It all started with an urge to follow our passions and a dream to change our future.
Dream, Believe, Achieve
Rich always had a big interest in clothes and his creative brain was forever spotting things around him that would be good designs for tees - from graffiti on a bus shelter to an interesting drain cover. However, somehow, he found himself leaving school and working as a plumber.
As for me, I had tried loads of different jobs, from accountancy to sales, and really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Eventually I settled, teaching English to international students. This was a job that fulfilled my desires to travel and meet friends from all around the world. A job that I loved for many years.
But, after having our second daughter, we started to have an urge to change our work life balance. We dreamt of having more family time and more freedom to plan our days. It was our dream to have our own business. We just needed to believe that we could do it.
For as long as he could remember (since ‘Year Dot’), Rich had dreamt of doing something more creative, especially with clothes. So, he started looking into screen printing. The more he researched it, the more he believed he could do it. Before long he had built screens, drawn designs and turned the spare room at home into a micro print factory. The result was new t-shirts and loads of ink on the carpet.
When friends and family started wanting his designs, we started to believe that we might be able to achieve our dream – to start a family business.
The brand name came to us quite easily – this was something we’d wanted to do since year dot. It felt right. From that, came lots of sketches to create a logo, starting with our square logo and then our iconic Y. logo. Little did we know at the time that the Y. would go on to be our signature, best-selling design.
Year Dot was born. It was exciting times and we didn’t really know what would happen next.
Highs & lows
When you start something in your spare room at home and build it up together, it’s a bit hard to let go, but we knew we couldn’t grow unless we got support, looked for a factory and had a website. Just at the right moment, two very good friends of ours came on board to help with skills we needed and investment. With their help, we started working on a larger scale.
We opened a Christmas pop-up in our hometown of Scarborough and were so blown away with the response, we decided to open up our York store. Again, the response was amazing. The shop was buzzing. Weekends were party times with instore DJs and drinks, and we loved meeting our customers face to face. Influencers were wearing our stuff, especially those within the music industry, which we loved as music is one of our passions.
To finish that amazing year of growth, we landed a large order from River Island. Even then, we still got surprised when we saw strangers wearing our stuff. We’d be at the airport and the kids would shout ‘Look someone’s wearing Year Dot!’ (they still do this!).
Then, Covid happened.
I think Covid lockdowns gave lots of us a new perspective on life. As bad as it was, it gave us chance to slow down and reflect – to get back in tune with our values.
Year Dot has come full circle. Time out made us realise we’d ended up back at square one with a work-life balance that wasn’t quite right for us. We prefer a slower pace on a smaller scale – mass production for wholesale doesn’t suit us. We like to produce less than 100 of a design, knowing that our customers want something different than what the masses are wearing. Now all Year Dot garments are hand-finished here in the UK, not far from where we live.
So, why such a long about us story you might ask?
We never knew our destination (we’re not even sure now!) but we’ve enjoyed most of the journey we’ve been on. We hope to inspire you to follow your dreams and achieve goals that make you feel good. You might have something you’ve wanted to do since year dot. Believe in yourself, you can do those things you’ve always wanted to do. This is Year Dot. Enjoy the journey.
Sarah, Rich and our girls