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.✿✼:

Adios, 2018!

Remember back when we prepared for 2018 with a big 2017 retrospective post? Well, if you can believe it – 2018 turned out to be even bigger. We accomplished and learned a LOT, attended and spearheaded multiple events, organized some killer collabs, and met so many incredible people along the way.

We put our 2017 wall to shame and kicked 2018’s ass.

Organizing the Post-It’s from our “Shit We Did in 2018 Wall.” Pretty sure this isn’t even everything…

Even after taking out the more personal highlights and behind-the-scenes accomplishments, trying to condense our entire year into one blog post turned out to be a challenge! We’ll start off with some honorable mentions before we dive into the highlight reel – make sure to stick around for the gallery of 2018 photoshoots at the end!

On Firsts and Failure

Baby’s First Booth

We got to experience having our own booth at a convention for the first time at Emerald City Comic Con – one of the biggest conventions in the greater Seattle area! We’ve done pop-ups and been guests at conventions before, but having your own space is something special. The whole weekend exceeded our expectations and allowed us to host two live signings – one with Jen Bartel and another with Kelly Sue DeConnick! The experience really lit a fire under us to really immerse ourselves in the world of geeky conventions. Spoiler alert: we’re going back this year! 😉

We also managed to score a booth at GeekGirlCon – not only did we get a panel there, too, but we also opened the Fashion Show! The convention was the weekend before Halloween, and we knocked the fashion show out of the park in some of our favorite horror-inspired Shells:

An impromptu backstage photoshoot before the GGC fashion show

In between the two cons, our COO, Jazzlyn, spoke on panels at C2E2, San Diego Comic Con, and New York Comic Con. SDCC sticks out, especially – we attended a badass fashion show, got to meet members of the Bomb Squad, real-world tested a prototype product, and Jazzlyn spoke on three panels. It was a pretty incredible weekend! 

Check out our convention recaps here:

Other Notable Firsts:

  • Built a “booth” out of the back of our van – pop-up road trip anyone?
  • Our first ever end-of-year blowout sale in the Online Pop-Up Shop!
  • Had a photoshoot with our first non-human model (you can see it in the gallery on page 2!)

Broken Machines and Postponed Dreams

We hit a few snags in our plans this year. The one that sticks out the most is probably trying – and failing – to release a new product this year. So what happened? Well… a little bit of everything.

We ran low on fabric – at one point we were totally out and had to rush order more. We took on a lot of projects. Pretty much every one of our factory’s machines malfunctioned in the last half of the year – it seemed like as soon as one thing was fixed, something else broke. Our heat press actually broke down right before the holidays and our team busted their butts to keep us on schedule. Still, there wasn’t enough time to dedicate to perfecting the launch, and to top it off, an error in size scaling of a prototype set us back quite a bit. 2018 just wasn’t the year for a big launch!

We embrace the failures with the successes. Instead of letting them get us down, we’re focusing on the things we accomplished and what we’ve learned from the things we didn’t. We can’t wait for you to see what we have in store (literally and figuratively) for 2019!


The Highlights

Testing, Testing…

We put a lot of time and energy into testing out everything we make before it goes out into the world. Here are the things we tried this year!

  • We started a beta program! We’ve done fitting parties in the past, but this year we created an open application to help us find a diverse array of eager spandex enthusiasts to make sure all products going forward are tested right. Click [here] to sign up!
  • We may not have formally announce any new products on the catalog this year… but these cute little headbands started popping up at our events so we could judge your reactions. We’re still tweaking them but they’re a great way to print in the blank spaces on our fabric between Shells to help us reduce material waste!
  • There… may also be a prototype or two out in the wild of potential future products. If you ever spot us at a convention, keep an eye our wardrobe. 😉
  • FLAT. RATE. INTERNATIONAL. SHIPPING. We’re still exploring shipping options but we’re excited to take over the globe – stay tuned!

Collabs and Collections

We’re always making new friends and meeting new artists, and this year was no exception. Our travels through the world of conventions opened us up to the chance to work on some seriously great collabs – and we have many more to come!

