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 The Audacity to try to improve an outdated industry.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
Bombsheller (Forever)

Our Final Team Photo, Taken By Stephen Klise


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

Arielle Soutar
UI and Web Developer
Talents: Web design, Shopify Wrangling, Plant Whisperer

Ivy Chen
Talents: Photography, videography, graphic design, promotional email design, marketing strategy
Social: @hulloivy

Jazzlyn Stone
Talents: Project Management, Community Building, Brand Building, Pop Up Event Design
Social: @jazzlynStone

Rachel Linkhart
Product Development
Talents: Product Development, Sizing and Grading, Customer Research, Trend Casting
Social: @commonarticle

Stephen Klise
Talents: Portrait photography, color grading, skin retouching, model outreach, lighting design
Social: @stephenklise

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

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….”

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. 

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:*

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now with a more relaxed, monochrome vibe.
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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
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Reading is Sexy: Behind the scenes of the latest Bitch Planet Shoot

“You know what we could do? We could make a design out of the back page ads. That might be fun.”

Kelly Sue is always creating. We’d just spent a fun night talking about Bitch Planet and pitching ideas back and forth about future designs. The idea hit her as I was petting her dogs on my way out. I agreed wholeheartedly, trapped between the excitement of the idea and her adorable dogs. I thought about it on the drive back and throughout the night, until I fell asleep in my little rental airbnb bed in someone’s converted back porch. A few months later my niece would text me a picture of the back page ads from the copy of Bitch Planet she was reading.

“Aren’t these cool?”

It reinvigorated my craving to make the design.

How does Bombsheller choose designs?

It starts with “You know what we could do?” which turns into, “Would I wear that? Would YOU wear that?” and grows from there. Printing on demand allows us to do a lot that larger clothing manufacturers can’t do. One of those things is that we can cater to a fanbase of one, another is that – when the stars align – we can create, present, print and ship a design within 24 hours. Sometimes sooner. This is what we call a “TechFlex” and if you’ve been to one of our live signings, you’ve seen them at their best.

Bitch Planet is intense. It’s also gorgeous, poetic, unapologetic, inclusive, and radical. Hell, Facebook wont let us run any boosted ads that involve their designs due to the mere title of the book. #HeyKidsPatriarchy would be even more in your face; the ads that make up the design range from funny to horrifying. They’ll have you laughing, but also slap you with some cold facts about domestic violence.

Cold facts don’t historically sell clothing. We had to decide if we wanted to lean into the essence of the design, or try to make it more palatable to a larger audience. It’s a delicate balancing act when you take on a license. As a company we need to stay true to our brand, but we also want to showcase what we love about our collaborations. Ultimately we decided we loved Bitch Planet too much not to do it justice, so we leaned in, Non-Compliant as ever.

Having fun isn’t hard, when you have a library card!

Compared to our last Bitch Planet photo shoot, this was a much smaller team. Our sole model would be the amazing Camille Primous, a Primary Therapist who moonlights as a Salsa instructor. On makeup was one of our favorite makeup artists, Sheila, who modeled #Morrigan in our WicDiv shoot! We had our amazing photographer, Stephen, on camera, and myself as creative director. In post, we had Emily and Ivy working on copy and graphics to recreate some of the ads in the lookbook. Since launch, fans have asked us for high-res versions so they could print them at home. <3 One of my favorite easter eggs is that the ad for Democracy actually links to!

The set was minimal to give focus to the busier design and the piles of books that would act as costar. Camille, Stephen and myself brought books from our personal collections. Looking back, it’s fun to match the book to the person. We included some books from our artists such as Big Gal Yoga and The Little Book of Big Babes by Rachelle Abellar. We weighed every detail; do we keep the used stickers on the book bindings, or does that distract from the image? We decided it added to it, because recycling and reusing is a key element in what we do. We included a necklace gifted to us by a fan who works at Babeland (18+ warning: you can find the necklace here). The black sparkly top is a lucky thrifted find, and the amazing holographic shoes are from our friends at Wildfang. Even the sledgehammer is from our first Bitch Planet shoot, a nod to the original design that got us here. The Devil is in the details.

The team put the lookbook together in a week. After receiving approval from the Milkfed team, we launched it on December 5th. The night of the 4th, my pure excitement took a hard left into nerves. Shit. Maybe we had leaned in too deep? Maybe we would alienate fans that hadn’t read Bitch Planet? I took a deep breath, and reminded myself that the Bombsheller team loved it. The Milkfed Team loved it. Kelly Sue Deconnick and Valentine DeLandro loved it. Again, the great thing about our business model is that we can cater to a fanbase of one. If someone really liked the design, chances are they would like how we chose to show it. I trusted our team.

Luckily, our fanbase gets us, and loved the lookbook! We’ve been getting tagged in photos of happily non-compliant fans on IG since launch. Every time it’s a like a warm hug – a reminder to keep going. When you order a pair of Shells, you will it into existence. We get to make them and Kelly Sue, Valentine and Laurenn McCubbin get to design them, but because we print on demand they would not exist without your order. You are just as important in the creation process as we are.

Thank you.

Thank you for the continued support, and for allowing us to make a look book that includes comic books AND Bell Hooks.

See y’all next year! Stay Badass.