I am please to announce another expansion of the blog!. As of today, merchandise is available through Redbubble, with all profits going to the “Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association UK, and the Memorial Garden in Mepal.
Since becoming President in November last year, I have been, I suppose concerned, about how, as an Association, we move on and leave a legacy and tangible memory of the Squadron for those generations that follow.
In discussion with members of other squadron associations, it became very clear that the ‘traditional’ method of memorabilia creation and selling simply does not work. In simplistic terms, you pay for something to be made, you need to sell them all to make anything and very quickly the small devoted members of the association becomes pressurised and begin to disengage as they are bombarded more and more with the tacit responsibility of buying the ‘latest thing’ to contribute funds to that particular group. Indeed, one member of another association told me simply ‘ don’t bother, it will bankrupt you’…..
A chance discussion with a friend at work led me to an online portfolio site called Redbubble. A significant feature of this site is the ability to attach artwork to items and then make them available for sale. The beauty of this model being that Redbubble charges a flat production fee for the item and you (the artist of the work) decides what percentage you want to add on top for your own profit – or in the case of my plans, rather than profit – donation to the UK Association and Garden.
I will jump straight in at this point and level with you all – I have levied 25% on the price of everything – the artwork is good quality – some has taken me a while to produce – and its all for a good cause, which I would imagine if you are reading this, must be close to your heart.
Coming from a design background and now teaching it at a UK university, its nice to have the chance to do something creative, related to the bog. I am keen to not only appeal to aficionados of all things 75(NZ) RAF, but also hopefully create things that have a wider appeal – people might buy something and then be inclined to find out about the story behind the item, or they might simply like it and buy it.
Some pieces, such as the colour Squadron crest is clean crisp and I suppose I would describe as traditional in terms of its style and appeal. Other items are more graphic and perhaps will appeal to a different market – if this widens their appeal and helps more items to be sold – I am happy with that. Irrespective of the style or content however, I can assure you all that the designs will be considered, respectful and commemorative of the Squadron and the boys that flew with it during the War.
From my time in the world of professional design I am acutely aware that it’s better to get somebody to buy something if they like it, rather than if they feel politely obliged to buy it. If you keep doing things people like, they will (hopefully) keep buying things…….
The readership of the blog is large and geographically diverse – I hope if not straightaway, everybody might find something they like and maybe make a purchase.
As I mentioned at the top of this post, I have been wondering about methods to raise funds for the Association here in the UK. As time passes and our few remaining veterans eventually leave us, I think personally, that as an Association we have to take on the responsibility to reach out as widely as possible to ensure the story of the Squadron is mot only maintained, but taught to younger generations. We need to identify some projects, perhaps commemorative memorials at Squadron crash sites in the UK, but of course, to undertake this sort of activity, we need funds. Whilst a straight donation model is still a nice way of giving, your are at the whim of the individual to some extent – personally, I think that if you are something of a quality, people will want it, rather than feel they must take it.
Hopefully this has at least got you curious.
Visit my Redbubble portfolio here – as a guide, in the first instance you see designs, rather than purchase items – by clicking on a particular graphic, you will see the available items – for some designs, the options will remain limited, others as you will see, offer quite a range to tempt you.
I hope you find something you like