The Favourite dominates British Indie Film Awards

The Favourite lived up to its name by scooping a record 10 honours at the 21st annual British Independent Film Awards (BIFA).
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Nigeria: Indie Helmers Left Behind by B.O. Boom

Ema Edosio would be the first to admit she didn’t know what she was getting into when she decided to make her first feature film. “I had no idea how I was going to raise the money. I had no idea what the distribution strategy was going to be,” she said. “I just wanted to […]

Variety

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Concern grows for missing indie band lead singer

The lead singer of the indie band Frightened Rabbit has been reported missing by friends and family, who are concerned about his “fragile state”.
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

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Don’t Let Blockbusters Keep You From Seeing Indie Movies This Month

It’s a quiet place at the box office until the new Avengers flick opens, so check out “Lean on Pete,” “Where Is Kyra?” and “You Were Never Really Here.”
Culture and Arts
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The Best Indie Games You Didn’t Play in 2017

Dozens of games come out every week on Steam, itch.io, Game Jolt, and other corners of the web. With so many awesome indie games and such little time in the day, it can be hard to sort through it all to find the perfect one for you.

This year, we rounded up some of the coolest new indie games each month to ensure you never missed one worth playing. Below, you’ll find a compilation of some of the best games from the entire year.

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Gay romance wins big at British indie awards

A gay romance set in rural England has taken the top prize at this year’s British Independent Film Awards.
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

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AFM: Indie Sales Launches ‘Romulus and Remus,”Gangsta,”Paris Pigalle’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Paris-based company Indie Sales is rolling into AFM with a slate headlined by Matteo Rovere’s “Romulus and Remus, The First King,” Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s “Gangsta” and Cédric Anger’s “Paris Pigalle.” “Paris Pigalle” follows an undercover investigation of the 80s Parisian porn industry. The movie stars Guillaume Canet, Gilles Lellouche, Michel Fau  and […]

Variety

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The Brooklyn Print Studio Fostering a New Generation of Indie T-Shirt Brands

Alex Dondero is dazed and bewildered. The founder of Lqqk Studio — better accustomed to Brooklyn chill — has spent the past 12 hours displaced in Midtown, Manhattan. His print shop has temporarily taken up residence at a high-profile fashion brand based in the Garment District prepping and printing runway samples in the weeks leading up to New York Fashion Week. He phones in at 11 p.m. on the drive home to Bedford-Stuyvesant, remarking, somewhat trancelike, between tollbooths.
This Midtown studio residency — for which Dondero has signed a nondisclosure — is just the latest notch in Lqqk’s ascent. A commercial printing studio, Lqqk (pronounced: “Look”) also produces its own label known for handprinted T-shirts, hats, knapsacks and patterned outerwear that typically sell out within 48 hours of release.
The past year has seen Lqqk lend its distinctly minimal, off-kilter aesthetic to a suite of new partners. The studio has collaborated with Japanese men’s wear brand N. Hoolywood, opened new wholesale channels and devised a sneaker and apparel collaboration with Vans’ tier-one label, Vault, due this spring.
Commercial jobs are but a spoke in Dondero’s wheel. As such, Dondero has used the studio to spin a creative web and establish a Lqqk network

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How The Strand Has Made Indie Bookselling Look Easy — For 90 Years

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Sony Music Expands Distribution Reach; Acquires French Indie Believe, TuneCore

Sony Music is continuing to expand its distribution portfolio, entering into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in France-based Believe Distribution Service for a price between $ 355 and $ 444 million, according to a report in Nikkei business daily, and confirmed to Variety by a source. Sony already owns The Orchard, the 20-year-old music and… Read more »

Variety

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A Brother And Sister Fall For The Same Guy In This New Indie Comedy

A brother and a sister fall for the same guy in the heartfelt new comedy, “I Love You Both,” and HuffPost has an exclusive clip from the film. 

