You've bloody started without me Ben! See that finger? That's for showing me up in front of everyone. Anyway my new designs are gonna be better than your new designs. Better bring your A game. Dickfingers is back.
we write the bl,est
...to think that all these years ago bl,est began as a set of tatty photocopied zines put together in dirty bedrooms. And all these years on, these zines still seem a pretty fresh way of throwing a load of random ideas together and using design to make them work. The process of turning doodles, photos and text into something you can hold, like physical booklets, helps achieve a real sense of developing ideas into a final product. That said, we at bl,est hope to start putting some new zines together and putting them about where ever we can.
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.
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!
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.
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.