Bumps to Boat Race

When working in a small company, noting milestones is important.  Watching Pembroke College Boat Club row past at last year’s lent bumps was a proud moment for our team; our first Cambridge University college boat club kit on the water. Just 12 months later it was the iconic light blue racing kit of the Cambridge University lightweight men’s and women’s crews in the Lightweight Boat Races.

These key moments not only signpost our growth as a company, but also our support of the UK rowing community by supplying RS kit to rowers at all levels of competition.

While both clubs represent important milestones in Five57’s journey, they also serve as great examples of our two primary options for placing your club kit order: iTeams and Bulk Orders. Read on to learn how each option works, and which option may best suit your club.

Pembroke College: iTeams

The guys at Pembroke College reached out to us directly.

Like many clubs approaching the start of a new season, the committee were considering their options for club kit, and eyeing the seemingly daunting task of switching to a new supplier. Happily, we were able to quickly show that the switch couldn’t be easier.

An important first step for any new club is a samples meeting.

We took examples of our most popular products to the club, as well as some more unique items (fully-sublimated Sports Bras proved to be a particular hit with Pembroke!). A samples meeting is a great opportunity to discuss your kit requirements in person, and for clubs to get their hands on RS kit for the first time.

With the club now familiar with the quality of RS kit, the next step was design!

Working with the talented graphic designers at RS, we are able to offer bold newPembroke College rowers in their team kit designs for clubs who may be looking to update their look, or, carefully match new designs to members’ existing kit. Multiple versions of mocks can be drawn up, with designs altered based on your feedback, until the new designs are just right!

The new Pembroke designs were quickly finalised, and they looked great!

Once the designs had been agreed by the committee, we set up Pembroke’s individual iTeams store on our website. 

It only took Pembroke College 1 week from initial designs to opening their iTeams window and placing orders! 

The iTeams store allows for the club to circulate a password bespoke to the members of the club ensuring only club members can order club kit.  We help clubs get the message out to members by providing a simple set of login instructions to include in a club newsletter or to circulate electronically. 

Then it’s time to shop! 

Once logged in, members will see all the designs and descriptions of the products chosen by the club.  They can select what products they wish to purchase, chose their own size (having referred to our comprehensive size guide), and make a payment to complete their purchase.  Just like any other online shopping experience, our system is totally secure and complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.

Normally our kit windows remain open for 2-3 weeks, but some clubs, like Pembroke College, organise their rowers to get this job done and dusted in a shorter time and keep a close eye on orders coming in to make sure those members who need it, get a quick nudge so they don’t miss the deadline.

There is no need for committee members to collate kit requests, sizes, or money – all this is handled by the online store and the kit secretary gets a tally of orders a few days before the window is due to close.

For Pembroke, all the orders were collated, final production designs were agreed and production began within 3 weeks of the initial mocks – speedy indeed!

7 weeks later we delivered all the Pembroke orders to their Kit Secretary at the Boathouse.  All orders are individually packed with packing slips identifying who the kit bundle is for, so distribution couldn’t be easier.

Cambridge University Lightweight Rowing Club (CULRC): Bulk Order

That same year we were asked to design some training camp kit for the Cambridge University lightweight rowers.

Their racing kit was provided by another supplier so they were after something using the Cambridge blue but being a bit more adventurous! 

Working with the design team at RS, we created a selection of design options for the club to consider.  As they were wanting this for

Cambridge University Lightweight rowers in their training camp kit

 a training camp, they wanted to place a bulk order with us to have the kit turned around as quickly as possible. 

While they were finalising the designs they were also collecting the numbers and sizes of kit to order.

CULRC chose a chessboard unisuit and leggings which looked very cool out on the water! 

The design was in keeping with the club colours and gave a lightweight, high performance unisuit for the team to train in.  We spotted some of this kit on the water at BUCS 2019 too!


Cambridge University Lightweight Rowing Club (CULRC): Boat Race Kit

At the start of the 2019/20 season.  We were approached about supplying the Cambridge Lightweight men’s and women’s teams with their racing kit for the 2020 Lightweight Boat Race.

Having already done the training kit we had all the necessary logos and colour pantones.  The kit designs were agreed very quickly to match the existing blue boat designs over both the mens and womens teams.  The club knew who had been selected for each seat and so pulling together a bulk order was the quickest way forward. 

CULRC 2020 Team at weigh-inThose athletes who had been identified as spares received their own bespoke designed unisuit. 

On the day of the Boat Race, CULRC did a takeover of our Instagram story – visit our Instagram highlights and take a look to see some great behind the scenes insights into their day.

We were delighted to have the RS logo on the racing kit at such a prestigious event.

You might not have known these unisuits were supplied by RS.  Our distinctive RS logo could be found between the shoulders of each athlete – our very own little piece of Five57 magic!

So whether you are looking at Bumps or Boat Races, come and talk to us about how we can help you make supplying your club kit easier. Your colours. Your kit. Your way.