Alright, I have some big news for you about the future of BM. Unfortunately, it’s not the exciting/fun/cool kind of news... it’s the other kind.
So I’ll cut straight to it: we’ve made the decision to close BMLA and merge the US webstore back into the AU webstore.
It goes without saying that this has been an unbelievably challenging decision to make. In getting to this point there has been a lot of discussion, a lot of emotion, and a lot of sleepless nights. It’s really not a decision we wanted to make but we’ve had to make the call. I know this will affect a large number of our customers so I wanted to write this blog post to keep you in the loop.
What has lead us to this decision?
1. The drastic drop in the value of the Australian dollar
When we first opened the US store, the Australian and US currencies were pretty much valued the same. We knew there would be currency fluctuations and we expected them, but we didn’t expect the spectacular dive in the Australian dollar that we saw last year. For some companies this is not a big deal, however, for a place like us that manufactures and distributes locally it really messed things up. US customers ended up paying more from the US operation than from the Australian operation. We found ourselves in the absurd situation where it was cheaper for sharkies in LA to buy clothes made in Australia than to buy the exact same garment made 10 minutes down the road.
2. The US site is too expensive for the Aussie and international sharkies to shop on.
On the flip side, after the drastic currency drop, US prices soared and it became an extremely unaffordable for Australian and international girls to buy from our US store.
This meant that any products we sold only on the US site would simply get passed over by most sharkies. The US only products sold, but they just didn’t sell as many as they could have or should have. Even though many girls wanted these pieces, they were reluctant to actually buy them, knowing that they were paying a lot more simply because they were being made in the US.
This meant we couldn't split our product range across both sites and had to replicate every single product across both operations. Not particularly efficient.
3. The US customs issue has (pretty much) disappeared
Something very important happened on March 11th 2016. The US government raised the minimum for customs taxes on products going into the US from US$200 to a very respectable US$800. Basically, the US government figured out what the boys in Las Vegas have known for years - that if you’re going to fleece someone, you might as well fleece big spenders. The upside here is that the only US customers who are going to get hit with taxes by buying Black Milk from Australia are those putting in individual orders for over AU$1000, and that doesn’t happen often.
So that’s where we are at - we have been making the exact same clothes in two different locations and selling them at two different prices. Now that the customs thing is no longer really a thing it really doesn’t make sense anymore. We will start winding the operation down next week, so Off Beat will be the last collection produced by BMLA.
In conclusion, I want to mention a couple of really important things:
First, a massive thank you to all the US team. I always loved my visits to LA and you guys gave it 100% every day. I will definitely miss you guys.
Second, an equally massive thank you to all the sharkies who supported BMLA, you stuck by us, and that means a lot to me.
Lastly, please understand that we are certainly not giving up on our US customers. No way! We will continue to promote BlackMilk in the US, we will simply be directing all our US customers to the one website.
And, don't worry, we will continue to do events and fun stuff in the US - parties, pop-ups, cons, and more. Promise. :)
All the best.
P.S We've made a list of helpful FAQ's, check them out here.
Let the blogging begin!
1. There's a fun little story behind this little bad boy:
And when I say bad boy, I mean the jacket, not the dude (who may - or may not - be an actual bad boy, I just don't have that kind of information at hand).
So the story goes like this, one day I decided that I wanted a deconstructed blazer. If you know your fashion history you'll know that the great Giorgio Armani changed fashion forever by deconstructing the men's blazer.
Of course, being BM, we had to spin it in a BM way, and that means a beautiful vibrant print. And there are not many prints as vibrant as the Teal Galaxy! So we made this!
I loved it, however, I was a little concerned that due to the galactic vibrance of the print people would mistake me for a magician. I'm not sure why that was such a big concern for me - after all, it's hard to imagine too many downsides to being identified as a magician (disappointing young children when they learn the truth perhaps?), but for whatever reason it ended up in a sample sale, where it was procured by the gentleman below:
I'm working on a women's version as we speak. :)
2. You know what I think is the coolest thing about this bomber? The sheer fabric makes it look... ghostly. :)
3. If you haven't yet followed Black Milk's Periscopes, please do so now. :) You get to see cool stuff. Not to mention a lot of weird stuff, if that's your jam (I bet it is.)
