The Squeaks and I have relocated and are planning some lock-ins to start focusing on the next step for Bl,est. We hope to cut some fat, do some tweaking and generally steer ourselves in the direction we want to take for the future. We were chatting the other day about launching two styles in the next month, so keep checking back for updates, artwork and concepts.
I Think It Might Be Broken?
Calling all Bl,est fans and fanatics! I need testers for the all new, cutting-and-bleeding-edge,
world-beating web store. Here’s a sneak peek-
Oh wait, that looks like shit… never mind! This hand-coded masterpiece won’t be ready for a few more months, but if you’re interested in watching it progress send me an email at email@example.com
and I’ll give you access to the test version. All I ask in return is that you give feedback on features as I work on them, and do your best to break things – tough love is needed to make a store that will ruthlessly eat all your disposable income!
Watch Out Bristol, We're Coming
Despite disasters, delays, and abandoned plans, it’s finally happening. We’ve secured a company headquarters, a party pad where fun times will be had. This is a huge deal and we’re very excited!
Ben’s moving up from his home town of Yeovil and I’m heading south from the beautiful city of Birmingham in a classic pincer movement, as you can see in this completely unnecessary diagram.
For the last few years we’ve struggled to get things done while living hundreds of miles apart; now we will have a space to create, to experiment, and to make the best damn tees that we can. For us, and for you. Stay tuned for more details.
Too much hand, not enough ink, plenty of sweat and so many tears. Our break is over and its back to what we love, kicking stuff about and throwing it on the site. It’s been a while, but we are rested, hungry and even closer to the edge than before. Expect new artwork in the coming weeks followed by some kick ass tee’s.
Apologies for the recent lack of news content. We at Bl,est are just taking a bit of time off to sort out some personal things and push our last collection before regrouping and kicking things up again. We have some big plans (our biggest ever) for the coming months, but just have to sort out some stuff first. Make or break time. Bl,est.
The visual problem with the store has been sorted by Superstar Webmaster (Party Boy) Squeak. Sorry for any problems this may have caused. Out. Benji
Apologies for the mental state of the store, it will be sorted out and running again in no time.
Touching Some Base
Start of Feb. Out with the old and in with something older. Some styles from our last collection are getting to the end of their short run (to be replaced by larger versions in the future), so We at Bl,est have got some tough ideas flying around for a new design, which should be put together and on sale in the next few weeks. But in the mean time we hope to be dusting off one of our very first screens and printing up a limited run of old school Bl,est nostalgia. Return of Deph. Hands Around The Neck.
Dollar Dollar Bill Y'All
A big thank you to everyone who’s placed an order over the past few weeks. We’ve had one of our best periods of website sales, and believe me it’s the only thing that keeps the lights on here at Bl,est HQ. Money man Merve is particularly happy, as you can see:
We’re having a bit of a clear out of old stock so there’s some bargains to be had in the sale section on our store. Some tees are only £10!
Party-boy Squeak x
Ps. Merve you stink do a news post!
Finally. After months of ‘baiting’ over how we were going to get the next collection made, we will begin printing this weekend. It has taken it bit longer that we had hoped, but we wanted to keep the quality high and keep things ‘real’, and that can take some sorting sometimes. So, new designs should be in-store next week, just in time for late crimbo shoppers.
Squeak Takes It
Our man Squeaks has received some flak for an article he wrote months ago expressing some personal views. Whether anyone agrees with his opinions or not, at least he has opinions and feels strongly enough to express them. However, all his future rants will be closely monitored.
The three at Bl,est are well underway planning our next collection. Merve has started to order new inks and tshirts, I have the first few pages of an empty sketchbook and Deano (Squeak) has begun drinking alcopops and chasing skirt.
New collection – new features – coming soon
At Bl,est we are all about doing things for ourselves, just the way we likes it.
We currently do all the printing ourselves, but are still having to have our screens made up for us. So, the next step is to bring the screen production in house, which will be a massive step in both production and design development. Having complete control over the screens will allow us to make the prints as big as we like, whenever we like and still be able to put them wherever we like.
The next couple of months are going to be awesome for Bl,est. We are going to start getting together some plans for the new collection and begin the search for some new stockists.
Happy Birthday To Our Squeak
Archive shot of Squeaks rocking early Bl,est
Getting Ready To Die Electrik
We were meant to take some decent photos of the new dieElectrik tees last weekend, but got caught playing ice hockey all night instead. For now, here is a dirty look at the two designs that will be hitting the store soon.