Released on iTunes, Amazon and other streaming services June 9, “I Love You Both” follows Krystal (played by Kristin Archibald) and Donny (Doug Archibald, who is Kristin’s real-life brother), who are forced to confront a lifetime of codependency when they start dating Andy (Lucas Neff), who identifies as bisexual. The millennial siblings remain in denial about the fact that they’re both seeing Andy until he picks one of them ― a decision that could have a disastrous impact on their relationship.

In the clip above, Andy and Krystal enjoy a game of Heads Up while Donny looks on disapprovingly as he observes the obvious chemistry between his twin sister and his lover.

The Archibalds began developing “I Love You Both” when they recalled a time when they both liked the same guy, Doug Archibald told HuffPost. Their relationship is considerably more functional than Krystal and Donny’s, however. “As a director it was nice because we have many shared memories that helped me direct her and also I know what makes her feel certain ways,” he said. “But also it was amazing because she did things I never expected, too, even though I know her as well as anyone can know someone.” 

The writer-director shrugged off the suggestion that the depiction of a bisexual man falling for two opposite sex siblings was in any way stereotypical or problematic. “The movie is just a very realistic scenario where a bisexual person meets two people who are just alike ― because they are twins and codependent ― so he naturally likes both of them,” he said. “He doesn’t lead on both of them. He does his best to take cues from them. And we can’t expect him to be perfect.”

Ultimately, Archibald sees “I Love You Both” as “a comedy about siblings” as opposed to a queer-specific narrative. “It would be nice to reach that person who wouldn’t normally watch a movie with a gay or bisexual main character, but takes a chance on ours and is maybe changed in a small way,” he said. “Maybe that’s our film’s place in the world.” 

Catch the latest in LGBTQ culture by subscribing to the Queer Voices newsletter.     

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23 Must-See Blockbusters And Indie Gems Opening This Summer

Blockbusters, once associated only with the dog days of summer, are now year-round events. But as long as studios keep packing the hottest months with one big-budget spectacle after the next, we’ll offer some recommendations on which ones look the most promising. (Sorry, “Transformers.”) 

In between all that computer-generated action, you’ll also find indie charmers, thoughtful documentaries and a few intimate genre pieces likely to generate buzz. (Enough with you, “Transformers.”)

Here are 23 options fulfilling all sides of the moviegoing spectrum. (Bye, “Transformers.”)

All release dates are subject to change.

The above video was edited by Gabe Piscione.

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Jonathan Demme: Indie filmmaker at heart

Jonathan Demme, the acclaimed director who passed away on Wednesday, was much more than what he’ll be remembered for.
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

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Machine-A’s Stavros Karelis on Curating His Indie Concept Store

LONDON — Stavros Karelis likes nothing better than going where few fashion retailers have gone before — and taking a risk on emerging talent for his independent multilabel concept boutique Machine-A, in London’s Soho. The shop, at 13 Brewer Street, spans 700 square feet and stocks men’s and women’s wear brands ranging from Gosha Rubchinskiy, Cottweiler and Expert Horror to Chalayan, Raf Simons and Mugler.
While many retailers tend to be risk-averse, favoring labels with a well-established customer base, Karelis said he is speaking to a customer who is “willing to spend on a lot of the unknown brands and young, emerging designers. They want to collect them from the beginning and grow with them, because ultimately they will become the future of fashion. It’s great to be able to buy those collections from the beginning.”
Karelis, cofounder and buying director, launched Machine-A in 2013 with Anna Trevelyan, the store’s fashion director.
“In retail you always have the challenge on how you remain at the frontline,” said Karelis. “And how you remain is to always push the boundaries and offer to your customers the best possible merchandising — with the best possible pricing. I think in that sense we have tried to represent and

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3 Pieces of Advice from Top Indie Game Creators

If you’ve ever spent five minutes day-dreaming about creating your perfect video game – or have recently made a new year’s resolution to start making it – you’ve likely come up with a long list of killer ideas and must-have features to include.