4. Did I mention that the inspiration for 2016 is 'Girl leaves Woodstock and heads over to Studio 54'?
Of course, if you head from California and head out towards New York, you are going o have to pas through Nevada. And you don't drive through Nevada without stopping off at one place...
And I'm not talking about Barstow.
Of course, we're not stopping on the way... BECAUSE IT'S BAT COUNTRY, DAMMIT!
5. Anyway, I don't want to give away too much about the March Collection, but I will say this - just thinking about it puts a smile on my face. :)
I have no doubt you will absolutely love all the clothing...
5. Speaking of Nevada, last week, I went to Vegas.
Sin city indeed...
If you, however, prefer the darker side of things... yes, you'll love March - but you'll just die for June...
You know who you are... be ready.
A massive thank you to the crew from Uncle Joe's who smashed out the most awesome coffees imaginable at our last Sharkie party in Brisbane:
And I'm not just being nice for the sake of being nice - if you're a coffee lover and you haven't had a latte from Uncle Joe's, then your bucket list is not yet complete. Of course, I'm speaking from experience, on Saturday I may have had one or two lattes. And by one or two I mean... definitely not one or two.
Expect to see more fun in the BM Cafe next year. :)
6. Even though Black Milk is based in Australia, I don't want to play up the whole 'Oh look what big scary animals we have here" thing.
But seriously, last week this is what one dude saw on the side of his house when he came home from work.
These are the kind of risks we are willing to take for you, dear customer. That's why clothes manufactured in Australia cost so much more - danger money.
7. Remember the Vegas cut swimsuit?
We made a version where we eliminated the seam at the bottom of the bust straps. I made a houndstooth version of the it, and I liked it but didn't love it. So I canned it.
Okay, maybe I love it now.
8. Sometimes in the middle of all the ups and downs, the frustrations and the hard knocks of running a less than perfect clothing company you get to the point where you ask yourself why you do what you do.
I suppose that if we can make every girl who dresses in BlackMilk smile like this - it's worth it. :)
9. The Pamela Swim... why?
Why not, I say.
10. SYDNEY SAMPLE SALE!
We're coming back, and we're bringing boxes upon boxes, upon boxes (upon yet more boxes) of samples with us, for all of you to enjoy. All the details are here - so check them out, we wanna see you! We're even going to be hanging out at the Pool Bar at the Ivy from 6pm Saturday night. Excited to catch up with some Sharkies and show you some upcoming sneaks... so be there, or be... missing out on all the fun, I guess.
Hello Black Milk luvvas!
Welcome back to the blog where we talk about all things related to the tight + shiny clothing brand that we know and love. :)
1. He just looks so damn happy...
2. Shiny fabric info!
So as you might be aware, we have got a new fabric for our shiny leggings. The kind of stuff we are known for - silky smooth, shiny, and stretchy. Pretty much happiness for your legs. If you were one of the many peeps who snagged a pair of shinies from our Doctor Who collection, there's a pretty good chance you already have that goodness on your legs right now. If not, I hope you will in the near future.
In the next few weeks, we are going to see a return of a whole bunch of classic BM shiny leggings in this new fabric, and I think you are going to love them!
A few people have asked me "Is it sheer?!"
Let me put it this way - if you are looking for a fabric that is ultra light and stretchy which will stay 100% opaque while you bend over in front of a spotlight wearing your favourite pink leopard print undies.... yeah, that isn't going to happen. The solution is simple - seamless nude knickers and avoid bending over in front go bright lights if it's washing day and you are down to your last leopard print undies. :)
And on a side note, I do know that there are some who confuse sheer fabrics with fabrics that show VPL. For the most part, the whole point of a stretch fabric is to mould to the shape of whatever it covers. In this case, your legs. Of course, these fabrics will also fit to the shape of your underwear. So the larger the bumps in your underwear (seams, binding, folded over fabric, etc.) the more visible they will be on a tight shiny fabric. Again, simple solution, some nude seamless knickers and your booty will be... safe as milk. :)
Anyway, the most important thing is that the shiny is back, and I'm very excited about it. The fabric has an amazing hand feel and is unbelievably comfortable.
