How MAESTRO came to be

by Ebun Olaloye | | 0 comments

Ebun designs MAESTRO

MAESTRO began three years ago on a Friday night in Seattle.   I was fresh out of college, living in a new city and eager to take LBF to the next level.  I hadn't yet made friends so I spent that night watching a live stream of the first Made in America festival and sketching.  I drew mostly t-shirts, one of which became the Pitch Classic from the LBF is Forever collection.  I also drew a pair of pants which was the blueprint to moving LBF towards functional apparel.

MAESTRO pant sketch

Fast forward to 2014.  We were six collections deep, had been featured in Forbes, Sports Illustrated, and had dozens of professional footballers wearing our gear.  But creatively, I knew we had to step things up.  We could only put graphics on a tee for so long.  One day while sketching ideas, I drew a jacket with a face mask and collapsable hood.  Oh crap! I thought to myself.  It was so striking. So different.  It was one of those moments every designer hopes for: when you stumble on something that just works.  The collapsable hood is gone in the final version of the MAESTRO jacket, but everything else is pretty much there from the original sketch.  The offset zipper, the face mask, the laser perforations, the thumb holes.  

I was ecstatic, but nervous: I didn't know anything about garment construction and hadn't worked with a factory before.  But being an entrepreneur is one long problem-solving journey.  This was another challenge I was ready to figure out.  Luckily, my first friend in Seattle was a designer at a sportswear company and was willing to help.  For six months we iterated, changing features, the fit, the fabric selection and scope of MAESTRO (p.s. it wasn't called MAESTRO at the time; that came much later.) 

Now it was time to find a factory to make samples.  Another lucky break.  One of our partners knew someone who knew someone who owned a factory.  Let's give it a shot.  We sent over our tech packs and they sent us a sample.  Everything about it was wrong, but it was our fault.  My inexperience cost us a sample, but I was so excited I wore them everywhere.  Lime green drawcord and all. 

MAESTRO pant sample 1

 Over the next eight months we perfected the samples, selected the right materials and got production-ready products.  The hardest part was done.  Then in January of this year I looked at the products and decided that we had to redesign our packaging from the ground up.  I spent a few weeks creating two simple boxes that would house the jacket and pants along with a heat-stamped envelope.  Top drawer packaging for top drawer products.  

We finally had products we were proud of and couldn't wait to share with the world! There was one problem: we didn't have the money to cover such a huge manufacturing run.  For a while we spun our wheels chasing after investors.  Then one day we came to our senses: LBF was made possible because of the support of an engaged community of people.   Our push to the next level would be possible with the support of the same group of people.  Thus, Kickstarter.  We felt that if we asked for help, the LBF Squad and soccer community as a whole would back us! And with over $14K raised in just one week, the support has been immense.  We're almost 60% funded, but there's still a long way to go.  If you've already backed MAESTRO, thank you!! If not, please head over to Kickstarter right now and pledge your support.  It would mean the world to us.

- Ebun.

Tags: functional apparel, maestro, philadelphia, philly, seattle