Perhaps you’d love to build upon the immersive narrative and stunning world-building of your favourite action-adventure, or craft a fast-paced shooter with awesome set-pieces. Being inspired by the games you love is a natural place to start, but what about setting out to improve on those things in games that don’t work so well or fix long-standing problems that have always bugged you?

In this excerpt from Independent By Design: Art & Stories of Indie Game Creation, a deluxe hardcover book, video game developers Tom Francis (Gun Point; Heat Signature), Teddy Lee of Cellar Door Games (Rogue Legacy), and Lucas Pope (Papers, Please; Return of the Obra Dinn) discuss the inspirations behind their own game ideas, explain how they work to incorporate player feedback into design and reveal how a sharp critical eye can help improve game creation on a wider scale.

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American Honey named best British indie

Road trip drama American Honey was the big winner at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs).
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‘Welcome To Night Vale’ Is The Indie Podcast For Your Inner Weirdo

“All that glitters is not gold. Particularly that thing over there. That’s maybe a giant insect of some sort. It’s really too dark to tell. Welcome to Night Vale.”  – Cecil Palmer, “Night Vale” radio host (Episode 44, “Cookies”)

If you’ve never listened to the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale,” you’re already less of a person. But that’s okay, because you can always become more of a person. It’s one of the many perks to being a person.

Every two weeks, writers Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor and actor Cecil Baldwin take audiences into the small desert town of Night Vale, where real estate agents live inside deer, a five-headed dragon runs for Mayor and is also a blogger, and a faceless old woman secretly lives in your home.

It’s a perfect mix of engaging storytelling and absurd humor. Think “Prairie Home Companion” meets “Twin Peaks,” but where space and time sometimes don’t matter.

The Huffington Post sat down with the trio to talk about the release of their new book, Welcome to Night Vale, a more traditional format for a very untraditional project.

What did you see as the biggest difference between writing the book and writing the podcast?

Joseph Fink: It’s a lot longer.

[Everyone laughs.]

Jeffrey Cranor: We decided to take it out of Cecil’s voice, because while Cecil is reading the audiobook, it is ultimately a novel, so there is about 12 hours of audiobook there. The idea of a 12-hour radio show is not what we were doing. We wanted to take it into a narrative author’s world, go around Night Vale outside of Cecil’s point of view, which allows us to see something new.

You guys were writing the book while still doing the podcast. Did you have to plan ahead since this book wouldn’t be coming out until a year further into the “Night Vale” narrative?

Jeffrey: We definitely put thought into it. We had to think about when the book was coming out, and kind of where in the vicinity of the timeline it would be. We didn’t want to write the book ignorant of the podcast timing. Months and months from now it won’t make a ton of difference because people will be picking up the book at a different point from the podcast, but I think the people who are keeping time with the podcast are probably the same people who will buy the book the day it comes out and read it immediately. 

Does the podcast, and the often odd logic of the writing, make it easier to write the book and not worry so much about continuity?

Joseph: Oh, we worried strongly about the continuity. I mean, “Night Vale” has very strict continuity. That’s sort of the thing that allows us to be as weird as we are. From the very start, we said we can doing anything we want as long as we have a strict continuity. So there’s actually a very strict continuity that goes into the book as well.

Cecil, what were your influences, voicewise? Because it seems to change from episode 1 to episode 70.

Cecil Baldwin: It changed so much. We were still trying to figure out what this character was. And it was definitely a disembodied late-night radio host voice. There were some specifics here and there but there wasn’t a true personality yet. Much like any pilot. As the show went on, we all found more about the person behind the microphone and the people around [him]. Then they’ll write more and then it reflects back on itself, performance to writing. 

From a physicality standpoint, once the show started taking off, were you very protective of your voice? Were you walking into rooms yelling, “I need a humidifier in here!”?