All our shiny leggings that we release from this point on will feature this fabric. :)
3. Sharkiecon news!
First, the bad news. Unfortunately we are not currently in a position to do a full blown, knock your socks off Sharkiecon/birthday party this year in Brisbane. I wish it weren't so.
A massive apology from me to all those who were excited about coming along this year, unfortunately we just haven't had the resources to really do it well, and so we are having to postpone.
Now the good news. :)
One the weekend when we were planning on having Sharkiecon, we are going o be having two special events. The first will be a 'Donuts and Coffee' shopping experience at BMHQ where you will get access to an exciting new swim collection as well as the December collection.
You might even see something special from this super talented dude.
And there might be another little special event happening that day.
But what's the point of buying an adorable swimsuit if you have no glamorous swim pool party to wear it to?! So we have one of those happening as well.
(You don't have to wear your swimsuit to the party, just whatever BM you feel like rocking. But it will be stinking hot...)
And the last good news (drum roll, drum roll) in 2016 we are really going to start getting serious about Sharkiecons. I have already started scoping out hot spots in Bali.... ;)
4. Because sometimes 'fitting in' is just not that high on the priority list.
5. We have done a LOT of mermaid in the past... I wonder if there is room for one last mermaid. Just one...
6. Maybe we need to do a winter Sharkiecon somewhere snowy?
That view is truly breathtaking.
7. NEW SWIMSUITS ARE ALMOST HERE!!!!
And I am rather excited about it.
100% reversible bikinis? Yes please.
8. Apparently we "just have to" make this dress...
So we did. ;)
9. Do you even Periscope?
So Periscope is this cool new thing that Twitter have going. Basically it's a live streaming app that allows you to MASSIVELY OVERSHARE EVERYTHING - WOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!
To be honest, I'm not sure how much longer we will use it. It's kind of fun, but is a little bit overshare-y.
If you want to join the party, check it out here.
10. I have begun work on the new collections for next year. I think you guys are going to love what we have coming.
The inspiration is 'Woodstock babe heads to Studio 54'. :)
Picture this: You’re at your desk, working away, and you hear an excited shout from somewhere in the office:
“The TARDIS is here! The TARDIS is here!”
And you run over to find your co-workers jumping up and down with excitement around a blue Police box, while the delivery guy just looks on in complete bewilderment.
Welcome to a normal day at Black Milk HQ.
Today, we’re going to give you a look behind the scenes of the craziness that was our Doctor Who lookbook shoot – aka our biggest licensed collection for the year.
The concept for this shoot was pretty simple – we wanted to recreate scenes from iconic episodes, and give them our own special Black Milk spin. (Here’s a fun game for all you Whovians out there – see if you can name all the episodes these scenes are from!)
The execution was, as always, not quite as simple. For some scenes, we decided that a little Photoshop / green screen magic was the best way to go. For others, it was all about old-school props – like hundreds of sunflowers, for example.
Then, when BBC Worldwide Australia & New Zealand said “Hey, we have this TARDIS you can borrow – do you want it?” the answer was obviously “Um…yes. Yes we do.” Can you say game-changer?
So we had our plan, and we had our Type 40 time travel capsule. Now all we needed to do was shoot…nine scenes in one day. Simple, right?
On the plus side, we didn’t need to leave HQ for this shoot, as we had everything we needed in the warehouse. Still, knowing how much we had to get through in one day, it was a super early start for the team.
Can you guess which scene we started out with? Here’s a subtle hint:
Next, it was time to pay homage to the favourite food of a certain Eleventh Doctor:
Our models, Abbey and Yani, weren’t quite as keen on this combo:
But they were good sports.
Next, we set Gallifrey on fire:
Brought a banana to the party:
And put Abbey in a cardboard box.
Ah, the glamorous world of fashion!
Our next shot involved a bit of flower arrangement.
(Our models may have been getting a little tired at this point.)
