gosshawk is a real family run business. We all have a passion for mountain biking and hiking and it's all about the trails. The favourite local ones that we blast around after work. The trails that we know every twist, every turn, every tree root and boulder of and can max out on and the trails that we explore further afield which hold excitement, surprises, new challenges, different views.
There are riders, hikers and climbers all over the world passionate about their favourite trails and about trying new ones, all trying to master the environment they are exploring. We want to put your favourite trails on a t-shirt so you can shout it loud and proud and share it with the world and we want the t-shirt to be the best it can be in terms of quality, comfort and longevity. We have set the bar high on this.
How did the journey start? Well if you really want to find out, get the coffee on and read on.....
I was out on a ride on the South Downs. I was on a lovely trail that ran between two hills, riding on a slippery, chalky path which was proving challenging to negotiate at speed, but great fun. Although I was concentrating hard I picked up in my peripheral vision something moving fast, dropping out of the sky like an arrow and it made me slow and then stop to watch. It was a buzzard and in fact there was a pair of them hunting on the hills. As well as mountain biking, I am passionate about birds of prey, they are the perfect example of power, speed and agility. Perfectly evolved for their environment, stunningly beautiful creatures. I watched the two birds as they demonstrated their command of the hills and the countryside. I watched them master their environment, something I was trying to do on my mountain bike. It was this moment that inspired my idea.
One of my favourite birds of prey is the goshawk. Its agility and speed through the woods is astonishing and the woodland is an environment that I love trying to master on my bike ...so (with a small intentional change in the spelling) came the name 'gosshawk'.
As a mountain biker, it's all about the trails. From our favourite local trails that we blast around after work, that we know every twist, every turn, every tree root and boulder and confidently max out on, to the ones that we explore further afield, which hold excitement, new challenges and different views. I wanted to wear my favourite trails on a t-shirt, show people where I ride, share the love and I wanted to make the t-shirt myself, from start to finish... and it had to be good. really good!
It was tricky, I've got to be honest. Finding the right blank shirt was harder than we thought it would be. Finding the right printing process was even harder. Our idea had grown into wanting to put people’s favourite trail names from all over the world onto t-shirts, which meant customised artwork - including just ‘one off tees’. This can't be done by the normal silk screen printing process because that is all about large quantities, a minimum 50 run...but hey, Viktor from Iceland wants his own personal trail name that maybe no one else ever rides, on a t-shirt. We want to make that for him but really don't want 49 of them in left in stock in a box in the garage (which inevitably will end up being the cloth used on bike cleaning day!).
Then followed a year of t-shirt samples arriving on the doorstep, testing short run printing techniques, dabbling (frustratingly) with outsourcing the print, much tea drinking, note scribbling and head scratching. If we wanted to be able to print ‘one offs’ ourselves, we wanted to use the best possible, top quality process.
We tested direct to garment printing extensively, but printing this way onto dark garments means chemically treating the shirt so that the ink will adhere properly. You then have to lay down a white base for the colour to sit on, which makes for heavy ink coverage. The chemical treatment leaves a residue that although washes out, looks awful before you do. How can I tell the customer, 'Hey don't worry, it will look great once you've washed it'? That just doesn't fit with our passion for making a great product...and first impressions really are so important.
Then we tested heat transfer vinyl and found high end, ultra thin, soft hand textile vinyl that feels no different from a silk screen surface or a direct to garment print. So, we tested and tested and found it so brilliant that we bought a machine! Three months later we had the whole process perfected. We found this printing method to be vibrant and robust. It stretches with the fabric and doesn't crack. It is so very thin and feels part of the garment. We have washed and washed and then washed some more and the print is as good as when it first went on. We felt happy that it was ready to sell and confident the customers would be happy too. We were, finally, ready!
gosshawk is family run. Everyone is involved. We all have a passion to ride and hike and within the family we have trail gurus, t-shirt testers and critics, photo models and word of mouth marketers. Kate is wife, business partner and mum (while sewing woven labels on sleeves and keeping the paperwork in an orderly fashion...much to my relief!) and me... Steve, husband, dad, creator and maker of t-shirts.
..and so there you have gosshawk. Combining my love of just being out there on my bike, enjoying the complete freedom of being in the woods, on the hills and in the countryside with my passion to create a brand of clothing that connects with that. I love the trails on the South Downs, this is my local mountain bike 'playground'. gosshawk is all about connecting with the local trails that you love to ride, wherever it is in the world and wearing that trail on some rather cool clothing.
Welcome to gosshawk.