start new careers so moved back to Dani’s birthplace here in New Zealand. She got into writing and editing and I retrained in graphics and now work as a production artist for Pams food packaging at Foodstuffs. After work, we look after the Vinyl George business and our two young children, who love the fact we can print t-shirts for them in the garage – mostly Lego characters and fairies at the moment!
The name Vinyl George comes from working in record shops in London in the late 80s. We would call each other, and hardcore customers, ‘Vinyl’ before their names. So Dave would become ‘Vinyl Dave’ or ‘Vinyl D’. It’s a reference to anyone who is a vinyl junkie.
We’re very impressed with Mr Vintage. It’s a big company and seems to go from strength to strength while still retaining the small business vibe. If we could emulate their success in some small way we’d very happy indeed!