Finally, it was time to nail our hero shots. As you can see, photo shoots involve the use of a lot of complicated, technical equipment… such as a hairdryer.
Oh hey, who is that making a little cameo appearance?
I think jL is actually communing with the Nylon Gods here.
To show off our amazing TARDIS Inside Out Dress, we wanted to create an image that was something like an epic movie poster. And after some painstaking adjustments to lighting and positioning, a good amount of smoke-machining, and some expert Photoshop work by our Graphics team, we ended up with this.
And that was a wrap. As we packed up and got ready to head home, there was really only one thing left to say…
Love, Team BM xx
I hope you are enjoying our Halloween release this year. It is a little different from most Halloween releases we have in that it is driven by a really strong narrative element. I think it adds a really fun element to the collection, and I'm really happy that so many girls have connected with the collection.
However, a few girls are interested in a little more information about the story behind the collection and have asked if I would be able to give a written outline of the story I told at the early access event in Brisbane. Very well, your wish is my command!
So here it is, a brief summary of the original story of Lady Anarchy. Enjoy :)
MY LADY ANARCHY
Gather around, my pretties, for we have a tale to tell. A tale of romance, and grief. Of madness, and transformation. And the technical difficulties of making a huge wallpaper wall come to life.
Today we’re taking you behind the scenes of our biggest shoot this year (so far…) – our epic Halloween collection. This release is all about the mysterious, dangerous world of Lady Anarchy, and bringing that world alive.
Who is Lady Anarchy? She is a neo-Victorian, steam-punk-esque figure, born of whirling gears and clockwork parts…and probably a whole lot of caffeine, because she came straight from jL’s latte-fuelled imagination. You’ll learn plenty about her in the days to come.
For now, let’s talk photo shoot. The first thing we needed to do was recreate the setting of Lady Anarchy’s story – the dark, enigmatic Blacklock Manor.
Luckily, the perfect setting was right here in Brisbane – the 110-year-old, heritage-listed St Andrews Uniting Church. The Neo-Romanesque architecture, gorgeous stained windows and original pipe organ easily lent themselves to a Victorian manor atmosphere.
So, we had the location on lock. The second thing we needed to do was find our Lady Anarchy. Enter Stephanie. The moment we saw her porcelain doll skin and gorgeous red hair, we knew we had our model.
After weeks of prop-sourcing, shot planning and several megalitres of coffee, the big day arrived. The shoot team gathered nice and early at St Andrews and set about transforming it into Blacklock Manor.
Meanwhile, Maria and Meg, our very talented hair and make-up artists, worked to turn Stephanie into our heroine.
The first shot of the day was a scene that takes place before our heroine's arrival at Blacklock Manor, so we used a different, brighter part of the church for this one. It's the very first scene in our lookbook, so it was super important to set the tone straight away.
(Pictured: NOT setting the tone.)
It can be pretty challenging to shoot in front of big, bright windows with all that morning sunshine coming in, but luckily we had a giant reflector up to the task – not to mention Elizabeth, our awesome photographer.
Next, it was time to set up the Table of Weird Things.
There’s something super creepy about dolls…
One of our favourite scenes is the wedding between Lord and Lady Blacklock.
Here is our beautiful blushing bride…
And her, er, groom?
Yeah, we were a little lacking on Lordly types at this shoot. Luckily Jenna happily stepped up to the plate.
Day one was almost over, but not before we saw the transformation of Lady Blacklock into Lady Anarchy. We’ll leave those images for the lookbook, but here is a little teaser…
(How amazing are those steampunk accessories, by the way? They were kindly loaned to us by Lady Brass).
Day two was shot in the warehouse at BMHQ. Once again, the team assembled to create photo shoot magic.
The biggest magic trick of the day? Creating a living wallpaper wall.
You can’t tell here, but there are no fewer than five people behind that fabric, holding it in juuuuust the right position. Shoutout to Jenna again, who agreed to have her arms covered in paint and stand in that position for a good hour or so. What a trooper.
It was all worth it, because the shot turned out amazing.
Another technically difficult shot involved the use of an old favourite prop – the vintage bathtub from the Disney shoot.