Cecil: [Laughs] Oh, no! It’s just years of working in the theater, there’s certain things you try to do. Honestly keeping hydrated and taking vitamins are probably the best things you can do. We have a pretty rigorous touring schedule, and it’s trying to maintain that, but for the most part for the making of the podcast and the live shows, the microphone does a lot of the heavy lifting, which helps give the performance layers.

Joseph and Jeffrey, how has your writing evolved since the start of the podcast?

Joseph: We sort of just keep trying to do new things. We write, I feel, almost exactly the same in both the work rhythm and the general goal of telling stories that seem interesting to us, and then not really worrying about outside of that. On a personal level, I just constantly try to find new things to do with the 30-minute audio format, and new ways of telling stories, and things you can do with language. And that’s just a constant search.

Jeffrey: Yeah, as a writer I find I’m always trying to find tics and habits I have that I want to phase out. Then you read other stuff and go, “Oh, this is really beautiful, I’m really inspired by this, I’m feeling more emotional lately and I’m going to talk about these types of feelings.” I think that’s just how we are as writers. You’re always taking things in and putting things back out.

Is there a “Night Vale” film in the future? And given the characteristics of space and time, is that even possible given the way the world of Night Vale works?

Joseph: Sure, I think anything’s possible.

Jeffrey: We always have people interested, whether it’s a movie or any number of things, like “Please make a ‘Night Vale’ keychain!” or something, you know.

Cecil: “Night Vale,” the musical.

Joseph: “Night Vale,” the card game.

Jeffrey: All kinds of stuff. And you know, for us, we all come from this background of theater and stage performance and writing, so the idea of going from the podcast to the stage was a really logical and obvious transition. It’s been really great because Cecil’s so great onstage and we feel very comfortable in writing for that and understanding that, and the same thing for the novel.

And you know, moving into other mediums, it just takes more time finding the right people to work with, because none of us come from the background of making a TV show or making a film or making a tabletop game [laughs]. That requires a lot more reaching out. It’s not like we hit on a thing that could get us a check written. I’m sure if we said, “Sure, write us a check,” we could find someone to write a dollar amount, but that’s not what we’re interested in doing. We actually like “Night Vale.” Like, we’re not trying to sell it off.

You mentioned earlier about following a strict continuity for “Night Vale.” Do you guys have a show bible the way some TV shows might?

Joseph: My only bible is the actual Bible.

[Everyone laughs.]

Jeffrey: That’s what we use, we use the actual Old Testament.

Cecil: That’s it. If it’s not in the Bible, we don’t want to talk about it.

Joseph: No, I mean we had a spreadsheet, briefly, that lasted like four episodes. Because there’s only two of us writing it, you have lot more control than if you had a staff of writers and new people coming and going and you have to keep everything stable. Which is not to say we don’t make mistakes; we constantly make continuity mistakes. And then we sort of talk our way out of them in later episodes. But yes, we depend entirely on our fragile memory.

Cecil: Somebody made a “Night Vale” wiki page. I use that all the time. You know, trying to remember if this one character in episode 50 has appeared in episode 5 and also, did that person have a specific voice? That’s always a challenge and it’s easy to look online and be like, “When did X character appear, and in what episode?” and then I can go back through my sound files of old episodes and, “Oh, that’s what that person sounded like.” Then I can choose to, you know, pick up that character voice or do a more third-person read of what that person said. I think that’s the only online resource I really use. Because it is, you know, unwieldy amounts of pages and pages.

You had Will Wheaton on the show several times. Are there any other celebrities you would love to get on the show?

Joseph: Yes. Tatiana Maslany.

Cecil: Yeah!

Joseph: Tatiana Maslany. As Hiram McDaniels’ sister. I’ve been very seriously trying to get her. We’ll see how that goes. That’s my biggest dream.

Jeffrey: Barack Obama.

[Everyone laughs.]

Joseph: Oprah.

Cecil: Whoopi Goldberg. I always thought Whoopi Goldberg on the show would be amazing.

