So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish!

In our last blog, we ripped the band aid off and shared that we were restructuring, thus shutting down the retail side of Bombsheller. In this, our final blog, I wanted to share a bit more about the Bomb Squad- our incredible team and fans, that made Bombsheller what it is.


Please, allow me to brag for a moment.

If you’ve ever worked at a company during a transition, you know the final days are bizarre.  Productivity takes a nosedive, office supplies start going missing, and suddenly everyone is being very honest about how unfunny your fwd>fwd>fwd> joke emails were. The last two weeks of Bombsheller, however, have been some of our most productive. The 40% of the team that are leaving have worked our asses off to make sure the remaining team is set up correctly. The 60% of the team that are staying have worked their asses off to make sure we have the assets we’ll need to go out and get some badass new jobs. There is no animosity or dividing of houses, and everyone decided to stay until the end. We’re still working as a unit, even as we mourn the end. That’s incredible, and a testament to the quality of characters I’ve had the pleasure of working with for the last six years.

We’ve decided to put the brand in cryo-freeze in case we have a chance to come back to it in the future; we’re all very hopeful. During this whirlwind of a time, independently, everyone that’s staying has conspiratorially pulled me aside to whisper that they have plans to relaunch the brand and bring us all back. I believe them. I know they’re gonna do great, because they’re incredible.  

I was often asked, “what’s it like to work at Bombsheller?” It’s really hard. It’s amazing, stressful, frustrating, empowering, exhilarating, but above all it is terrifying. So often I was asked to step out of my comfort zone (writing this blog for example) but being asked to have The Audacity was the scariest part to me. Bombsheller is all about better for the sake of better; we love improving systems, and that takes a lot of audacity. The Audacity to try to improve an outdated industry. The Audacity to ask consumers to think about how their consumables were made. The Audacity to ask artists to take a chance on us. For me, The Audacity to walk onto a SDCC stage, sit among some very accomplished and adored people, and explain to a crowd why Bombsheller is amazing.

All terrifying moments, but all worth it. I’ve watched my coworkers take on The Audacity time and time again and run with it. We passed it around the company, taking turns to gas each other and our fans up. How do we improve fashion photography? Can we plan an after party with The Wicked + The Divine? Can we launch new products in a full size range? I’ve had adult men in ill-fitted suits shout me down for having The Audacity to offer ten sizes. The Audacity helped me stand straighter and stare them down. Now I see the team taking on The Audacity to successfully go lean while larger American Made companies are fleeing overseas. The Audacity! Again, I believe in them. I know they’re gonna do great. I haven’t seen them run from a challenge yet.

Now, please, allow me to continue to brag.


After announcing that we would close up retail after the 19th, our fans came through and ordered 3 months of Shells in one week. We had to dry our tears real quick and get to work cause y’all were buying up lifetime supplies of Shells. Thank you. You sent us countless love letters, DMs, and comments expressing how much this hurt. We know, it hurts for us too.

“I feel like i’m losing a friend”
I know. It feels like we are too.

Reading the outpour of love from our fans and friends made us feel seen and appreciated. We received a six page letter from a woman in Canada thanking us for giving her the confidence to be who she was and love herself and feel beautiful. That one made me ugly sob at my desk. I’m proud of the work that we did at Bombsheller. I always believed in it, but it’s hard not to have doubts and rehash old mistakes late at night when you’re staring down the barrel of unemployment.

You saw what we were trying to do. You believed in it, and in us, and you cheered us on. Thank you. We won’t nuke our social media- we worked hard on it.  We’ll keep our mailing list alive in case we make a come back later. You can still tag your posts with #Bombsheller -I know I will- because even though we’re ending the public brand of Bombsheller, The Audacity lives on. We’ll Stay Badass on our end, and I know you will too.