Not to mention, we also…

  • Jen Bartel made some friends for her #GalacticCats, and like a new star exploding from the darkness, the Sirens in Space lookbook was born.
  • The Wicked + The Divine. Not only was it wonderful to work with this amazing team, but then they drew one of our designs into the comic.
  • A new pair of Bitch Planet Shells joined the MCM family, and we celebrated with a fresh, new lookbook!
  • Upped our geek cred, expanded our Talk Nerdy To Me collection, and released the Talk Nerdy 2.0 lookbook
  • Released a sharp new Spring collection – Succulence
  • Updated our Pride collection (let’s fill the world with flags!)

Factory Pop-Ups

Three times each year, we do a factory pop-up sale where we sell ready-to-wear Shells!

Don’t worry, we still print on demand – events demand stock and sometimes artists need samples, and anything that doesn’t immediately find a new home ends up at one of these sales. If you’re ever in Seattle, come party with us!

  • We refreshed wardrobes for warmer weather with the Spring Sample Sale
  • National Butt Day in August is a faux holiday that we adopted as our own and turned into our biggest sale of the year
  • Small Business Saturday in November, to get the holiday shopping started

Social Media Shenanigans

This was a busy year for us on social media! We started two new campaigns that we’re excited to make a tradition, upped our posting schedule, and tried to get verified on Instagram. We’re… still working on that one. New goal for 2019?

We’re… still working on that one. New goal for 2019?

  • Started the weekly #BombshellerBabe. Post your Shells on Instagram with the tag #Bombsheller for a chance to be featured!
  • Started #FeelinYourselfFebruary to celebrate positive self-image
  • Hit over 7k Instagram subscribers and counting.
  • April Fooled everyone with “print-at-home Shells” (don’t worry, there was a coupon code – we wouldn’t prank you then leave you hanging!)
  • Got personal with #BombSquadBTS on Instagram Stories to show what our lives are like behind the scenes.

Digital Decor

Our web queen, our graphic artist, and our community manager/copywriter (psst – that’s me!) worked together to give our website a fresh, updated look:

  • Streamlined our landing page and refreshed a lot of copy
  • Introduced the Featured Blog header (which may be why you’re reading this right now!)
  • Realized that our catalog outgrew endless scroll and switched to numbered pages
  • Feeling lucky? We added a design randomizer!
  • 404: Boring Error Page Not Found

New Swag!

We love having little treats at our pop-ups that you can’t get anywhere else. Even if you don’t plan to shop, always plan to come by our booth at conventions – you’ll likely still walk away with something fun!

  • Sticker sheets
  • Sticker sheet 2.0 – geekified
  • Temporary tattoos
  • “Stay badass” and “butts butts butts” pins
  • Laser-cut acrylic “free pair” tokens. We used this same method to make price tags, too!

Bomb Squad Spotlights!

Last, but certainly not least, we got to interview five different badasses from the Bomb Squad on our blog. Shout us out on social media using the tag #Bombsheller and tell us who you’d like to see an interview on next!


That’s a wrap on 2018!

Thank you so much for your love and support – we say this often because we truly mean it from the bottom of our hearts. We couldn’t do what we do without you, our badass Bomb Squad! We want you to start your new off with a bang – enter this code at checkout through 1/12/19 for 10% off of your next purchase: 

ByeBye2018

One final note. This year, we also welcomed our photographer, Stephen, to the team! He’s shot for us before, but he officially joined the Bombsheller team and has been hard at work to bring more life to our Shells through photography ever since. He doesn’t just shoot our lookbooks; he’s also been dedicating time to product photoshoots of some of favorite designs! We love our 360 viewer, but when trying to decide on a design, nothing compares to seeing Shells on real, human bodies. We look forward to more photos in 2019!

You may have seen a few of these images floating around social media but we wanted to give them their own spotlight moment. Make sure to check them out before you go!

Continue on to page 2 to see the gallery!

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 vote.org!

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.