Where do you see podcasts, as a form, going? Because it hasn’t quite been monetized yet.

Cecil: Oh, don’t worry, people are always finding ways to monetize anything.

Joseph: It’s being monetized, actually, in a huge way. It’s a little worrying, in the last few months, big money has really come into podcasting. Bill Simmons’ podcast is produced by HBO. WNYC just announced a $ 15 million podcast studio. And they also had like a contest where the winners got, like, a $ 100K to do a podcast? GE is producing a serial drama podcast that’s 20 to 30 minutes long.

So, yeah I find that all super worrying because I think what makes podcasting really good is that it has this very low barrier of entry. You just need to have a very good and very specific idea and then you need to be able to execute that in front of a mic and then you’re on the same playing field as everyone else.

I think that’s still very much the case but I worry about that going forward as big money starts pouring into it.

Jeffrey: One of the great ways to find out about podcasts is the gatekeepers like iTunes and their lists and mysterious algorithms for why things move to the top of the list. In the four months that “Night Vale” was No. 1 overall above “This American Life,” it was never because “Night Vale” had more listeners than “This American Life.” That’s never been the case. We just had this surge of popularity.

Cecil: There was a dramatic spike.

Jeffrey: Once that surge came back down to a naturally steady increase, we obviously fell back below “This American Life.” But for us being an independent podcast, it was a really great thing to be able to have that. And my worry comes from whether or not that can stay a thing. “Lore” is another new podcast that is interesting and independent.

Joseph: “Lore” just hit the top 10 on iTunes.

Jeffrey: And that’s great, it makes me super thrilled to see independent podcasters reaching that. And I think there’s this hope that institutions like Radiotopia can hold it together and still be at the forefront of putting new, cool stuff out there that people can discover. You know, if big money comes into it, and Bill Simmons and GE and people like that are always at the top of the list.

Joseph: Or if they can buy big ads, because at the moment the iTunes main page is an equal mix of weird independent stuff, and if you have GE podcasts and HBO podcasts, then it really kills that.

Cecil: I think a lot about the ‘90s and the independent film movement when technology became more affordable and more accessible to filmmakers. All of a sudden, you have so many more diverse films being made under the banner of independent cinema.

And then now that’s like 25 years later and IFC [Independent Film Channel] came out of that, and is IFC independent film anymore? What does that mean?

It’s sort of the natural way of things, and it’s amazing to be on the vanguard of any movement. For us, it’s just keeping it going and exploring other new avenues and new mediums.

Joseph: I used to be super into fracking until the big energy companies moved in.

[Everyone laughs.]

Cecil: Ugh, yeah it’s so over.

Jeffrey: Yeah, it’s really annoying, now it’s everyone’s thing. All the hipsters are fracking.

Thanks to Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor and Cecil Baldwin. Their new book, Welcome To Night Vale is out Tuesday wherever books are sold, and probably some places where books aren’t sold and the vendor is perhaps wondering where all these books came from.

 

 

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Meet Phases, the Indie Pop Band That Should Be on Your Radar ASAP

A few years ago, you may have read our enthusiastic plea to add superband JJAMZ and their bubbly tunes "Never Enough" and "Heartbeat" to your summer playlists. Since then, the L.A.-based group has reinvented a…


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Indie Rock 101

Indie Rock 101


Indie Rock 101 is a clear, concise, all-in-one primer for beginning to mid-level musicians looking for the essential fundamentals behind running, recording and promoting their band. It’s all the basics that can take years to collate from more specialized or technical books, magazines and websites-and it’s written by a real independent musician* Part I, Running Your Band covers the topics most relevant to forming and running the band: the people, practice and songwriting* Part II, Recording covers pre-production considerations, gear and how-to basics, and timeless fundamentals and techniques around recording, mixing and mastering* Part III, Promoting covers what you need to know to establish and grow your fan base, including graphic design, your press kit and website, sharing and selling your music, playing out and making a videoWhether you’re just starting out or looking for a 360-degree primer to help take your music to the next level, Indie Rock 101 is the one book that covers it all. Featuring photos and Q & As from: Birdmonster * CDBaby founder Derek Sivers * Juliana Hatfield * John Vanderslice * Karate * Mark Kozelek of

