INTERVIEW: ‘THE TREEHOUSE STUDIO’ PROJECT BY LORD WHITNEY!

April 17th, 2014

‘THE TREEHOUSE STUDIO’ PROJECT BY LORD WHITNEY

Lord Whitney, a multi platform creative studio from Leeds answer a few of our questions in running with their latest project ‘The Treehouse Studio’. Read more below and find out how you can personally get involved!

Hi guys, would you like to introduce us to who you guys are and the general gist of what it is you do? I know that if i asked about all the things you do we’d be here for days, maybe months!

Hey, we’re Lord Whitney, also known as Amy Lord and Rebekah Whitney, connoisseurs of make believe and lovers of Yorkshire Tea.

Lord Whitney is a studio specialising in art direction, set design and prop making. We’ve been known to turn our hand to anything from editorials and fashion shoots to music videos and festivals. like you said we can go on for days, so we’ll leave it there!

It looks like Lord Whitney has really found its place, and things are coming together. Would you agree with that, and if so has it been a difficult journey to get to where you are?

We consider the last few years to be the biggest adventure of our lives, it’s taken us to some weird and wonderful places, and we’ve had some great experiences and met some wonderful people. Running our own business is probably one of the hardest things we’ve ever tackled, and we still feel like we learn so much every year. Our business motto has always been ‘Work Hard and Be Nice To People’ and it’s worked for us so far.

Its been a challenge getting here but we are now in a place where Lord Whitney is an established studio with an awesome team and some great clients, so all’s good.

From the beginning it has always been the two of you, hence the name. Do I see a third member of Lord Whitney now in the form of super-musician Lins Wilson?

YES! One of the best things recently was adding a new member to our team in the shape of one powerful lady called Lins Wilson. Not only a super talented creative and musician, but one highly organised and efficient producer who keeps Lord Whitney running smoothly and has helped shape our most recent projects.

We’re super excited to hear about your new project which is called ‘The Treehouse Studio’. For all of those who are not yet in the know, please share with us exactly what you plan to do!

Yes so, we have a brilliant studio space in Leeds just outside the city centre, it’s an old leather mill and its huge! A goal of ours over the last few years has been to develop the studio into a space that’s not only for us to create work in, but to also be a place where we can help other emerging creatives by offering them a platform to set up in Leeds. The Treehouse is a big part of this master plan and will be a small self contained space within our studio. It will allow us to offer residencies and create an exciting event space. We are working with some super talented carpenters, designers and architects on the project so expect something pretty special!

Alongside the Treehouse studio we are re-developing the space to create a more multi-functional studio environment, suitable to hold workshops, talks and events. We are hoping to set up a graduate programme in the next few months, to support creative folk on that difficult first step out of uni. We feel really passionately about supporting students and graduates and helping to retain the amazing talent the North has to offer. It seems as though there is a major gap in Leeds for offering these learning opportunities, and we’d really like to be able to help that.

From personal experience it seems like a lot of the creative work is down south, how do you guys find that? Is there a lot of trips down to London or do you get just as much work up north?

When we left university in 2006 it was very much the opinion that London was where you went to be creative, but being stubborn adoptees of Yorkshire we both made a conscious decision to stay. Although staying up North may have changed the opportunities we have had, it has also given us different opportunities and the freedom to make our own path.

We do often work in London, but to us that isn’t a problem, we have a lovely big studio where we can make everything and we can be in London in 2 hours if we need to be! Like we said we are passionate about retaining talent in the North, and not a lot would happen here if everybody decided to leave. The opportunities that the North has to offer at the moment are a lot different to the south sadly, but we feel very privileged to be part of a great creative, collaborative community here, and the more this grows, the more the opportunities for work will grow too.

How about a totally daft question here. If you guys were to wake up tomorrow morning, look in the mirror and say ‘Holy C%$P i’m a…!’ Which animal would you prefer to wake up as?

Good question! We are big fans of the animal world, so we’ll happily answer this. I’d say Lord would be a Narwhal (Unicorns of the sea!) and me (Whitney) a tiger. I love cats and this is the best cat, plus i could also pretend to be a rug as a joke. (Note this was a long debated answer, I love all animals so it was like asking me to choose between family!)

Like the sound of their latest project? You can get involved by throwing some green their way to enable them fully complete the big task, or if you want a more hands on approach, you can head on down to their studio and get stuck in!

Please note: Their crowdfunding page ends on Tuesday!