You are a badass. Let me say it again in case you missed it the first time. YOU are a badass. You are beautiful the way you are. You are strong, resilient, and worthy of love. Yes, we should always be leveling up, but you, yourself, as you are today are amazing. Please don’t forget that. Have The Audacity to keep trying. Keep demanding that the clothing industry catches up with the wave that we’re on, ’cause we’re not letting the bare minimum slide anymore. We’re gonna keep trying to do better for the sake of better. We’ve had a taste of what it could be like, and now we’re not going back. Thank you for going on this wild ride with us.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Stay Badass,
Jazzlyn Stone
COO
Bombsheller (Forever)
💖💣✨

Our Final Team Photo, Taken By Stephen Klise

#BombshellerForHire

During this restructuring, we are losing some of the amazing team members that made Bombsheller possible. If you need some hard working badasses, look no further!

Akane Fujii
Graphic designer and Illustrator
Talents: Illustration, graphic design (branding, ads and display) and identifying cat and dog breeds
Websiteakanefujii.com
Contact: akanefujiicreative@gmail.com

Arielle Soutar
UI and Web Developer
Talents: Web design, Shopify Wrangling, Plant Whisperer
Websitehttp://ariellesoutar.net/
Contact: ariellesoutar@gmail.com

Ivy Chen
Designer
Talents: Photography, videography, graphic design, promotional email design, marketing strategy
Website: http://ivychen.co
Social: @hulloivy
Contact: ivychen.co@gmail.com

Jazzlyn Stone
COO
Talents: Project Management, Community Building, Brand Building, Pop Up Event Design
Website: jazzlynstone.com
Social: @jazzlynStone
Contact: x@jazzlynstone.com

Rachel Linkhart
Product Development
Talents: Product Development, Sizing and Grading, Customer Research, Trend Casting
Website: http://commonarticle.com/
Social: @commonarticle
Contact: rachel.linkhart@gmail.com

Stephen Klise
Photographer
Talents: Portrait photography, color grading, skin retouching, model outreach, lighting design
Website: Stephenklise.com
Social: @stephenklise
Contact: hello@stephenklise.com

How Do You Want To Do This?

How do you want to do this?

Let’s rip this bandaid off: Bombsheller is restructuring. On May 19th, we will be closing the retail and brand side of company and pivoting to manufacturing exclusively private label clothing. We’re saving our final blog post to say farewell to the end of an era, so for our second-to-last post, we’d like to explain this change and what it means for the Bomb Squad.


If you’re surprised, so were we. This was one of our most successful quarters and 2019 felt like it was going to be our year. I’d like to think that it still will be, but now in a way different from what we previously thought. Our parent company needs to restructure, and that means we do, too. The retail side of the team is moving on with heavy, but full, hearts. We still have our amazing Production team, who will continue to make the best leggings in the game, but exclusively for our Private Label partners. We hope that this means opportunities to help other brands offer inclusive sizing. Luckily, we have time to do a last sale, and already we’re working with our friends and artists to make sure that some of our Shells (in the full size range) will be available in shops across the web. We’ll be updating this blog with a  complete list as we add to it.

We get to decide how we’re going out.
This is a privilege that most companies are not afforded, and we want to end this incredible journey as we lived it – with a big-ass celebration. Together, all of us, our team, our fans, and our artists accomplished something amazing and I am so damn proud that I was able to join this wild ride. Starting today and until May 19th you can get 20% off orders with the code “StayBadass”.

What this means for you.
If you have a design that you’ve had in your cart, now is the time to buy it. If you’re in the greater Seattle area, we’ll be doing our final factory Pop-Up Sale on May 18th. If you have a story you want to share with us, we’ve set up a form on the website for your fan mail and love letters. Please help us spread the word of our last sale. We want to make sure that everyone gets their last pair of Shells.

Over the past week, I’ve asked over and over again, “Is it possible to die from a broken heart?” Luckily, the team has my back -even now at the close- and we’re getting by with a little help from our friends. The team is staying on until the end to close this mother down- together. We’re going through the grieving process -together- and I’ve been brought to tears by the thoughtfulness of my coworkers. We might be coming to an end of this version of Bombsheller, but we hope you’ll think of us whenever you wear your Shells.

