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      theth3rdlevel blog

      Our first baby steps into 'real life' retail. The Alton Creatives Emporium.

      Th3rdlevel, now available at PrintyBanana, at the Alton Creatives Emporium

      You may have noticed that here at Th3rdlevel we tend to do things a little differently. And this month has been no different. When most businesses are reeling from the shock of the lockdown and the economic implications it brought with it, and taking steps to move their experience online and away from the High Street. Our path, as always, leads us somewhat sideways and in another direction.

      Starting up our business during the pandemic was unexpected and of course,  challenging in so many ways. We wouldn't recommend it. BUT - on the other hand it did give us opportunities to take our time, to think things through, to begin our journey online where all the other established businesses were suddenly finding themselves suddenly having to switch anyway... and so we find ourselves quite comfortable with our online offering after a year of trading and inspired now to tentatively spread our wings.

      Opportunity dropped into our laps with the offer from Printybanana to take on a share, under their - very supportive - umbrella, at the newly opened AltonEmporium. ( A Town Council lead initiative to breathe life back into the high Street by supporting small local business with rolling and shared rental agreements) 

      And so we find ourselves, one short month later, with our spring range sat nestled into the shelves and rails of the gloriously brilliant Alton Emporium and the next stage of our adventure begins! The young adults with disabilities we work with will now have even more  opportunities to experience working within a retail environment and we are delighted to now have the potential to be able to safely offer this as part of our mentoring program.

      You can find Th3rdLevel at The PrintyBanana. Part of the Alton Emporium on the Market Square in Alton, Hampshire and will be welcomed by huge grins should you happen to pop in and say hello. 

      With a brand new #Skatepark recently finished in Alton and a team of dedicated and enthusiastic people encouraging us all the way - we think our latest ranges of #ethical #Streetwear and #Skatewear will fit very nicely in the town and will help to breathe life and vigour  back into a depleted area of retail. 

      As ever, we massively appreciate your custom and your support! 

       

      Lockdown logistics - Launching a spring range in a pandemic

      Lockdown logistics - Launching a spring range in a  pandemic

      Our first launch range sold well. We had dared to breathe a small sigh of relief. We'd done it! We'd launched a new company. Everyone seemed to like us. We were selling things and we were creating things and our team of young adults with disabilities were embarking on their exciting new roles, learning new skills and training in a real life work environment. We had found a way of planting trees for every order to help keep our customers carbon neutral! All was goooood. 

      And then... life went weird. A global pandemic was certainly not included in our business plans or projections and we were somewhat befuddled as to what to do. 

      Several months in. Despite the odds. We have just launched our second range. We found, unlike so many other small businesses, that because we were already fully online, we could carry on, albeit through gritted teeth and not necessarily as we would have planned it. But where there is a will there does seem to be a way. (Typed with fingers very firmly crossed, so excuse any mistakes!) 

      During lockdown, many of the young adults we work with from Post19 have been staying at home and working via Zoom, and even those few coming into base have been keeping in strict 'bubbles' based on those they live with, which has worked wonderfully to keep them safe, but has meant the majority of our team's involvement with TheTh3rdlevel has been put on hold and the few team members who are still working with us are mostly distance learning and working from home, with an occasional visit for those who really struggle with the 'new normal'.

      A Spring range then was a huge deal, and became a collaboration between our brilliant team of mentors, who sourced ethical, sustainable garments and have been concentrating on building up a network of like minded, ethical suppliers. Our wonderful local screen printer, who has been very patient with us and always works flexible hours to accomodate us. Our young adults consulted with us on our product choices and shifted their focus towards working tirelessly during our online Design sessions to come up with artwork for the whole range. They were amazing and we are super proud of everyone's design work. Go team! 

      Photoshoots have been a logistical challenge to say the least, but we think we cracked it! Luckily we have a very large empty industrial building at our disposal temporarily which meant we could create a safely distanced photo set.  Very few people were allowed on set, meaning everyone multi tasked, (whilst freezing because we needed to keep windows and doors open so that everywhere was well ventilated) Our photographers were part of our team bubble and all Staff continued to wear their PPE and kept  distance. Our wonderful volunteer models, who worked in shifts of their own bubbles, with a thorough deep clean in between, did a valiant job despite never having modelled before and being begged to participate at short notice purely due to their being in a bubble with one of our team! We are so grateful to everyone who helped. We simply could not have launched our products without your help.

      Our only two available TheTh3rdlevel models, Alex D and Alex V, behaved like true professionals and showed the rest of us the way to do it - wearing their masks when they needed to and only removing them when 2 m away from everyone else, in front of the camera. We are so proud of how they have adjusted to such radical changes and stayed focused and motivated throughout. 

      Onwards and upwards TheTh3rdlevellers! 

      Do check out our new range here:

      www.theth3rdlevel.com

      This week's blog post is written by Katie, our Creative Director. 

      Special Thanks to Jacob, Josh, Aleck, Charlotte, Joe, Flo & Ruby for giving up their weekend and helping us on our latest shoot. You are wonderful!  x

       

      Telling the world about us!

      Telling the world about us!
      A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to feature in an article in the Saturday Guardian newspaper, in their 'Green and ethical Checklist' section. As our first piece of 'real life' media promotion, the pressure was on to make it count and to tell the world about us!

      Read more

      Our First Ever Photoshoot

      Our First Ever Photoshoot

      The learning curve in setting up TheTh3rdLevel has been steep. Including setting up and running our first ever Photoshoot, but if you're going to learn a whole new business, there cant be anymore of a fun way of doing it that with our amazing team and an empty warehouse...

      We are lucky enough to have lovely friends who were willing to help out. Rachel Meyrick, an award winning editor, director and documentary maker offered to help us by shooting our video and helping us out with the loan of both kit and experience.

      Claire Lewis, a fantastic photographer, over from Moscow for a few days did the same, squeezing us into her busy schedule and became our chief Fashion photographer for the day. Both were AMAZING and have made the world of difference to our start up. We are so grateful for their involvement.

      Models were certainly not hard to come by as we offered the opportunity to be involved to our Post19 young adults and we had a queue of people coming in throughout the day to have some fun, do some dancing and show off their supermodel skills. 

      It was a pretty exhausting day for the whole team, but we were kept forttified with pizza and good vibes.

      Well done everyone. Good times!