Bl,est in B'Ham
On Saturday we added Saturday Flea in the Custard Factory Birmingham to our growing list of outlets. As usual there were a few looks of confusion and bafflement, but also people who took an interest and were really enthusiastic. I’ll be back on Saturday 30th December, and hopefully every weekend after that.
I See Angry Bl,est (Tee Design)
The Rorschach inkblot test is a psychological projective test of personality in which a subject’s interpretations of ten standard abstract designs are analyzed as a measure of emotional and intellectual functioning and integration.
As a business, Bl,est has been printing and selling for about two years. In this time we have experienced many of the ups and downs that any independently run business would face. And that’s cool, because the UPS well outweigh the DOWNS – and as they say, it is the downs that drive us. But there is one thing that really gets on Bl,est tits, and that is ‘shows’, ‘trade shows’ and ‘clothes shows’. I know that the only person to really blame in this is us, for being mugs enough to entertain the thought that they may be worth our while – but that doesn’t make them any less crap. They are crap. Unless we one day choose to sell cheap mass produced rag, it will always be a waste of our time. This isn’t meant as a bitter rant resulting from a lack of success at these ‘shows’ (we neither fail or flourish), but a rant at the pretentious, money grabbing, shortsighted wank that these shows represent to me.
Rather than giving independent labels an effective, affordable opportunity to promote themselves to an wider alternate audience, all they do is exploit these independent brands and the customers that attend (why should a customer looking to find unique clothing that wouldn’t normally be available to them have to pay an entrance fee close to a tenner, be taken to the cleaners for a coffee and a sandwich and then be expected to pay prices for indy label products that have to be priced in a way to recoup any of the mental rental price of a cardboard box sized pitch).
All these shows really want from indy labels is recognition for ‘helping out’ young labels, and to add heart and soul to a middle of the road mainstream market. I know that Bl,est isn’t YET perfect, but we are working toward making something honest and original. We aim to make and sell our products in an ethical way at an honest price to anyone that connects with them. For now I am happy with that.
With Squeak working on the webshite, Merve and I have been busy printing up new sweater and tee styles. One of the tee styles “Arrowed Heart” has been tested out on the market already, and has done pretty good. The other is a new design influenced by holiday tshirts (fabric postcards). Both tees and the sweater should hopefully be in store in the next few weeks.
Ok, by now I’m sure no-one believes me – the ‘new’ store has been in the works for months and months; I’ve started from scratch twice already, and now the whole thing’s being redone using the TextPattern system. That’s what the new site was built on, and it has proved very flexible and reliable with plenty of useful plugins and application hooks for adding custom features. Plus it suits my Voodoo Programming style! Right now the time-scale is something like this…
Replace the current store in time for Thread Show on the 10th, reusing code and assets from the previous aborted versions where possible. Then work on a more polished layout to coincide with the fancy new stock photos which are being shot on 19th January (more info about that next week).
The Blest company myspace profile and our personal profiles have all been updated to match the redesigned website. My plan was to make them much less cluttered, just simple and professional looking. In the process I discovered a really neat way to ‘disappear’ the top banner and superfluous navigation – just don’t mention it to Tom ok? Thanks.
Whatever you think of myspace, it’s a great marketing tool – our profiles sometimes generate more than half of the visitors to this site.
Bl,est is going to be showing and selling at the Thread Show in Bristol, on Sunday 10th of December. The show is at the Paintworks on Bath road and will be open from 11am to 6pm. We are taking pretty much all the styles that you see in the store, plus the new Y.N tee (seen below) and a new design that we are going to try on some sweat tops.
Y.N. State Of Mind
This is a design that Ben and I put together this week, as a replacement for the Original Team Y.N. tee. The sports/college style is something we used to play around with in the early stages of Blest, an original (and very basic) version was done when we were at college.
We wanted to capture the elements that made the Y.N. Original popular and add our own take on the commercial college logo design. Here’s a nice high resolution version.
The name of the tee comes from the Nas song N.Y. State Of Mind.
If you are in Bristol and it’s either not a Saturday (Bl,est Market) or its raining (Bl,est Market), you can find Bl,est at the newly opened My Yard on Park Street. They have got a nice little set up down there with some cool independent brands.
A label? A brand? A business? It’s nothing! It’s Bl,est, that’s all! “If you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours…” I don’t think so, scratch your own back, I have got mine covered! No favours, no added flavours, undiluted, We Am Bl,est.
The Bl,est stand is situated on Wine Street, in Bristol city centre, close to Tesco Express. We’re there from 9am ‘till 5pm every Saturday – come down and have a chat with our top salesman Merve, he’s very friendly! You can get all our designs plus some limited edition styles not available in shops, at the lower price of £15 for tees and £20 for hoodies.
Dali (Work in progress)
This could make an awesome tshirt if I can get the line quality and composition right. And the colours. It’s based on the famous scene from Un Chien Andalou by Salvador Dali which you can see below – don’t watch if you’re squeamish!
The Blest Web Version 3.0
Welcome to the new website! We were sick of trying to work out exactly what sections the site should have, and what specific types of content to include – so we’ve blow it wide open. You can expect a deluge of cool stuff; sketches, unique photography, music reviews and downloads, (drunken) videos… and of course more t-shirt designs than you’ll know what to do with.
Starting next Monday we’ll be showcasing all our unreleased designs. If enough of you promise to buy one, we’ll be straight on the phone to Steve for a screen.
We need all the help we can get
Over the next few months we’re going to be raiding the archives (mostly Benji’s hard drive) for interesting sketches and doodles, going back to the origins of Bl,est. It all began in 1980…
We are currently looking at doing some polo shirts that are going to be better than any you have seen anywhere else… we hope!
Both Collectif in Camden and BS8 in Bristol have taken on more Bl,est, some more colour ways and some more of the same, so if you are near either please check them out.
Getting ready for the ‘Girl Skate Jam 06’ on May 27th @ Pioneer Skate Park, St Albans, where Maria is going to be reppin’ for us and winning! We also hope to be having a small stand selling some limited edition tees.
Three New Tees
No big deal – just three new tshirts that were printed yesterday, and are on sale today. It’s almost as if we know what we’re doing! Leave us a comment if you like ‘em.
Salesperson Of The Month!
Congratulations to Merve Sherman! His tireless dedication to selling t-shirts has really paid off this month, contributing to the best sales figures in the history of the company. Using his considerable charm to win over potential customers, and with a relentless campaign of myspace bulletins, he has shown himself to be a valuable member of the Bl,est family. Keep up the good work buddy! Thanks also to everyone who has bought a tee, it means the world to us…
Somehow Thinks She's Better Off This Way