Price: $
Sold by Kobo (UK)

Indie Rock 101

Indie Rock 101


Indie Rock 101 is a clear, concise, all-in-one primer for beginning to mid-level musicians looking for the essential fundamentals behind running, recording and promoting their band. It’s all the basics that can take years to collate from more specialized or technical books, magazines and websites-and it’s written by a real independent musician* Part I, Running Your Band covers the topics most relevant to forming and running the band: the people, practice and songwriting* Part II, Recording covers pre-production considerations, gear and how-to basics, and timeless fundamentals and techniques around recording, mixing and mastering* Part III, Promoting covers what you need to know to establish and grow your fan base, including graphic design, your press kit and website, sharing and selling your music, playing out and making a videoWhether you’re just starting out or looking for a 360-degree primer to help take your music to the next level, Indie Rock 101 is the one book that covers it all. Featuring photos and Q & As from: Birdmonster * CDBaby founder Derek Sivers * Juliana Hatfield * John Vanderslice * Karate * Mark Kozelek of

Price: $
Sold by Kobo Canada

Idris Elba teams up with indie band for charity single

Manchester Band ‘The Last Party’ are donating profits from sales of their single “A Thousand Smiles” to the Campaign Against Living Miserably
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Smoke Meth and Hail Satan Skate Hipster Hipsta Swag Cool Urban Goth Indie Metal Mens (White) (Large)

Smoke Meth and Hail Satan Skate Hipster Hipsta Swag Cool Urban Goth Indie Metal Mens (White) (Large)


This item is also available in Women’s – please see our other listings. tdm-style clothing was created in the cultural quarter of Bristol – Stokes Croft. Surrounded by the coolest Street Art and inspired by various Banksy pieces, Stokes Croft has quickly become the go-to place for musicians and artists alike. Our designs call upon the style, art and bohemian culture, to bring you the freshest designs from the streets. Using local artists and supporting the local scene, you can be sure your garment is highly original and of the highest quality. Our T-Shirts are all printed to order using the latest in Direct to Garment printing technology. We print the ink pigment directly within the fabric of the shirt, which gives a superior quality print that that will withstand repeated washing but is soft to the touch and doesnt crack like many screen printed shirts do. Your T-Shirt will be manufactured expertly and with care in the UK and shipped to you rapidly with our no quibble satisfaction guarantee. We only use the latest, top of the range printing techniques and equipment, for the ultimate in long lasting design wear and only the highest quality of garments. All have a classic contemporary cut, ensuring you always look good. T-Shirt Selection info and size guides: Men’s Premium: Genuine Gildan Brand Heavy Cotton GD005 (or equivalent) * 100% cotton pre-shrunk jersey knit. * Seamless, twin needle 7/8′ collar. * Taped neck and shoulders. * Twin needle sleeve and hem bottoms. * Quarter turned to eliminate centre crease. Fabric 100% pre-shrunk cotton Sport Grey – 90% cotton, 10% polyester Weight White 175 gsm Colour 185 gsm Size Guide Chest (to fit) S – 34/36′, M – 38/40′, L – 42/44′, XL – 46/48′, 2XL – 50/52′

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Smoke Meth and Hail Satan Skate Hipster Hipsta Swag Cool Urban Goth Indie Metal Mens (Marron Brown) (Small)

Smoke Meth and Hail Satan Skate Hipster Hipsta Swag Cool Urban Goth Indie Metal Mens (Marron Brown) (Small)


