STNDBY: A Brand For Crew, By Crew

TPi’s Stew Hume chats to the Co-Founders of STNDBY, Tom Campbell and James Murden, about their new venture, STNDBY – a clothing and technology brand designed for production crew.

Despite the variety of jobs within the production industry; from audio to lighting, and rigging to tour management, there are some annoyances that everyone on an event site shares. From tearing your T-shirt with a walkie-talkie clip, to never knowing where you put that damn Sharpie, these are common irritations that production crew will know only too well. It’s a specialised industry that has specific demands on those who work within it, but, up until now, there has never really been a central hub for crew to purchase clothing and equipment developed specifically for those working within the field – that was, until STNDBY was formed.

“We’ve had the idea for STNDBY for two to three years,” reflected Co-Founder, James Murden, who met fellow Co-Founder, Tom Campbell, while working on a theatre production over a decade ago. “It’s probably worth noting that we are also now brothers-in-law,” chuckled Murden, reminiscing how during various family gatherings, both he and Campbell used to talk about the gap in the market for a company that produced clothing designed specifically for the entertainment sector.

“Last Christmas, we thought that we might be the people to make this a reality, due to Tom’s extensive knowledge, experience and contacts within the touring and festival market and my own knowledge in TV and theatre.”

With an unusual wealth of time on their hands, the duo set to work on the project. “With events getting cancelled and postponed, we thought there was no better time to start working on it,” stated Campbell. “We always say that we ‘never have the time’ but with more free time than we ever imagined, we both knuckled down to make STNDBY a reality.”

Having been launched officially on 1 December, there are several products available, from T-shirts with built-in clips for everything from AAA passes to walkie-talkie clips; a baseball cap with an in-built Sharpie holder over the right ear; a rugged power bank that can charge a phone up to five times or even bring a MacBook back to life; all the way to a high-end backpack with an integrated USB port for quick charging and a padded sleeve for your laptop.

“We have a number of USPs,” Campbell smiled, after listing the number of products featured in the first collection as well as some others that are in the pipeline. “What has been incredible is the response from people in various departments, commenting on how they might be able to use some of the features of the clothes.”

He referenced a recent live music shoot he was involved in. “Having the Sharpie holder on the hat was very useful during the day – we even had the makeup department saying how they would use it to put a brush in during a job.”

Although many of the products are universal for all crew people, the STNDBY team have also listened to some of the key issues coming from specific departments. “Take our USB stick,” stated Campbell. “This can hold 64GB of data and has both USB/C and USB, making it really easy to transfer files from your Mac to a lighting desk. It’s even got a micro converter, so if an artist comes to an LD with content on their phone, they can still ensure it gets on the lighting desk.”

In terms of marketing, Murden explained how they hoped to live in two separate sectors – B2B and B2C. “One of our hopes is to work with tours, for example, and provide custom STNDBY apparel, but we’ve also had conversations about providing clothes for potential VIP merch packages.”

STNDBY has also ensured that it is prepared for the fast-paced nature of the entertainment industry by offering a quick service of any customised clothing. “We have a designer and an illustrator locally, who are set up to help any customers with any designs,” stated Murden. “Our turnaround times are very quick and even a large order of around 200 items can be delivered in two weeks.”

Despite the fast turnaround time, the STNDBY team has not allowed speed to affect its determination to ensure all goods are sourced ethically. “We could have gone down a very cheap route, but we wanted to ensure from the beginning that we did everything correctly, so all the factories used are vetted and verified to ensure the best quality products and that those making them are looked after well.”

The duo was also keen to stress that their products had been designed with ruggedness in mind. “We have all been given those cheap shirts that barely make it through a tour,” stated Murden. “STNDBY, on the other hand, is built to last.”

On top of all these measures, STNDBY also wanted to ensure it was giving back to the industry it was supplying, committing that a percentage of proceeds goes to Backup – the technical entertainments charity. “We are already Platinum supporters of the charity, having already made a donation,” stated Murden. “It just seemed that, more than ever, it was important to support those in the industry and people to know that when they buy any of our products, they are also giving back in a small way to crew who have fallen on hard times.”

With the current state of the world, the chances of a physical launch party were always going to be slim, but both Campbell and Murden explained that “as soon as it was legal to do so” they aimed to put on an event so people could get a good look at the product line and everything they have on offer.

Not only that, the duo also hopes to host several pop-up events backstage during festival season, offering crew a place to hang out, perhaps even get a haircut while checking out the STNDBY product line. Until then, the website is up and running with several promo videos and content ready to view.

This article originally appeared in issue #256 of TPi, which you can read here.