Click: The Treehouse Studio IndieGoGo project

Website: Visit Lord Whitney online

Liam :)

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Awesome Merch On The BBC: Behind The Scenes Photos!

April 17th, 2014

Hey!

Unless you were living under a rock earlier this week (Tuesday, April 15th to be exact) then you will have either accidentally seen AM on the BBC News or seen us slamming pictures of the heralded occasion across our social pages. To cut a long story short: your favourite merch company was featured on the BBC News at 1 p.m/ 6 p.m and 10 p.m. The news report was all about the economy, inflation, and how we pay our staff above the minimum wage – we pay the living wage. Read up on that here.

At 1 p.m, Luke Hodson was interviewed and talked about our awesome staff! He was also on at 6 p.m, and the video is on iPlayer for a limited time (we start at 13 minutes in). Rad.

At 6 p.m & 10 p.m, they featured Lucinda who’s new to our customer services team.  It was only her second day when they interviewed her. Apparently, she’s had loads of random Facebook requests! Haha! She doesn’t want the personal fame but would love you to check out her band, Heart And Souls.

The rest of the photos were taken whilst Luke was being interviewed. You can see a bunch more on our Pinterest page! Thanks to everyone who got in touch and told us that they saw us on the telly. It means a lot to us because a) we buzz off your feedback and b) It’s nice to feel that we’re doing things awesomely. We care a lot about our staff and we intend to keep treating them well, which in turn means they make a whole world of awesomeness for you.

We’ll try and get the videos from the news online soon!

Thanks for reading!

Jhon :)

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PS: If anyone wants to buy an ‘Inflation’ shirt. We’re selling them for £45 – ‘As seen on BBC News.’ Inflation, init? ;)

 

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DISCHARGE PRINTING: What On Earth Is it? Interview Blog!

April 15th, 2014

Howdy all!

Over the last few days, you may’ve noticed that we’ve been going on about ‘discharge printing’ on our social media pages. A lot of you have said, “Excuse me AM, WTF is discharge printing and do I need this in my life?” We have the answer for you. Well, Dixon our screen print overlord (and massive Sunderland FC fan) does. We thought a few questions rather than a boring jargon filled blog post would suit. Read on, soak up and enjoy:

AM: Hey Dixon – tell us who you are and what you do at Awesome Merchandise?

Dixon: Hi, I’m Dixon, and I’m the Screen Printing Supervisor at Awesome Merchandise.

Can you please tell us WTF ‘Discharge Printing’ is?

Discharge printing is the process of using a clear water based ink which is mixed with an additive. The additive removes the colour dye from the shirt when printed onto it, returning the cotton to its natural colour (a sort of off white) where the ink has been printed.

How does it differ from the normal way in which we screen print shirts?

In terms of artwork and set up, very little. The machine is set up in the same way you would print any water based ink. The only major draw back with discharge is you can only use this on 100% cotton garments.

What are the advantages of discharge printing?

The advantage of discharge printing is that you get a product with very little hand (feel on the shirt) allowing the T-shirt to feel as light as it would without a print on there.

Are there any other services we’re looking at offering screen print wise?

We will hopefully be offering pigmented (coloured) discharge printing very soon! This will allow you to print in any colour, and multi colour, the same way you would with Plastisol ink but with the added advantage of the soft finish that discharge offers. We will also be offering screen printing on Nylon products too (windbreakers etc.)

Is there anything other screen print services we offer that you’d like to remind people about? 

We do oversized screen prints on T-shirts at no extra charge and the 100 x White t-shirt deal is great value!

Why should someone go for a discharge print on their next tee?

Discharge prints are becoming more and more popular with high street brands; this style of printing can give you a really high quality and retail finish to your products.

Will Sunderland ever win The Premiership?

I’d be happy to see them win a Premier League game again, but that may not happen for a while. We might win The Championship next year though, Championship sounds loads cooler than Premiership anyway.

There you have it! That’s the lowdown on discharge printing. If you have any further questions or would like to order some discharge tees, then e-mail us! They’ll be up on our new site. Oh, did I just drop something. Eeek.

Jhon :)

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PS: Werewolf tee by Tom J Newell. Skull tee by Daggers For Teeth. Both awesome. Well done all.

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NAME THAT CAT: Win £100 To Spend On Our Site!

April 14th, 2014

Hey all!

