T-Squared – Cape Town SA

Observe. Listen. Do. Find the innovation space.

Full Project Video

The project was a part of the GoGlobal module in the Innovation Design Engineering program at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. 12 teams worked with various entrepreneurs throughout the townships in Cape Town, South Africa over 3 weeks.

Our team partnered with TSquared, a clothing brand from Gugulethu, South Africa to see where design innovations could support business growth.

We worked together to understand the brand aesthetic, vision, local business practice, past successes and current obstacles. Our team’s intent was to create immediate increase in performance to the business along with solutions which could be implemented in the near future by the owners.

In early discussions, the TSquared team identified space constraints as a primary obstacle to increasing sales. As we dug further, we saw three opportunities to address the issues affecting their production capacity and sales channels within their current space constraints.

  1. Improve in-shop Experience
  2. Develop Marketing Strategy
  3. Future strategy

Research Methods

Observe, Interview, and Do.

The employees and owners of the T-Squared team are the experts. As we developed a meaningful friendship with team, our knowledge and understanding of the business developed. In turn, we were able to gather meaningful insights and observations.

Insights

  • Identity unclear

  • No fixed, visible product offerings

  • “One-off” sourcing and manufacturing methods

  • Difficulty keeping up with demand spikes

  • Store location has low foot traffic

Co-Design

After insights were gathered, we developed ideas with the team. We quickly realized the constraints and limitations of some of our ideas through the process of discussing potential solutions.

Solutions

In-Store Experience + Brand Values

The original business model allowed customers to ask for any fabric to be chosen for the bespoke clothing that T-Squared was manufacturing. This meant that employees had to go out of their way to search out specific requests. A major reason for this was because the offerings were not on display. By designing an in-store experience which defined T-Squared to customers, and limited customer choice, meant that bulk orders of fabric could be made.

Marketing

Many of the sales that T-Squared was making was by showing their product through a smartphone, in person. While this strategy was working, we designed a system with T-Squared’s input to further facilitate showcasing the quality of the fabrics and craftsmanship that goes into the products they make.

Only after going through the process of making the t-shirts and products ourselves did we realize that T-Squared often had many scraps that they only used as rags. We saw an opportunity to use this waste as quality marketing material.

T-Squared was known for it’s guerilla marketing techniques throughout the township. We developed these concepts to push the concepts of what future marketing strategies might look like for the business.

De-Centralized Manufacturing

The T-Squared team was required to turn down infrequent, large “spike” orders because of limited facilities. We asked ourselves how we might be able to help T-Squared when these infrequent orders come in.

A kit designed to decentralize manufacturing and provide micro-work within the Gugulethu township was proposed. Inside the kit, micro-workers would find a pair of scissors, a pattern template for a piece of garment, fabric, and instructions for cutting the pieces of garments. After all of the patterns were cut, mico-workers would be paid and the pieces would be transported to the T-Squared facility to be manufactured into full garments.

Our intent with this kit was to expand manufacturing capability, employ the community, and maintain quality through decentralized manufacturing.

More thorough testing of this proposition was required. This was discussed with the team as a long term proposition that the T-Squared team might be able to employ in the future.

Impact Evaluation

Because the project intent was to provide not only immediate benefit to the business owners, but also long term benefit, a full impact assessment was completed 6 months after the project was completed.

Each team had a unique challenge, and was assessed in the following report:

Cape Town GoGlobal Impact Evaluation 2016

The Team:

(Daljinder (DJ) Sanghera, Haneifa Khalefy, Kate McCambridge, Tessa Ohm, Raunaq Da Bose)