jL here from Black Milk with a very exciting announcement (yes, another one)! :)
As many of you are probably aware, we have been trying lots of different things with our little brand lately, experimenting with different ways of doing what we do and seeing what works. As you might expect, we've had some hits and some misses!
The great thing for us at Black Milk is that we have an incredibly passionate fan base and we are in constant communication with the Black Milk community about what they're and not loving about what we do. This is great for us because we want to figure out what really works for our community, as well as for us as a business. Of course, it’s never that simple because peeps often want different things from us as a brand, and trying to keep everyone happy is kind of impossible (who knew!?). However, we want to make sure we are doing the best we can, and for us that means creating an environment where you guys can see our clothes, fall in love with them, and buy them! If that’s happening, we’re happy. :)
The first decision we have made is to change the way we do our photography.
Of course, we will be doing lots of other types of photography as well - staff styling pics, blogger pics, collection story pics, videos etc. We want you to feel as excited about the clothes as we are before you get the chance to buy them.
The second thing that we have been thinking about is the weekly release schedule. We have been testing the weekly release system for the last three months and it has definitely divided opinion within the Black Milk community. There are basically three opinions on this one: those who love it, those who hate it, and those who don't care and just buy whatever they want from us anyway!
However, we have noticed that there have been a couple of unintended consequences of the weekly release model which have not been positive for some girls in the Black Milk community.
The first consequence has been that we have had to restrict the availability of our clothes. Because we have been releasing every week we need to cut off as many products as possible before the next release to avoid our systems get clogged and creating a big confusing logistical nightmare. However, this has meant that a lot of peeps are missing out on pieces that they love, which sucks for us (because we want them to buy our stuff) and for them (because they want to buy our stuff). We know a lot of you guys like the excitement of getting in quick to get the limited pieces, but some people are finding it stressful and overwhelming and feel like they need wider timeframes for shopping.
When we moved to the weekly release schedule, we had to decide how we felt about partially losing the storytelling aspect of our brand. We still intended to have a couple of big releases every year where we would include a strong storytelling element for the collection, but by and large we anticipated that storytelling would stop being a big part of our brand. It wasn't an easy decision to make because there was a real question about whether storytelling was simply a nice little extra to have - but not really that much of a big deal - or whether it was an intrinsic part of who we are.
After speaking to a lot of peeps it seems that for so many, storytelling is at the heart of who we are as a brand! Yeah, there are times when you guys just want our clothes RIGHT NOW because you just want our clothes RIGHT NOW, but for many our clothes are so much more than just something to wear, and that storytelling element is a very special part of what they love bout Black Milk.
And, I suppose, it is for me as well.
About six months ago I wrote down a couple of sentences that encapsulated what we wanted for Black Milk to be as a brand. One of these sentences was as follows:
"We are the costume department for the girls in our imagination whose stories we want to tell."
This sentence was meant to act as a guiding principle for our design department. We would start with a simple idea that we were excited about, then we would imagine a world for that idea. Next we would imagine the girl who lived in in that world, build a story for her, and dress her! Finally, of course, we would tell you guys her story and let you shop from her wardrobe. :)
For me as a designer, I find this really exciting!
Of course, it is going to be very challenging for us as a brand to be able to really build up and romance our stories if we are releasing random products every week.
We know that for a lot of peeps this will be bittersweet news because they have really been enjoying the weekly drops. We can understand that because we have really enjoyed it and it's a buzz for us to be able to show you girls new things every week. However, if making this change enables us to bring back that storytelling element into Black Milk, something that makes us unique, then we think it will be for the best.
It will also enable us to have more time between seeing the pieces we plan on releasing, and actually making them available! That means that you will have longer to save for the clothes you want to buy before you actually buy them on release day. It will also enable us to have products available for longer. :)
So even though you might have to wait a little bit longer for that collection to drop, we really hope that the coherence of the collections and the big build up will make our clothing collections a lot more exciting!
Of course, it should never get boring because we plan on doing an ammo as well each month, so there will be other fun little pieces you can buy outside of the collections.
If you are concerned that your Friday and Tuesday mornings are going to be a lot less interesting from now on - let me assure you that we will continue to do podcasts, staff styling photos, and lots more behind the scenes pics and videos. In fact, we’re planning on doing a much greater variety of photographic and video content to keep the party going. There will be the same amount of cool clothes, we will just give you a lot more time and info so you can make a decision about whether you want to buy them or not!
So that’s it! My apologies that we have had to make so many changes lately, we do feel bad about the fact that we have kept changing and we know it must be very frustrating for some of you guys. Please understand that we don’t make these changes because we have nothing better to do, we’re just really trying to figure out how to make this little clothing company work! At the end of the day we are trying to do something genuinely different in the fashion industry, and there's no 'how to' play book about doing what we are doing! A lot of the things we do we just kind of have to figure it out as we go. Ultimately, our greatest concern is that Black Milk is still here in ten, twenty thirty years time! We want you to be able to go to Sharkiecon 2045 and say “You know I remember the very first Sharkiecon…" :)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. Does that mean that every single month we can expect a strong, consistent theme?
Q. When will the big themed collections start?