This item is also available in Women’s – please see our other listings. tdm-style clothing was created in the cultural quarter of Bristol – Stokes Croft. Surrounded by the coolest Street Art and inspired by various Banksy pieces, Stokes Croft has quickly become the go-to place for musicians and artists alike. Our designs call upon the style, art and bohemian culture, to bring you the freshest designs from the streets. Using local artists and supporting the local scene, you can be sure your garment is highly original and of the highest quality. Our T-Shirts are all printed to order using the latest in Direct to Garment printing technology. We print the ink pigment directly within the fabric of the shirt, which gives a superior quality print that that will withstand repeated washing but is soft to the touch and doesnt crack like many screen printed shirts do. Your T-Shirt will be manufactured expertly and with care in the UK and shipped to you rapidly with our no quibble satisfaction guarantee. We only use the latest, top of the range printing techniques and equipment, for the ultimate in long lasting design wear and only the highest quality of garments. All have a classic contemporary cut, ensuring you always look good. T-Shirt Selection info and size guides: Men’s Premium: Genuine Gildan Brand Heavy Cotton GD005 (or equivalent) * 100% cotton pre-shrunk jersey knit. * Seamless, twin needle 7/8′ collar. * Taped neck and shoulders. * Twin needle sleeve and hem bottoms. * Quarter turned to eliminate centre crease. Fabric 100% pre-shrunk cotton Sport Grey – 90% cotton, 10% polyester Weight White 175 gsm Colour 185 gsm Size Guide Chest (to fit) S – 34/36′, M – 38/40′, L – 42/44′, XL – 46/48′, 2XL – 50/52′

Price: $
Sold by Rakuten Play.com

How Etsy Changed the Rules & What It Means for Indie Designers

2014-08-25-etsylogolgrgb.png

I’m a conscious consumer. I shop second-hand, I limit my consumption of “stuff,” and I try to keep my purchases local. I believe in voting with my dollars, and I’ve gone so far as to dedicate my career to figuring out what that means.

On occasion, though, when I’m hankering for a new piece of jewelry or a unique gift I can’t find in my local thrift shop, I’ll look to Etsy. If I’m going to dish out the cash on a new item, I know that my purchase has more impact if it goes to the local makers who are working on their craft.

As someone who is directly involved in the maker movement, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I didn’t pay much attention when Etsy changed its policies last fall. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, CEO Chad Dickerson announced that Etsy sellers could use outside manufacturers to produce their designs. In other words, items sold on Etsy no longer had to be handmade.

It wasn’t until a few months ago, when looking on Etsy for a new watch that I realized the implications of this change.

I had a specific brown, repurposed leather, wrap-watch in mind. I knew the one I wanted was handmade by a seller in Ohio, but I didn’t know his name. Typing in a simple search for “wrap watch” into Etsy, I proceeded to spend nearly an hour sifting through 50+ pages of three-dollar “wrap watches” from China.

2014-08-25-wrapwatch3copy.jpg

My eyes scanned over page after page of items I would have expected to find in the kiosks of Daytona Beach, not on a website for handmade goods. I sat at my computer with my jaw on the keyboard, wondering what had just happened. When I eventually found what I was looking for I purchased the handmade watch, for significantly more than three dollars, and moved on. I didn’t think much more about the experience after that.

A few months later, I met an Etsy seller through Factory45, the accelerator program I run for designers and makers. Among other reasons, she applied to my program looking for business guidance on restoring her Etsy shop sales.

She recently told me, “Last year my Etsy sales tripled in the spring and then again in the fall, so I figured things were still looking good. But in May, my views dropped off to about one-third of what they were in the previous months and as compared to last year. I thought they just dipped because of the holiday weekend and the nice weather, but in June they did not pick back up.”

She went on to explain that several message boards had popped up about similar drops in traffic for other Etsy sellers. When I went on the site to see for myself I found threads with titles like, “Are most of you feeling the low traffic, views and sales?” “Can Etsy stop letting Chinese factories sell here?” and “Your Stuff: Made in China?” with diplomatic responses from Etsy administrators encouraging the sellers “to take advantage of the downtime.” (Interesting advice when downtime could mean the difference between paying and not paying your rent.)