(Note Stephanie’s stripy slippers. Who says style and comfort aren’t synonymous?)
As you can see, getting this shot required some serious acrobatics on behalf of our photographer.
And a lot of people holding a lot of things in place.
At a certain point of the day, we were a bit worried that our model really WAS transforming into the terrifying Lady Anarchy…
And everyone was getting a little tired…
But the results spoke for themselves.
This was probably the most cohesive, full-scale story we’ve ever told for a Halloween collection in terms of the narrative itself (like, I’m pretty sure jL is turning it into an actual novel). So the question everybody was asking going into this shoot was: will we be able to do that story justice?
We like to think so.
Until next time…
Love, Team BM xx
Hey Sharkie community!
jL from Black Milk here, very excited to blog about all the exciting things that are going on a BM at the moment. Grab yourself a bag of chips, a bottle of Mountain Dew, and another bag of chips, because we have a lot to talk about!
1. September collection: BACK TO THE FUTURE
Remember this awesome movie?
I certainly do. It made me want to ride a skateboard, wear a puffy orange vest and drive a DeLorean (none of which I actually ever did, so disappointing).
We hope that you will find our September Collection just as awesome. :)
You see, our September clothes are all about giving you that retro feel. Maybe a little de ja vu. (Just to be clear, this is a Black Milk designer collection, NOT a Back to the Future licensed collection!)
As you guys are probably aware, we are transitioning at the moment to a completely new (or completely old?) system of creating our collections. We are going back to strong narratives, great stories, and really romancing the releases. I'm excited about that!
Of course, because we are transitioning, there will be a transitional period - and for us, that's September. We looked over the pieces we had coming out in September and asked ourselves - what unifies theses pieces, if anything?
The answer was that there was some element of 'throwback' in all the pieces.
The most obvious one was this:
So we decided to take that as our starting point and envision this collection as 'Back to the Future'.
That means you are going to see a lot of things that remind you of great pieces you have probably seen before.
Now, because we are this transitional month, we aren't going to be able to really tell the story as powerfully as we would like to. Not to worry, it's still a fantastic little collection (I think it's around 26 pieces?) and I'm sure you will find a couple of pieces you will love. ;)
2. So after we have gone Back to the Future, we are going to spend a Night at the Museum.
This idea started off as a little ammo, and then got all growed up - and it's now a beast!
We started off with the idea of bringing back a couple of museum items to celebrate my birthday (Happy Birthday?! Your present is clothes - for other people!)
However, after talking to lots of girls who felt sad that they had missed out on clothes since the weekly releases, we decided that we would give the Sharkie community an opportunity to have another crack at their favourite pieces.
And so we did. :) So Night at the Museum features the clothes we are bringing back for my birthday AND some pieces from the weekly drops. There are some limitations because we are not using any shiny fabric at the moment, but rest assured, a lot of those shiny leggings we have discontinued will be back once we replace our shiny fabric (which we are really close to doing!)
3. I noticed someone posted this pic. This was one of first pairs of printed leggings I ever created!
It was made form this artwork:
Cool, huh? Maybe worth a revisit. I made a swimsuit with it as well:
I still have a special place in my heart for this swim. It was either the first or second one I ever made, I sewed it myself and it took around 2 hours! (Sophee, if you are seeing this, love your pics, thanks for modelling for me!)
3. Speaking of voting on things coming back... this little bad boy seems to have generated a bit of buzz. It is what we call the Black Hole Swim:
UPDATE: The artwork we used for this piece doesn't have great resolution, so we need to rework it a bit. Be patient, you'll see this again once we can enlarge the art!
4. Hello Los Angeles! We have been slowly doing more events in LA, and one of them was a recent pool party at the Roosevelt!
I think I need to visit LA. How does next week sound?
And another thing - Angelenos, get ready for a SAMPLE SALE.
Because it's happening! :) Details here
5. I'm not sure if people realise how much it means to us when peeps take the time to something as simple - and as powerful - as to express something positive, kind or encouraging about the job we do.
It means a lot. Working in an independent fashion company isn't easy, and when people take the time to say something nice about us, well, it's pretty special. :)
And we will never say no to donuts...
