Look out! Grandmas gone ROGUE!

When I bought my first RadGram scarf, I was sitting on Mae Rote’s tile floor looking through the stockpile the grandmas had made to sell on the website. At this point, we’d been working with the grandmas for months and I was ashamed to say that I didn’t own a scarf yet. I preemptively decided to get one of the staple designs - natural cotton with dark grey stripes - and was determined to not leave the village empty handed. When we started creating the website, we took pictures of some of the grandmas’ scarves and asked for specific quantities of each design. However, as we looked through Mae Rote’s inventory, we started to see that not all the scarves were the designs we had asked for. In fact, some scarves were bright pink with robin’s egg blue stripes, others were plaid, and some were even bright green. Other grandmas kept arriving with more scarves to show us; some of the designs fit our bill and others were clearly weaved with unrestrained imagination.

At first, these wild designs caused us anxiety. How could we offer customers set scarf styles on the website if we didn’t know what we were getting? Some of the scarves were only a little different from the original designs, but many others seemed totally crazy. The grandmas had gone rogue!

While we talked amongst ourselves about what to do with all of these unexpected creations, a rebellious flash of teal caught my eye. Before me was a small stack of teal and burgundy striped scarves. I’m a sucker for anything teal or turquoise and before I knew it, I was trying one on. As soon as the scarf was around my neck, I knew that I had found the perfect RadGram for me; all  aspirations of buying a grey striped scarf were out the window. Katie, Becky, and Mariko agreed that it was a gorgeous color combination and encouraged me to buy it. In fact, in no time we were all trying on different “rogue” scarves and couldn’t decide which ones we liked the most - they were all so beautiful.

 Team members Zoe and Mariko rocking rogues at the summit of Mount Rinjani in Indonesia. 

Team members Zoe and Mariko rocking rogues at the summit of Mount Rinjani in Indonesia. 

That afternoon, we realized that rogue scarves are nothing to be afraid of. On the contrary, we wagered that others would be just as drawn to their punchy colors and patterns as we were. It was also clear to us that the grandmas had a lot of fun making them. Every time we unfolded a new design, a different grandma proudly told us that it was her unique creation.

Each time we made the trip to Na Nong Bong to pick up scarves, we found ourselves wanting to include more and more of the surprise colors and patterns that grandmas had dreamed up. It’s also pretty much impossible to say no to the radical grandmas, so even though we were worried about the rogue scarves not selling, we bought them anyways. We loved them and so did the grandmas.

A few months ago, I was in Los Angeles right before our website launch. I was showing the RadGram inventory to some friends I was staying with, and one asked me if I had anything with bright colors. I was pleased to tell him that we had a small selection of rogue options. My friends were thrilled by the idea of grandmas going wild at the loom. “Show me the rogue-est of the rogue!” he exclaimed. Now when we place orders, Becky still shows the grandmas pictures of the designs we want, but she also tells them to “go rogue on some.” The grandmas are creative and feisty and that is one the great strengths of RadGram. Instead of fretting over the rogue creations, we now encourage them. After all, grandmas are grandmas - they do whatever they want!

 Boys can be radical in rogue too. 

Boys can be radical in rogue too. 

Starting this week the Rouge Collection is available for purchase on our website. Each scarf is one of a kind, so if you see one that calls to you, make sure you buy it before it’s gone! We can’t predict what Rogue patterns and colors we’ll feature in the future - we’re at the whim of the grandmas’ creative minds and nimble hands. However, we’re confident that whatever comes next will surely be radical.


 

Zoe Swartz