As is tradition, the end of Bombsheller blogs usually turn into long winded appreciations. This time I want to take a moment to thank the whole Bombsheller team. I just adore you. I am forever grateful for your kindness, your talent, your support, and your hard work. More than ever, I am inspired by you and in awe of your strength. Although I’m sad to see us come to an end as a team, I’m so excited to see what you do next. Thank you for sharing your light with me for the last six years.

To everyone else, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Stay Badass,
Jazzlyn Stone
COO
Bombsheller
💖💣✨

Important details:
-As of now, we are no longer taking design submissions, and will no longer be selling Noir Shells
-Use the discount code “StayBadass” for 20% off until May 19th
-Orders placed on and after April 24th are final sale
-Any orders placed before April 24th can be exchanged before May 10th
-If you want to share a story with us, we set up a form on the website here 
-Our Social media will turn into an interactive reflection of our time together 
-If you’re in the greater Seattle area, we’ll be doing our final factory Pop-Up Sale on May 18th.  Join us for the final party!

Back to Black (and Pink!)

The Bombsheller Team loves April Fools. We never want to pull a “prank” that harms, but we can’t resist getting a little sassy on April 1st. We’ve been working on Noir Shells for a while now, and had the genius idea to release this long requested variant on the one day no one would take it seriously. This is known as a “bad idea” in retail. We’d prefer to see it as “hilarious” and hope our fans do too. 

For as along as we’ve been around, we’ve had UX designers and brand management experts telling us to “change gears” and tone it down to appear more approachable as a brand. “Don’t use the term ‘badass’; it’s too aggressive.” Most of us are no stranger to unsolicited advice.

April Fools gives us a chance to have fun with that advice and play up the “what if…?” The branding of Bombsheller has some strong wording and styling rules. Our tagline “Stay Badass,” is a call to remind yourself that you are great as you are now – but sometimes that wording gets us in awkward situations (mostly with Facebook Inc.) So, for April 1st, 2019, we played around with the idea of NegaBombsheller. What would a white website look like? How do we soften our graphics and copy? You can check out my joke blog post here.

*Cries in branding*


We launched at midnight. We were meticulous. The website landing page, Noir lookbook, product page, metadata, Twitter bio, Instagram bio, all comment responses were flipped for ONE DAY. That’s a lot of work for a one-off joke. A few days before April I had a lapse in faith. “At what point do we break character and say “April fools?” I asked, unsure. Our Web queen Arielle, Designer Ivy, and Community Manager Emily all turned to me and incredulously said “April 2nd!” They were fully committed to the bit. We would all go down with the ship if necessary.
The joke was that good. 

The website and brand flip were the joke; Noir Shells were NOT. We print our Shells on Fabric Fatale, a lux white fabric. We can’t print black Shells to our standard, so we went searching for a black fabric we could use to create some. After a tiring search, we found and fell in love with Noir Fatale (more on that in a later blog post) and started the process for creating Noir Shells. Noir Fatale is more compressive than our Fabric Fatale, but we’ve found most enjoy the tighter fit. I’ve worn an old prototype on every flight I’ve been on this year. I feel like incognito cat woman, effortlessly badass and comfy.

Jazzlyn Stone in Noir Shell prototypes.

The response was better than we could have hoped! As some people started digging around our shop and realized we weren’t joking, word started to spread. Friends of the team started texting us frantic questions. “Is this real?” We were high-fiving, popping confetti poppers, and celebrating when we slowly realized the orders were pouring in and not slowing down.

“Hey this was going really well!”
“Oh wow, they just surpassed our WicDiv launch!”
“Oh, haha, now they have passed our BitchPlanet launch!”
*nervous laughter intensifies*
“Oh wow, they’re still going….”
“WHAT HAVE WE DONE?”