As you know by now, At AM, we bloody love animals. So, by proxy, we love Doodlecats! Beth who runs the popular cat-themed site is super-nice and started off the Instagram craze of people sending us pictures of their cats in AM boxes! So, when we she told us she was going to rescue a new little kitty, we banged our heads together and came up with this contest to name the new addition! Miaow! 

• Check out THIS PICTURE on our Facebook page and ‘like’ it.

• Leave a comment on the status with your feline name suggestion! Remember she’s a girl cat!

• Beth from Doodlecats‘ favourite name will win £100 to spend on our site, £20 to spend on the Doodlecats site and a merch pack and tee! If Beth REALLY likes the name, the little kitty will get called your choice. That’s her call though. (If more than oner person suggests the winning name, then the first person who chose it wins!)

• Comp closes Tuesday, April 22nd at Midday. Winners will be notified shortly after. U.K winner only!

NOTHING RUDE! DO NOT ENTER ON HERE! FACEBOOK ONLY! 

Beth would also like to give a massive shout out to Hollyhedge Animal Sanctuary in Bristol, where she rescued her new cat from! Check them out. That’s it! Massive thanks to Beth – have fun with the pet names!

Jhon :)

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PS: Only enter on Facebook – not on here!

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BURGER BLOG: Team Awesome At Twisted Burger!

April 8th, 2014

SCRUMDIDILLYUMPTIOUS!

Who doesn’t like burgers? There must be someone out there who doesn’t like them! Maybe a fussy eater or the uber health-conscious. Anyway, Team Awesome totally approve of all things burger, so when the kind people from the Twisted Burger Company hooked us up with some passes for their press night, we gladly accepted and sent ten of our finest food connoisseurs down to check them out!

If you haven’t heard about the Twisted Burger Company before, then they have been open in Sheffield since January 2011, and have now opened a second restaurant in Leeds! Here’s what Kirsty, Liam and Bunty from Team Awesome thought:

KIRSTY:

Most awesome burger on the night: This is hardcore the hot number, it was amazing! The Cajun Seasoned Fries were a winner too!

Giddiest member of Team Awesome: Kristyna! Kristyna loved the free shandy and baby got guac!

Hungriest member of Team Awesome: Bunty collaborated a nice basket with a taste of everything!

Is Twisted Burger different to other burger companies? The branding of Twisted Burger really sets it aside. The menus (and even the grease proof paper!) were all designed by Tom J Newell - which was super cool! The name of the burgers were awesome and really played on the vision for the company of combining good music with good food. You can tell that it has been well thought out!

If Awesome Merch were going to make a burger what do you think would be in it? A seasoning of sassy and a dollop of awesome sauce!

LIAM:

Most awesome burger on the night: ’This Is Hardcore’ was my fave, but I have to say the sweet potato fries were incredible. I grabbed a lot of those.

Giddiest Member of Team Awesome: I’d have to say the giddiest was Kirsty. Especially when we found out about the free bar. Tactical free drinks.

Hungriest member of Team Awesome: The hungriest member was Paul because he didn’t even go. Sucker!

Is Twisted Burger different to other burger companies?  I have a condition where I can only eat burgers that Tom J Newell has done the illustration for. I’ve been waiting for years but now I finally get to eat. 

If Awesome Merch were going to make a burger, what do you think would be in it? Beards, illustrations, hardcore music and Swedish Fish on the side.

BUNTY:

Most awesome burger on the night: “This is Hardcore.” Mega hot burger joy right there. It made my face go spicy.

Giddiest Member of Team Awesome: Probably me. I get giddy about pretty much anything, and a free bar and free burgers nearly sent me over the edge.

Hungriest member of Team Awesome: I think we were all pretty damn hungry after a hard days work at Awesome HQ.

Is Twisted Burger different to other burger places you’ve been too? Their branding is superb. Tom J Newell was responsible for the beautiful menu and promotional bits and bobs. Also their attention to detail when it comes to balance of ingredients is excellent.

If Awesome Merch were going to make a burger, what do you think would be in it? Well, at Awesome Merch, we pride ourselves on our ability to cater for everyones needs, down to the specifics, so if we were to design a burger, I reckon it’d be a 3 slider combo platter. A vegan falafel burger, a veggie goats cheese and red pepper burger and a bbq pulled pork delight. This way, we keep everyone happy. Served with a massive side of sweet potato fries. Just because they are tremendous.

