If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, you might want to send some appreciation in the direction of Kimberly Edwards and James Innes – the Wellington based couple behind Tumbleweed Tees. For the last six years, this dynamic duo have been building a business that pays homage to the land they love; with beautifully designed clothing that supports conservation around NZ.
Kimberly and James met in high school, but reconnected years later studying biology at University. With a shared love and understanding of the natural world, the couple soon found themselves chasing adventure overseas – volunteering in the jungles of Borneo and working in the Natural History Museum in London. On their return home, they decided to combine their skills and start a silk screen printing operation – using their intricate drawings as t-shirt designs. With Kimberly’s parents on board to help with the initial designs and set up, it was time to track down a studio – and as luck would have it, a modified shipping container in Days Bay fitted the bill. From there, the duo started out by selling their wares at community markets – and after a couple of busy summers, it became pretty clear to everyone that they were onto something great.
Fast forward six years, and Tumbleweed Tees has become a full time operation, with a range of clothing and products stocked online and in stores around New Zealand. For Kimberly and James, Tumbleweed Tees has always been a place where nature meets creativity – Kimberly’s beautiful designs calling to mind scientific illustrations of the past. Right from the beginning, the project was also an opportunity to support the causes they care about, with five dollars from each T-shirt sold going towards a selection of conservation groups around New Zealand.
As far as the creative process goes; each design begins with a combination of research, exploring, taking pictures and sketching. Once there is an concept in mind, Kimberly fine tunes it – both sketching and final inking on a Wacom Cintq drawing tablet. The final drawing is transferred onto the silk screen, and from there the T-shirts can be printed. Kimberly reckons mornings are best for creative work – leaving the rest of the day free for emails, printing, coffee and swims!
Words by Chessie Henry & Images by Supplied