In the end, we were the fools. We all learned a powerful lesson that on April 1st: if you mess with the bull, you get a ton of orders. Sometimes when people say “If you offered this in Black, I would be a million pairs” they are not kidding around. 
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

As is tradition, I would like to end this blog with a thousand thank yous. Thank you to our amazing fans that encourage us to have fun and get sassy. You’re the best fans in the world! Thank you to Arielle and Ivy for taking the joke ALL the way. Your attention to detail is baffling. Thank you to our amazing models, Camille Primous and Victoria Stone, and Photographer, Stephen Klise. The Noir lookbook is some of our best work to date. Thank you to our new Product Development lead, Rachel, who is the reason we’ve been able to launch new products this year. You’re killing it, girl! Thanks to our badass Production team, who all had to learn quite a few new techniques to make these work, but took it in stride and with flair. Your ability to work together and problem solve always makes me a bit weepy. I love you guys.

Finally, Thank you to our fans that helped us spread the word and ordered so many Noir Shells on a Monday launch. Your orders literally keep us going. We couldn’t do it without you! 

。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆ S T A Y  B A D A S S  。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆

*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ fresh season, fresh look ✧・゚: *✧・゚:*

welcome to the fresh, new, redesigned bombsheller dot com,
now with a more relaxed, monochrome vibe.
 :・゚✧:・゚✧brighter, calmer, simply  b a s i c.✧・゚: ✧・゚:
tired of having too many options? we understand.
we’ve simplified your shopping experience by ditching the colorful designs in favor of classic, noir black shells. a new staple for your wardrobe that is both easy and effortless.
get them now in the freshly-redesigned bombsheller shop
use code staybasic for 20% off ::✼✿today only.✿✼:

Emerald City Comic Con 2019 Recap!

Since our first Emerald City Comic Con last year, we’ve talked a lot about what we’ve learned and how we could take that to go bigger and better this year. The end result? A bigger booth, two live signing duos, five panels (including our first ever Bombsheller-programmed panel!), and an afterparty with Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, creators of The Wicked + The Divine!

The Booth!

Our booth stood a little higher this year, with with a Bombsheller banner above the booth to make us easier to find from across the show floor. We were able to add one more rack along one side, meaning room for even more Shells than we had this year! 

The extra space gave us the opportunity to soft launch two new products: scrunchies and Wide Waistband Shells! If you were at the convention, you may have gotten a chance to check out the new additions to our spandex family. You can find some sneak peeks of both in the background of our photos on page 2, but if you’re feeling left out, don’t worry – they’re coming soon!

The extra space also gave us the ability to hang up a backdrop. Throughout the weekend, people in costume and badasses rocking their Shells would stop to take pictures with “Stay Badass” cheering them on in the background. We had multiple people who wanted photos with us (which is just so damn sweet), and people would wear their new Shells straight out of the booth, making sure to stop for a photo op.

The Live Signings!

This year, we got to host a live signing for both The Wicked + The Divine (Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie) and Bitch Planet (Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro)! Seeing people’s faces light up when they get to meet their favorites never gets old, nor does explaining to people how a Digital Live Signing works. If you aren’t familiar, the artists create signatures on a Wacom instead of in ink, which we bring back to the factory and print into custom pairs of Shells. How amazing is it that we live in an age where you can have an artist sign your clothing and you can actually wear it without worrying about it fading?


After our Friday signing with Kieron and Jamie, we actually printed the Shells that day, so that folks could pick them up on Saturday morning and wear them to the afterparty later in the evening. We’ll come back to that, but first…

The Panels!

Over the weekend, our COO, Jazzlyn, spoke on five panels. All of the panels carried the same theme of being a creator in the geek industry, and each had an A+ lineup of panelists. If you happen to see “Building Your Own Themyscira,” “Nostalgia Marketing in Geek Biz,” “Level Up: Be a Nerd Boss,” or “The Cult of the Side Hustle” in any of the programming at the next con that you attend, we highly recommend that you check them out!

Behind the Merch Table was the first panel that we programmed and submitted to ECCC – you can only imagine how we were thrilled we were when the panelists enthusiastically accepted our proposal and the con approved our application. Not every application gets approved and it can be hard to schedule that many incredible people to be in one place during a convention weekend – we really felt like we hit the jackpot! Click here to see the full list of panelists!

