Our blog is moving!

You’ll notice this blog has been quite inactive recently – that’s because we’ve moved to the main website to make us easier to find. We’re not quite ready yet but plan to post much more regularly in the near future! We have a lot more fans now and there’s a lot to talk about our story :-)

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The working conditions of Radical Elves

…are, needless to say, excellent for all working at RTC: the elves get the living wage and mince pies on demand. And they certainly deserve it: they’ve been extremely busy this Christmas, not only packing orders at lightning speed, but coming up with a few last-minute stocking fillers for those with nostalgia for the fights for democracy and female suffrage!

With only weeks to go before Christmas, we launched a March of the Women fridge magnet, and tea towel designs for Emmeline Pankhurst and Rosa Luxemburg. This was following feedback from our customers that we needed more women among our collection of famous figures. In the past week we’ve expanded the collection further, honouring the Chartist movement of the mid-19th century with two tea towel designs.

Our designs have proven extremely popular among a large crowd of Facebook and Twitter followers, and we’ve enjoyed spreading the messages on our tea towels throughout 2012. It was particularly satisfying to hear from a university lecturer via Twitter that she hung some of our tea towels on the wall in her office, and that this regularly prompted debate among her students. It’s challenging people to think, and bringing together people with shared ideas across the country, that motivated us to first start out in Autumn 2011. It’s been a fun ride and we look forward to an eventful 2013!

Below: March of the Women fridge magnet from www.radicalteatowel.com

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We’re dreaming of a radical Christmas!

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Our new Christmas cards have arrived! All made of recycled materials, of course. We’ve got eight designs, including the Bullingdon Club, Marx, President Kennedy and Peace in 31 languages.

After popular demand on our facebook page, we’ll also be getting an Emmeline Pankhurst tea towel and a Rosa Luxemburg tea towel in time for Christmas. This should resolve the complaints by some people that we didn’t have enough women in our collection! Most importantly, they’re of course inspiring radicals in their own right and will be completely at home with Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Wilberforce and the rest.

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Margaret Thatcher Washing Up

Secretly snapped in the kitchen during the 1980s… UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher using one of our radical tea towels to do the drying up. Who needs dishwashers?

One assumes that our range of lefty, liberal and revolutionary tea towels would probably not be to the former PM’s liking. Would we consider a ‘radical right wing’ range of tea towels and aprons? Some would say that one can only be radical on the left of the political spectrum. But the term is seemingly deployed at random by most mainstream political parties in the West.

Thatcher quotation suggestions welcome.

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Radical new website!

Our radical new website is now live! We’ve been working on it for some weeks now, and are quite pleased with the end result.

It’s not exactly flash and ‘in your face’ – but that’s the whole point. We wanted something simple, easy-to-use, that gives new visitors a clear idea of what we’re about and an idea of the range of our products without having to think hard!

The new website also fully optimises the latest social media, with +1, ‘pin it’ and ‘like’ buttons all over the place to let you recommend specific products rather than the website as a whole. We’ve also added a new header quotation: “You wash, I’ll try… to change the world”. Thanks to Avocado Sweet for coming up with that one!

We always welcome feedback, so take a look at www.radicalteatowel.com and let us know what you think. In the meantime, we’ll keep on drying.

Tim (the tech guy)

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National Wear Your Apron Day

Today (May 14th) is ‘National Wear Your Apron Day’, presumably only in the US. It’s the Monday after Mother’s Day each year, so we’ve just discovered. Apparently the tradition is to wander round all day wearing your favourite apron. In our case, that would have to be our newest apron, Einstein the Vegetarian!

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The Story So Far: Part 1

About a year ago, in May 2011, I was wracking my brains for a present to buy an elderly family member who was celebrating his 91st birthday.

David was severely disabled after a hip operation that had gone wrong several years before so I needed to find something that would go through the letter box and not involve him trailing out to the post office on his crutches. He had been involved in left wing, radical politics throughout his life so the obvious answer might have been a political gift such as a book but now he was having difficulty with his eyesight. So I then thought I’d get him something for the house. Since he wasn’t a materialist or a collector of “things” it had to be something that he could make use of on a daily basis…. At the same time I was determined that it should be something that reflected his interest in politics…..

And that’s when I thought – a tea towel! But not just any old tea towel. One with a radical or political theme. It shouldn’t be difficult to find such a thing if I started googling… First I typed in “political tea towel”, then “socialist tea towel”, then “radical tea towel”, “left wing tea towel”, “trade union tea towel”. I tried everything but could I find a suitable tea towel anywhere? Not a bit of it! Tee shirts were there in their thousands: every theme, image, slogan you could imagine was available from companies both here and the US, along with mugs etc. But I didn’t think David would look good in a tee shirt somehow and a mug would not go through his letter box easily…..

So then I started thinking. Well if I want a political/radical tea towel and after an hour of googling can’t find a single one, I wonder how many other people want the same and can’t find one either? There was quite clearly a gap in the market. And so one afternoon in May the Radical Tea Towel Company was born.

David got his Radical Tea Towel in the end and was very pleased with it, but, I have to admit, he didn’t get it in time for his birthday. It was a few months later, in fact: the lead times for tea towel printing are much longer than with tee shirts which can be screen printed instantly.

Sadly, David died in February this year, just over a year after my mother who had been his partner for 24 years. If you are interested you can read his obituary in the Guardian and all about his fascinating life as a revolutionary socialist.

Beatrice (Manager)

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