Recently I have been asked why I started Smadug, and what does ‘Smadug’ mean, so I decided to write about it. Here goes, I hope you enjoy!

Since I can remember I have had a passion for t-shirts and I have always had a dream of one day having my own t-shirt brand, but a dream it always was. I didn’t take it too seriously, it was one of those ‘I’d love to do that’ but not really meaning it 100%. Also, the fashion industry is so saturated with talented designers that I just couldn’t compete.

One day I quit my 9 to 5 graphic design job and left bonnie Scotland to see the world. I was galavanting around for nearly 3 years. In this time I started to feel more patriotic and wanted to learn more about my home country. I would feel embarrassed when people from other countries knew more than me. It’s crazy to think back on how little I knew about home and how little I had travelled in my own country.

When I returned back to Scotland I was only here for a few weeks before moving to the mediterranean. I was there for 2 years, but visited home frequently. I moved back to Scotland at the end of 2012.

It was in the med that the idea came to me. I found it so hard to bring Scottish gifts to my friends abroad. I wanted something different, something that was Scottish that they would appreciate. I was sick of seeing the cheap scottish “nessie” or “Scotland the Brave” tees at the airport. There were no high quality tees that people would actually wear that didn’t feel like a souvenir. I was getting frustrated!

So Smadug was born. I wanted a Scottish name that didn’t really mean anything. I wanted it to be easy to remember and different. The domain name had to be free too! So I made up Smadug. Sma for small and Dug for dog and put them together and that was it!

Now was the hard part. Finding a high quality, fashion cut manufacture that was fair trade! After a lot of research and buying samples, American Apparel won! If you know that brand you know you are getting a great product! Worth their high price tag.

I decided to find Scottish things that I could make visual on a tee. This is the fun part. I loved reading about  history, people, places, inventions… times have changed from my schooldays, I tell you!

Once the research was complete and the ideas drawn and vectorised it was time to find someone to help me hand screen print the designs onto the tees! I felt hand screen printing is the way to go. You can’t beat a good old fashioned hand screen printed tee! It’s an art in itself!

Lucky for me I struck gold with Lloyd at Cotton Screen Printers in Aberdeen. He was amazing. Educating me on the trade. Being so patient mixing the inks to get it just right! Even experimenting with thinners so the ink won’t crack when it’s dry and washed a few times. I just wish i found him sooner!

Now I had a high quality tee with high quality print! Just a few finishing touches to make it more appealing as a gift!

The Smadug label is sewn on above the American Apparel label. I wanted to brand my work so people know it’s a Smadug tee but also kept the American Apparel label so you know it’s a well made tee that you are getting. There is a small tag at the bottom left of each tee with the Smadug logo. A nice wee touch.

I felt I wanted to share the inspiration of each design with the buyer of the tee. So individual labels are added with the ‘story’ behind each design. And to finish off, the tees are rolled up with a size wrap wrapped around to package them up easily.

I hope you get as much enjoyment out of them as I did making them.

Thanks for reading.

- Sharon