2014-08-25-etsywrapwatch.jpg

Aside from the issue that independent designers are now competing with full-scale production operations, there is the issue of sheer volume — Etsy now has over 1 million shops. When a seller is competing in a sea of 999,999 other shops, the odds aren’t good.

Now that Etsy shoppers have the option of buying from middlemen selling three dollar watches, finding that handmade wrap watch you’re looking for will undoubtedly be more difficult. From the seller’s perspective, no matter how many times they change their “tags,” SEO or refresh their storefront, the traffic just isn’t going to come like it used to.

So what actually happened?

In the fall of 2013, Etsy shifted their loyalty from the maker to the shareholder as it made plans to further scale its business model. How did this change things?

Because Etsy’s policy changes happened at the maker’s expense, many of the people who were once making a living off of their shops are now seeing a fraction of the sales. The difference between Etsy, and let’s say, Wal-Mart just got a whole lot smaller. At the core, Etsy changed its mission. No longer is it a website for makers of one-of-a-kind, original goods. Instead, it has become yet another website for the mass-produced and cheaply made goods that satisfy our insatiable culture of mindless consumption.

So what’s a seller to do?

If you’re an independent designer or maker with an Etsy shop, there are a few ways to try and get your traffic back up.

  • Create a small network of fellow sellers. Etsy offers the “team” feature but going beyond that, find five other sellers who have a similar target market and non-competing products. Work together to promote each other’s shops using your individual social media outlets and outside networks.
  • Narrow down your niche and create very specific tags. “Screen printed t-shirt” just isn’t going to cut it anymore. The competition is too high. Use tags and keywords you know would appeal to your target market and get specific.
  • Guest post on the Etsy blog. The blog run by Etsy is “consumer facing,” meaning the content is written for shoppers. It’s an entire platform where your potential customers could be hanging out. Come up with a few article ideas that would appeal to Etsy shoppers and pitch the editorial team.
  • Move marketing efforts away from Etsy to Pinterest, Instagram and a personal blog. Etsy ads are not going to be as effective as they used to be, so save your money. Focus your marketing efforts on creating compelling content through your social media outlets. Host contests on Pinterest, run giveaways on Instagram and write about the “behind-the-scenes” of your business on your blog.

As someone who supports the manufacturing movement in the USA, I believe that Etsy sellers should be able to scale production when their sales numbers get too high to manage on their own. My issue with Etsy lies in the lack of a discerning gatekeeper.

It comes down to this: the world doesn’t need another eBay. It needs the old Etsy.

Get more business strategy for your Etsy store or small business from Factory45 here.

Photo credit: Etsy
This post was originally published on the BF+DA blog.
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Indie Brides Are Bound To Say Yes To These Non-Traditional Dresses

By Kellee Khalil for Lover.ly

Temperatures are rising and summer wedding season is nearly upon us! Summer lends itself to relaxed and casual weddings, making it the perfect time to try something non-traditional. If you’re saying “I do” at an offbeat celebration this summer, you may want to say yes to one of these stylish bridal frocks. Browse below for unexpected cuts, colors, and styles worthy of a hot-weather fete.

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True Religion Men s Indie Fashion Slip On Loafer Shoes, 11


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True Religion Men s Indie Fashion Slip On Loafer Shoes, 10

True Religion Men s Indie Fashion Slip On Loafer Shoes, 10


True Religion Men’s Indie Fashion Slip On Loafer Shoes Canvas Upper. Decorative Penny Keeper Strap. Frayed Round Toe & Heel Edging. Removeable Cushioned Insole For Shock Absorbtion. Rubber Sole With Textured Overlay For Traction
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True Religion Men s Indie Fashion Slip On Loafer Shoes, 9

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True Religion Men s Indie Fashion Slip On Loafer Shoes, 8


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