Last Market In Bristol
This Saturday (2nd June) will sadly be our last on the Bristol market. All three of us are so enthusiastic about the launch of our first ever store in Birmingham, we want to spend as much time as possible there – and as the rest of our time is spent printing tees, something had to give. We have been doing the markets on and off for a few years and have had some pretty tough rainy days, but have also met some really cool people and made some good friends. It has been so important in the progression of Bl,est and without it, we would never be where we are today. Thanks to everyone for the support.
Bl,est Store Shall Open
We at Bl,est are to be opening our very first store ever, in Squeak’s home town of Birmingham.
Nerdcore 4 Life
A big thanks to everyone who grabbed one of our new banners and put it on their page. It makes my work worthwhile when people actually use new features. Our store front page has been redesigned… again! The whole look and feel has been streamlined and simplified. Usability is much better, with big intuitive colour swatches. The page load time has also been substantially improved. The old version loaded way too slow because there were over 100 calls to the server for the various colour swatches and thumbnails – this has been reduced by 70%, and there’s room for even more improvements.
A lot of what we do at Bl,est is intentionally basic, and in the end I decided a plain text title for the store would work better – but it still killed me to ditch this fancy title image. It’s just so slick!
We want our store to be the best of its kind on the web, and with this version I think we’re moving in the right direction. The next job is to bring the whole ordering & checkout process back in-house (rather than just relying on Paypal), using an open source Textpattern plugin by Levi Nunnink called TextCommerce. It’s pretty exciting stuff, for me anyway!
Spring Collection 2007 Real Soon
Not long now! All four designs will (hopefully) go on sale sometime on Monday 2nd April. We’ll be previewing one design a day, Tuesday through Friday next week. I might try and set up some sort of commenting system so we can get some feedback from you all about which are your favourites. If not, you can always reach us through the contact details on the info page.
Beirdo Loves Kids
Bl,est wants to give a good luck shout out to our very own Merve, who tomorrow is off teaching at a school in Bournemouth. He will pass on his business wisdom of being one third of the most awesome clothing label in the world.
Draw it, scan it, screen it, sell it
I did this whilst manning the Birmingham Saturday market the other week, dead time away from the computer is great for drawing. It’s not for a tshirt, guess it might work on a badge or sticker though. Ben, I know you’ve got a hard drive full of doodles like this, you don’t have to wait till there’s some news to post them!
The Spring collection samples (to show stockists and to use for product photos) are being printed this Friday, so it’s not long before we’ll be unveiling them. We’re really really excited about them – the designs are so awesome I might wet myself.
The Post That Got Away
Almost had a chance to write an awesome post, but didn’t quite make it!
But on the bright side, samples for the new collection will be put together on Friday. We have
five four new designs, with some new tee and ink colours.
After two tough weeks for the three of us, Squeak and I had our last phone call about which t-shirts and colour ways will make the new spring collection. I’m truly excited about the chosen set. Each design has a different style and direction, and I feel they all show where Bl,est is heading. I hope those of you who like our stuff will find something in the new artwork, and hope that those few who don’t like our stuff will really hate them.
Stock Photos, Sneak Preview
The boys and I had a lot of fun yesterday shooting the new stock photos for use in the store and elsewhere. Nothing went wrong at all (very unusual for us), and we managed to be fairly efficient considering how delicate we were from the night before. Here’s Ben and Merve looking fabulous in matching heather grey. I mean ridiculous.
The photos themselves have turned out so well that I can’t resist posting a couple of examples. They really show off the designs.
Those are just quick tests of the look I’m trying to achieve in post production. We actually shot each tshirt three times with different lighting conditions, which are then composited together to combine the atmospheric noirish background with the crisp well-lit tee. The final versions will be even bigger!
Back To It
We are back and getting straight on the tee orders that came in whilst away. All will be sent out this week, so thanks for the patience. Mock ups for some new designs have been put together, so if we can all agree on the best, they should be out in a few weeks.
Bl,est on holiday
For the next three weeks, Bl,est will be away on holiday. We are heading off to America to see if they like winter tshirts! It also gives me a chance to finalise the next collection, which should be launched around March. At present, it looks like the collection will include some tees, a hood, a summer item and possibly something for the ladies. We are in the process of printing up loads of the current stock, so any orders put through will be sent out as soon as we get back.
New Inside Print
As of now, all Bl,est Tee’s will include an inside print of authenticity. It’s a little extra work, but will feel that it’s well worth it.
Merve and I have just finished printing the first set of ‘the Shark tee’ in a brand new colourway. It should be up in the store in the coming weeks.
Early this month we will be shooting our long overdue stock shots, so hopefully they will be in store and doing our tees proud by the end of the month. Merve and I will be taking a long overdue vacation at the end of January, which will give me some time to finalise designs and knock out some fresh ideas for the next collection, which we hope to launch around March time. In the meantime, expect to see the new sweat tops in store in the next few days.
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.
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.
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.
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…