March marks the one year anniversary of the original d-ring and strap bandana™, a unique and favorite spin on the traditional bandana, an R+R original! We designed our signature d-ring and strap bandana with the help of textile expert, Jaclyn Tejeda of Black Market Sew. Read on to learn about our journey to creating our favorite bandana.
In the beginning...
Before the days of R+R, I just wasn't happy with traditional tie-on bandanas; the fabric would bunch, Ripley and Rue's hair would get stuck in the knot, it was bulky around their neck. I knew there had to be a better way. Thus my idea for R+R and a better bandana product was born. A few months prior to launching our store, I started testing patterns on how to make the traditional bandana a better product. Our very first closure I came up with back in April 2016 was actually twill straps, a shoe-string like way to tie-on the bandana. This definitely helped combat the bulkiness around the neck, was easy to tie, and was a hit when we launched our store. But after time and customer feedback, the straps would fray and didn't hold up well in the wash. So I went back to the drawing board.
The twill straps on our very first bandanas (Aug 2016) are shown below. We've come a long way! lol
We grew, a lot!
Our first holiday season in December 2016 was a crazy, stressful, and successful ride! Working on orders around the clock, not sleeping. I knew that I couldn't handle these orders on my own any longer and had to start looking for someone to help me sew. I reached out to my networking connections and was introduced to Jaclyn Tejeda, a local womenprenuer and fashion and textile professor. She was my saving grace. Jackie started helping me with orders in January 2017 and has been my main sewist and product advisor since. Immediately Jackie was able to help with tweaking small things like the shape of the bandana, the move to higher quality fabrics and also the placement of my label. Together, we started brainstorming on a better closure of the bandana and how to make our product perfect.
Ripley meeting Jackie for the first time in her sew studio in Lincoln, NE.
The D-ring was born
Our first idea was to add collar webbing to replace the twill straps to make it a more sturdy product and hold up to normal wear and tear, and of course the wash machine, but we were stuck on how to connect the straps. The obvious answer would have been to add collar hardware to the straps, but I hated the look of plastic connecters. We are a boutique after-all and the plastic was more of a rugged/adventure look that just wasn't me or my brand.
I was actually doing laundry a few weeks later and picked up my husband's d-ring belt. The light bulb sparked. I took my idea to Jackie and we started ordering samples of different sizes and thicknesses of both the nylon webbing and d-rings, and testing them on the bandanas. We launched the first d-ring bandana in March 2017, but like most new product development, it was still a little different than the bandana we have today.
See the picture below. The first d-ring bandana in March 2017
The R+R customers raved about the new unique closure; How it was easy to put on, the bandana laid flat on the chest and held up amazing in the wash machine. However, after two months in and more customer feedback, we arrived at the conclusion that the webbing was still a little thick and too heavy, which cause the bandana to fall off periodically. Feeling a little defeated, we decided to persist and tested a lighter weight nylon and smaller nylon. The new combination seemed to test well and we relaunched the d-ring with the new advancements. The feedback this time was fantastic!
People thought of more reasons on why they loved the new closure that we didn't event think of. Like that it's easy to slip-on and you never have to re-adjust or re-close the d-ring. We also found that closing the d-ring on the opposite side of the desired side to be worn was an easy fix for the overhanging strap, thus creating an even cleaner closure. The bandana stays on all day whether it be a hike or play session. The bandana lays nice and flat in front, for the perfect photo opp. We now even see other shop owners "borrowing" our design because, let's face it, it's pretty amazing ;)
We also now offer a tie-on option to those that like the simplicity of a tie-on, but do hope you try the d-ring and love it as much as we do!
Shop all of our new designs at RipleyandRue.com