6. Do you Periscope!?
Imagine if you could tap into live video broadcasts from Black Milk every day and see sneak peeks, cute outfits, and the Black Milk team generally just having a blast - all live! Well, you can. :)
Q: What is Periscope?
A: It's a live feed app that allows you to receive notifications when someone you follow (Black Milk in this case) is broadcasting, allowing you to get into the feed and watch it live!
It's connected to Twitter, so if you have a Twitter account it's pretty easy to sign up. Check it out here.
p.s. I know a lot of girls see this stuff and think "ANOTHER social media thing I need to get.... ugh... srsly..." But this one is really fun. Give it a go, I think you'll love it.
7. What is this I hear about Sharkiedam 2015?!?!?!
Poling on poles!
Hanging out with Vincent!
Um... doing this... thing.
Well, my friends, it seems that Sharkies love to travel to cool places, and have a good time - who am I to stand in the way!
We see pics like this all the time that get us excited about bringing girls together for good times:
I know there has been a lot of talk about the future of Sharkiecon and Black Milk events in general. It's really simple, we are kind of in a transitional period as a company so we don't feel like we are in a position where we can do great events and feel confident that we can really nail it. However, we are in the middle of building an awesome new events team at the moment and I am confident we we will succeed.
Stick with us guys, the fun times will roll in 2016. ;)
Having said that, we will be having a big Sharkie party in November for our birthday!
8. Okay, let's talk about Green Galaxy. Peeps love green Galaxy, and here's why:
We were going to bring back some Green Galaxy clothes, but then we thought "Hey, there is so much love for Green Galaxy, why don't we create some brand new GG stuff, and let the Sharkie community vote on what they want to see?!"
Watch this space.
9. GYM! This got sneaked and girls love it.
It's moving to the top of the list...
Remember all the way back to 2014 (it’s been a while, I know) when we did the Lost Puppies collection?
We donated $1 from every collection piece you guys bought to the RSPCA. And guess what? In the end, we raised more than $10,000. That’s a whole lot of happy pups.
We were so excited about this that we decided to do it again. This time, it’s personal. No wait, I meant to say cats. This time, it’s cats.
One thing we’ve noticed about BMHQ is that there is a disproportional amount of cat lovers here. Seriously, you should see how much cat-themed stuff is around this office.
So it only made sense that we teamed up with RSPCA once again to help out our kitty friends. And so begins World Cat Day!
What is World Cat Day, you ask? Well, just like with Lost Puppies and Shark Week, we’ve released some special cat pieces in today’s drop. We will donate $1 from every cat piece sold to the RSPCA!
Last week, we kicked things off with a visit to RSPCA’s Brisbane Animal Care Campus in Wacol. BM staff went out to meet some kittens and chat to RSPCA staff about the awesome work they do.
And to do a bit of this:
And on Saturday, we hosted an RSPCA pop-up kitten adoption centre right here in our concept store! Can you imagine the chaos when BM staff members were told “some of you get to come to work and play with kittens all day.” I’m telling you, the claws came out. It was a cat-astrophe.
Image by: Sam Collins
“No, I iz the cutest!”
Image by: Sam Collins
“Want to touch the shiny…”
“But Black Milk,” I hear you say, “I want to give even MOAR money to the kittehs!”
Well you totally can! Tuesday 17th August is RSPCA’s Cupcake Day, which is a super important day for them – generous people all over Australia eat cupcakes and donate money towards the hundreds of thousands of animals the RSPCA helps out every year. Raising funds through the power of deliciousness = awesome.
So, in summary, there are three ways you can raise much-needed money for the RSPCA:
1. Grab one of our World Cat Day pieces. We will give $1 of your purchase to the RSPCA, and you get to wear cats on your bodeh. Win-win.
2. Host your own Cupcake Day party, nom cupcakes. Also win-win.
3. Donate to our Cupcake Day event through our Everyday Hero link. We get a sugar rush and put that extra energy towards making more amazing clothes for you. ALSO a win-win.
Love, Team BM
(Bonus crazy cat with Crazy Cat Lady toasties!)