There you have it! The good news is that Twisted Burger in Leeds is a permanent thing. Food is served Monday – Sunday from Midday until 10 p.m. From now until 20th April, there is 50% off all burgers! Get down there (they’re inside the Aire Bar) and support your local businesses. You can also follow them on Twitter!

Do you run a rad local business? Tweet us and tell us!

Jhon :)

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PS: Thanks to Liam for taking photos… check his site out here.

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NEW COMPETITION: Win 50 Custom Screen Printed T-shirts!

April 7th, 2014

Hey guys!

Another week and another awesome contest for you to get your toothy pegs into! This time we’re gonna be giving away 50 x custom printed one colour screen printed shirts worth a whopping £195! Wanna win? Then follow the simple instructions here and join the fun:

• Check out THIS STATUS on our Facebook page and ‘like’ it.

• Leave a photo comment on the status with a picture of ANY merch you’ve ordered from us (not just tees, can be ANYTHING) and leave a link promoting who you are and what you do!

• One person picked at random will win the 50 shirts and you can print whatever the hell you want on them (as long as it’s one colour). 5 runners up will a tee & merch pack! Bonus!

• Comp closes Friday, April 11th at Midday. Winners will be notified shortly after. U.K winner only (unless you have a U.K shipping address).

• Our decision is final! No spamming but feel free to enter more than once! This is not a photo contest, but if you send us good photos of your merch, then we’ll also share them across our social. It’s a win-win situation! (We also reserve the right to use any photo entered across our social pages – FREE PROMO).

That’s it – good luck and have an awesome week!

Jhon :)

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HOW WE MAKE YOUR AWESOME BUSINESS CARDS: Photo Blog!

April 4th, 2014

YO!

The joys of having Tom Joy around are that a) he takes awesome photos and b) he knows that all awesome photographers/businesses/classy gents/refined ladies need awesome business cards to promote themselves. In this photo blog, we’re gonna combine both of these things and show you how we make an awesome rectangular promotional device. Rock on.

Meet Stanley, he’s the most valuable member of our team (and the sharpest).

Watch the magical machine do its laminating thing.

Sam checks them to make sure they’re awesome.

They are awesome, that’s good news.

This is a laminated business card poster. Possible new product. 

Meet the awesome business card chopping machine!

Business cards all cut up and nearly ready for action.

They still keep on coming. Well done, business cards.

Ta-da! Awesome business cards!

Pick a card, any card.

Warren didn’t help at all with his awful elephant impression.

There you have it:  a look into how we make your business cards. One more thing: we now offer awesome laminated business cards! These are for the even classier gent/even more refined lady. We’ll be launching LOTS more business card options throughout 2014.. tweet us if you have any queries/suggestions!

Cheers!

Jhon :)

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PS: Here’s a couple of bonus GIFs.

 

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BRAND NEW PRODUCT: Introducing The Nipple Tee (April Fools’ Fun!)

March 31st, 2014

Hello!

As promised over the last few days, we are proud to introduce a BRAND NEW PRODUCT and the first of our in-house custom cut garments: ‘The Nipple Tee‘. Fresh onto the scene for Spring/Summer 14, the Nipple Tee is the hottest (and coolest) garment of the season.

 

Dubbed  ‘The Sassiest T-Shirt Ever Made’ following it’s debut at London Fashion Week, we’re happy to offer it up for customisation. You can choose not only your preferred nipple diameter but also your desired nipple spacing to make sure you get the perfect fit!

Buy 50 Nipple Tees for only £195 from our website!

Thanks to Leeds model, Adam Stockwell, for coming into model them on his day off. You can pick them up directly from our website. Tweet us using the #NippleTees tag and let us know what you think! More in-house custom cut garments coming soon.

Have an awesome day!

Jhon :)

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PS: This of course was an April Fools’ gag! You can find the full photo set on our Pinterest page.

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AWESOME MERCH CAPTION COMP: WIN £100 OF MERCH!

March 31st, 2014

Hey!

Are you funny on the internet? Do you want to win £100 of merch? Then we have just the competition for you! This is what you need to do:

• Follow us on Instagram.

• Comment on THIS INSTAGRAM PHOTO with your most hilarious caption.

• Please: ONLY ENTER ON INSTAGRAM.

• The best answer will win £100 to spend on whatever you want from our website. Nothing offensive please!

• Competition closes this Friday, April 4th, at 3 p.m and the winner will be notified shortly after.