The panel itself was so, so good. It fostered a lot of discussion about the importance of not trying to do everything yourself. Whether it’s delegating work, finding a good table mate, or finding somebody to handle “just” shipping (trust me – there’s way more involved in shipping than you might think), all of the panelists had something to share. I did my best to live tweet the conversation, but I was only able to capture a very small fraction of a lot of excellent advice! We were able to record the panel, so we’ll make sure to share the video once it’s available. 

The Afterparty

Where do I even start? Where. Do. I. Even. Start?

When Kieron and Jamie of The Wicked + The Divine said they wanted to throw a party with us, we were excited and honestly flattered, though we knew it was going to take quite a bit of planning. We were incredibly nervous, having never organized anything quite like this before, and we wanted to do both The Wicked + The Divine and their fans justice. The guys wanted to DJ a party where fans of the series could come together, unwind after a long day at the convention, and just dance.

And oh, we danced.

 

We ran the door speakeasy style, with a passphrase necessary to get in. Throughout the night, people would approach the door, often in costume, sometimes surprised when we actually asked for the phrase.

“D… Dio invited me to the party?”

“…And he’s so glad you’re here,” we’d reply, flashing a smile and gesturing them towards the doorway.

Their eyes would light up and they’d eagerly make their way through the door. On the other side, we could sometimes hear them gasp as they took it all in. 

The Fred Wildlife Refuge feels like it was made for this party, with a dance floor downstairs and cozy pink chill out spaces upstairs. The first thing you could see crossing the threshold, though, were the projections. Jamie McKelvie’s art. Matt Wilson’s colors. Clayton Cowles’ letters. Our very own Tati Soutar turned them into larger than life images that swirled and moved with the music. In the DJ booth above, Kieron, Jamie, and friends Ivan Salaczar, Ray Fawkes, and Tia Vasiliou mixed playlists  for the party below. Amongst fans and visages of the gods, it really felt like we’d been pulled into the pages of the comic.

By the end of the night, many of our WicDiv and Bombsheller show flyers taped around the venue were gone, and rumors were beginning to swirl about some of the more, ah… amorous shenanigans that may or may not have occurred that night. Despite our nerves at the beginning, we felt we’d truly thrown a party that would have made Dionysus proud.

More party photos and links to Jamie and Ivan’s playlists can be found here!

On to the next chapter!

But first, this wouldn’t be a Bombsheller blog post without a billion chances to say “thank you.”

As always, thank you, Bomb Squad, for not only supporting us, but for also just being so damn cool. So many of you came by the booth just to say hi, or thank you, or to show off which design you were wearing that day. It honestly moves us to tears sometimes how grateful we are for all of you!

Thank you

To the panelists and panel moderators, for sharing your experiences, expertise, and senses of humor, for giving us seats at your tables, and for helping make our own first panel go smoothly.

To Kieron, Jamie, Kelly Sue, and Val for bringing the magic to our digital live signings and for believing in us!

Also to Kieron and Jamie for helping us put together a party that might result in at least one baby with a god’s name at the next ECCC.

To the booth crew – you made my first year as booth manager go so ridiculously smoothly and we haven’t stopped hearing how friendly and helpful everybody was! When I asked the team for their favorite things about ECCC, the responses almost unanimously involved making our visitors happy. Thank you for bringing that kind of kindness into the world and into our booth!

To all of our team; everybody pulled extra weight to make this convention go as well as it did for us. If I could thank each person individually, I would need a whole separate blog post. I am grateful every day that I get to work with so many talented, badass people. Our success cannot be credited to any single one person and I am constantly amazed by what we manage to accomplish.

And THANK YOU to Fred Wildlife Refuge for having us. We couldn’t have asked for a better venue or a better team at the door, behind the bar, and behind the scenes. (Seriously, if you’re looking for a Seattle venue, please check them out!) 

Here’s looking forward to the third installation of the Bombsheller x ECCC Anthology!

Make sure to check out some of our favorite convention photos from ECCC weekend on page 2!

Afterparty photos can be found here!