Backstage Pass: The Wicked + The Divine

When Kelly Sue DeConnick connected us with Kieron Gillan and Jamie McKelvie, the creators of The Wicked + The Divine, we had no idea what we were in store for – in the best possible way. It’s been two weeks since we launched and we’re still floating on cloud nine after a resoundingly positive reception from fans of the series. It’s been a wild ride, and we want you to get an insider look at how we got here. 


“Holy Shit”

I can’t even begin to describe the ripple of excitement that moved through our team when we found out that this was really happening. The moment this project kicked off, we were buzzing. Our biggest collab so far had been seven designs with Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, so you can only imagine how ridiculous it was for all of us trying to keep a 15 design launch for a fandom as big as WicDiv under our hats for roughly six months! 

As each god game to life through their design, we couldn’t help but sprinkle little teasers in where we could. We alluded to the line a few times on social media, liking and retweeting WicDiv content; little nods that we hoped wouldn’t go unnoticed and trying to not get too ahead of ourselves.

Then the lookbook happened.

While I didn’t get the chance to be there for the actual photoshoot, the pictures alone made me gasp. As more of us got to see the photos and videos from the shoot, you could feel the excitement mounting in the office. Watching some of the video footage, I was almost certain that at any moment, one of them would snap and the video would end abruptly, in flames. I highly recommend scrolling to the gallery at the bottom to see the full set of behind-the-scenes photos.

“The Recurrence”

The day before we pushed the button to start the show, Kieron and Jamie prepped the crowd. A few tweets before launch was all it took to get the energy going; by the time we deployed the collection, fans were waiting in the wings to honor their favorite deities.

At the stroke of midnight, October 10th, 2018, The Recurrence began.

The response was unreal. Twitter went first, with retweets and shares and replies coming down in a flurry. Instagram went wild. Everyone lost their damn minds and we were completely bowled over by the overwhelmingly positive response. We laughed over hilarious Twitter exchanges about moisture-wicking, and we teared up over the heartfelt reolier about our size options and models. There was some, ah… discourse, however, about Woden. 

Trust us when we say that we’re right there with you.

We also ran into one other struggle – international shipping. When we saw disappointment from our overseas friends over the cost of shipping to their countries, we realized this was the perfect opportunity to take a risk and try something new. For the first time ever, we rolled out a beta test for $10 international shipping through the end of October! After you’re done here, go check out our last blog post to read more about how we were able to pull that off.

As orders shipped out, we were greeted by a second wave of reactions. The tagged photos started rolling in, and everybody looks bomb as HELL. People across all platforms were chiming in to praise and share photos of people rocking their WicDiv Shells, and our ride-or-die Squad members answered questions about fit and quality. We included enamel pins on cards signed by Jamie and Kieron for the first 50 orders, and everyone (ourselves included) were pretty ecstatic about them! We’re over the moon about how this launch went.

#Norns ended up being the most purchased design, though some of us think it would have been #Woden, if he weren’t such an asshole (and that’s putting it kindly). However, #Minerva got an extra special kind of love…

“Mini’s Got Merch”

In a recent issue, we found Minerva wearing what appeared to be her own merch. Looks like she requested a hemming for her pair, but there’s no question that these are the exact design from our line! While we were in the middle of debating whether or not they had actually drawn us into the comic, this popped up on Twitter:

We can honestly say this is the first time we’ve ever been featured in a comic! How amazing is that?

We pick a member of the Bomb Squad every week to feature as our “Bombsheller Babe of the Week,” and making Mini our first ever comic book #BombshellerBabe seemed only appropriate. Besides, how often do you get to feature a god on your social media?


“Thank You, and Goodnight!”

For the final act of this blog post, we’d like to sing the praises of every single human who has been along with us for this ride.

THANK YOU

 

To our badass friend Kelly Sue DeConnick, for being the catalyst for all of this and for always being a pillar of support.

To ass-kickin’ new friends Kieron Gillan, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson for creating such an incredible series, for being so wonderful to work with on this project, and for not only boosting the signal about this line but also for being so damn enthusiastic about it – and US!