• That’s it. Good luck & have an AWESOME week!

 

Jhon :)

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FLATSTOCK 43: Eleven Things That Made it AWESOME!

March 26th, 2014

Hello friends!

One of the best (probably my personal favourite) parts of SXSW is Flatstock. Flatstock is where the world’s leading poster artists come together under one roof and sell their posters and other printed paraphernalia. Flatstock 43 took place at SXSW this year and I spent hours trundling round the various stalls, letting my eyes feast on the artistic goodness. Here’s the eleven things that made it particularly awesome!

1) THE UKPA I-SPY GAME

Yup, the dudes from the UKPA set up a game where people had to find symbols on posters around Flatstock and then they’d win some sticker packs that we’d printed. I was gonna play, but was too hungover and Graham from Army Of Cats just gave me the stickers. Anyway, super inventive. Love stuff like this.

2) ANNOYING SEAN MORT

Sean Mort works at AM but is also one of Bolton’s leading poster artists. He always does very well at Flatstock and it was really fun to hang out at his booth and see how positively the public reacted to his work. I mainly hung at his booth coz a) he had chairs b) he had sweets. I think he got kind of annoyed when I pretended to be him and he definitely got annoyed when he ran out of Dr. Pepper.

3) THE FLATSTOCK BBQ

The aforementioned Sean Mort invited us along to the Flatstock BBQ! We walked the three miles out of town to the Industry Print Shop (really cool print house) and stood around drinking beers and eventually eating BBQ’d things. It was cool to meet some of the rock stars of the art world… if Sean Mort was an art rock star, then he’d definitely be Bono.

4) PRINTING SHIRTS AT THE FLATSTOCK BBQ!

Didn’t think it could get anymore awesome than free beer and sausages? Think again! We all had a go at screen printing shirts by hand… we have automatic machines at AM, so it was a bit different for us. Luke did super good as the pictures suggest. I did OK too but then again, I was a screen printer for 3 years. I didn’t say that before I had a go though!

5) MICHAEL HACKER

I bloody love Michael Hacker. His art is rad and he’s a super nice guy. He also gave us one of these ‘It’s so Austin To Be In Awesome’ posters he made. Apparently due to his Austrian tongue, he got confused one night after a few drinks, and got his sentence befuddled. This print was born. Anyway, check him out.

6) MEETING NEW ARTISTS

We already know a few of the artists from years gone by but it was really cool to meet Daggers For Teeth and Horse this year. Both lovely chaps and super-talented artists. Horse told me a great story involving the Irish, a remote Malawian village and a massive coincidence. That’s his story though, ask him and I’m sure he’ll tell you.

7) U.K ARTISTS ARE TOTALLY POPULAR

We embrace all nations but like when a U.K football team are playing are in Europe, it’s cool to see your British brethren doing well. Then again, I support Mansfield Town, so this football analogy sucks. Go check out Sean Mort, Telegramme, Luke Drozd, Army of Cats, We Three Club and Daggers For Teeth. Horse doesn’t count coz he’s Irish. We’ll meet the other Brits next year – just as long as Austin stops selling us beer.

8) WE THREE CLUB SELLING LOADS OF AWESOME MERCH SHIRTS

Remember a while back, we asked We Three Club to make us these rad shirts? Well, Chris, the little rascal, brought a few along and sold ‘em. Hopefully there’s some dude in Paraguay sporting an AM shirt. Or maybe a nice lady from Lithuania? Anyway, it’s cool and we think this is awesome.

9) THIS STUPID BREAKING BAD KOOZIE

Charlotte spotted it, we both bought one. I now have a collection of around 25 koozies. I don’t even drink beer, honest. We saw another one that we thought was a wine koozie, before a laughing girl just told us it was for a big beer. Always learning.

10) GETTING TO LOOK AT POSTERS FOR THREE HOURS 

Let’s face it, if you a) like music b) like art, then there’s nothing better than spending three hours walking around looking at gig posters designed by very clever people. In fact, we went twice and walked around three times. I only bought six posters this year. I have no room left in my house. Might have to use the ceiling.

11) FREE STICKERS!

I know we print stickers all day, every day but I LOVE FREE STICKERS. I think I always will. My girlfriend hates them coz I stick them on our furniture… but wood is boring and stickers are awesome.

Thanks for reading this post – remember that buying a screen printed poster is for life and not just for SXSW. Frame it and love it forever!

Jhon :)

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