Back in the October half term holidays, we had only just made our ferry to the Isle of Wight.  We weren’t late into Southampton, quite the opposite, but a trip to McDonald’s and then to Asda via some bizarre not-so-scenic route had ensured an in-car tiff between Mr TDF and I, and many a clenched jaw as we inched down the road back to the ferry terminal. Once we boarded, we then had to haul two grumpy and hungry small things up a gazillion flights of stairs where at the top we discovered that every seat and every other conceivable surface already had a bottom planted on it.  Loitering at the front of the lounge area I heard my mobile ringing.  It was the holiday park asking if we’re still coming.  Sigh.  During the phone call, Mr TDF had whisked the kids off to the toilet or somewhere.  Or at least I hoped he had…

Killing time, I checked my emails and there was a tie-dye enquiry from a woman asking about ordering a number of tee shirts.  She was really lovely but incredibly particular.  We emailed back and forth during the ferry journey, but then I didn’t hear anything else from her, and I put it to the back of my mind. 

A couple of weeks later the lady got back in touch, placing an order.  When I directed her towards a payment method she said that I would need to invoice them, and she would send me the details.  An email came through later with a BBC address attached! *Gasp*  The tee shirts we dyed and posted, and as a few days passed without feedback my heart dropped a bit, they obviously didn’t like them and had decided not to use them.  But then another more urgent email arrived.  They loved the tees and needed four more different ones, urgently.  On receipt of the blank tee shirts from my wholesaler I turned the order around and had it at the post office in four hours; a turnaround so quick that it involved the microwave to speed up the dye fixing process!

Confirming the order had been sent, I tentatively asked what they were going to be used for.  The new Gary Barlow show she replied.  EEP!  After a bit of googling, I learned that the BBC was having a prime time, Saturday night show searching for young men to be stars in a west end show featuring the music of Take That.  I had been asked not to say anything on social media until after it had been aired, so I kept my excitement under my hat.

When the show started I watched eagerly but didn’t glimpse any tie-dye.  As the weeks passed, I kept an eager eye open, but last night’s show started early.  Mr TDF and I had had a rough day with the kids.  They were tired and emotional, giddy and silly.  I had poured myself a glass of wine which I ended up wearing because my smallest thing was treating me as a climbing frame. After we put them to bed at 7, Mr TDF and I went downstairs, ordered a takeaway and poured more wine that I hoped I would get to actually drink.  I realised that ‘Let It Shine’ had already started, but I decided to watch from the beginning.  After a few minutes of watching I had a feeling that this could be the night. Panicking somewhat I put the TV on ‘real time’ and bumbled a Facebook live video telling friends and my page likers to tune into the programme.

Our take away turned up, but my plate went cold as I had about four minutes to prepare a strategy for getting as many people as possible to see my tee shirts on TV as possible.  Fuelled by wine and adrenaline I decided to Facebook live the whole thing.  Those seven and a half minutes were filled with me blabbering on, sipping confidence building wine, while an amused Mr TDF chortled in the background.  It was better than I could have hoped for – my tees were being worn in a number with The Kaiser Cheifs, and exposed during their song ‘I Predict A Riot’.  With Ricky Wilson fronting the band looking particularly lovely, the 8 lads sang and danced their hearts out.  The tee shirts looked great, and as I watched (albeit through my phone whilst on Facebook) I felt such pride.

It really warms my heart that a massive corporation like the BBC would seek out a tiny home-grown small business like To Dye For to provide clothes for a flagship programme.  To most people watching my tee shirts won’t have crossed their mind, but seeing them being worn makes everything feel worthwhile. So I’ve had my 15 minutes of fame now, and I couldn’t be happier.  Nothing will change, I was still back at the dyeing table this morning, but there was a sparkle of pride there – I was on the telly!  Kind of.