 

To the talented Tati and Ivy, who took the creators’ dreams for this line and helped make them a beautiful reality. 

To our fierce-as-fuck models, Essie Charm, Sheila the Slayer, Katie  Corr, and Luna Lyrik, for channeling their deities so perfectly that the internet fell in love with them – even Woden, despite… you know…

…Woden. 

To everyone in the Bombsheller office who made this launch come together with special thanks to our photographer, Stephen Klise, our videographer Ivy Chen, and our COO and creative director Jazzlyn Stone, for making the lookbook dope as hell. 

To our production team for cranking out so many orders (even in spite of a brief technical malfunction!) like champions. Emily, Emily Z, Jennifer, Rachel, Lee and Corey: Thank you for being the wind beneath the company’s wings!

A special shout-out to Harris Miller, Chrissy Williams, and Katie West, for getting us here – you’re the real MVPs!

And finally, to YOU, our Bomb Squad. So many of you suggested The Wicked + The Divine as our next collaborative work – the feedback and love we’ve gotten in response to this collection pushes us to do more and be more. We have so many exciting new things coming down the line, and we wouldn’t have the opportunities that we have were it not for you. We’re so honored to have such a badass squad behind us. Keep hitting us up on social media to let us know what you want to see next – you know we’re listening! 😉

“Encore”

Before you go, check out this collection of outtakes from our lookbook photoshoot!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

UPDATE!! Beta Program: Flat Rate International Shipping!

✨UPDATE✨

Time to hop on your holiday shopping – we’re extending flat rate international shipping for the rest of the year!

Flat rate international shipping is now $14, but we’re extending this beta test through the end of the year! Through 12/31/18, 11:59pm PST, you can continue to get flat rate shipping to the list of eligible countries at the bottom of this post!


Original post:

TL;DR: We are offering a temporary flat fee of $10 for shipping and handling to international customers in the countries listed below. This offer will be good until midnight PST 10/31/18. No code necessary!

international flat rate-01


On 10/10 we launched our new collection, The Wicked + The Divine. It’s our most successful launch to date, and the positive reactions from fans has had the team floating on cloud nine all week. One question kept coming up from fans around the globe:

“Why the hell is international shipping so expensive?”


There are a lot of answers, but the main one is because we use FedEx exclusively for international shipping. We’re a small company, and FedEx offered us the most assurance – and insurance when we started out. This month however, we’ve decided to take a chance and try our hand at offering a flat rate shipping and handling fee of $10.

Really? Only $10!?

You read that right. $10 for international shipping and handling! Please note that you may still be responsible for any additional taxes or fees imposed by your country’s laws upon import.

Will you be able to offer this long term?

Unfortunately no, probably not. At least not right now. But for the rest of this month, we want to celebrate our collaboration with The Wicked + The Divine team, and offer their fans around the globe a chance to snag some beautiful Shells for almost the same price as the fans in the USA. Plus, this gives us a chance to test this shipping method out – think of it as a pilot program in the hopes of offering better shipping options in the future for our international friends!

How are you sending international orders?

We’ll be using USPS First-Class International Service; it’s slower than Fedex, but they also offer tracking numbers.

Is every country eligible for $10 flat rate shipping?

As much as we’d like to offer $10 flat rate shipping to every country across the globe, USPS International has its own set of restrictions when it comes to shipping. Check the list below to see if your country is eligible:

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Brazil

Canada

Chile

Croatia

Cyprus

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Gibraltar

Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Greece

Hong Kong

Hungary

Iceland

Israel

Italy

Japan

Latvia

Lebanon

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malaysia

Malta

Mexico

Netherlands

New Zealand

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Russia

Saudi Arabia

Serbia, Republic of

Singapore

Slovak Republic (Slovakia)

Slovenia

Spain

Switzerland

Thailand

Turkey

Thank you to all of the fans that gave us honest feedback. We’re still growing and learning, and we’re lucky to be able to do so with the help of such a kind and kickass fan base!

Let us know what you think! Email us at badass@bombsheller.com.