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We’re Back! Musings, Moans and Motivation.

Well this has been an interesting few months! In March, in the middle of our huge sale, I left the studio not knowing that it would be the end of July before I returned. The plan was to focus on my side job (as a care worker) for a few weeks until this old pandemic business blew over, with my lovely friend and studio mate Sophie fulfilling your orders. So that’s what we did, except the weeks turned into months and I found myself honestly thinking that this was the end of House Of Bats.

In fact, it very nearly was. This pandemic has cost this small business hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds – wholesale orders stopped completely, sales dropping as we were unable to restock items or even to keep up with our social media posts and advertising. I’ll be honest, there were times I genuinely began drafting a ‘goodbye’ post. I just couldn’t see a way to keep the business going and frankly I had lost a lot of the drive I had. Working up to 70+ hours a week caring for the most vulnerable people, the thought of going back to designing and selling gothic jewellery seemed somewhat facile. This feeling grew, and soon putting on makeup seemed ridiculous, buying myself new clothes seemed pointless, and even having a relaxing bath with a nice bath bomb seemed an inexcusable waste of time. I mean, what was the point? People are suffering and I’m spending an hour soaking in the tub when I could just have a 5 minute shower and go back out there and help some more?

If you are familiar with House Of Bats you may recall our Abandoned Spaces collection, which is a series of glyphs/talismans designed around my experiences with depression. My depression is rooted in a strong sense of self-inadequacy. I am never good enough, never doing enough, everybody else is more worthy of love than me. These destructive thoughts were starting to take over again, but this time fueled by a genuine world crisis. Somewhere in amongst the long hours, the stress and the tears I lost myself for a while. The people I care for started to notice – asking ME if I was ok, if they could help ME! This snapped me right back – how could I care for others without first caring for myself? In the words of Ru Paul, “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”. I took those long baths, I bought myself new clothes, I started putting makeup on again, and slowly I was feeling more and more like me. I started longing to be back in my studio, back working on all the new products I had planned pre-lockdown. I realised that without this creative outlet I was a shadow of my former self, and my care work was suffering because of it.

So here I am. Happier and healthier, and ready to move this business forward one little step at a time. This pandemic is far from over, people are still getting sick and dying and my little wobble here is in no way meant to diminish that. My experiences are a world away from the pain and anguish that millions of families are suffering around the world. But maybe you’ve experienced similar feelings in this strange time, and maybe knowing that you’re not alone will help.

Look after yourselves folks, I truly truly mean that.

Oh, and wear a damn mask.

Love,

Anna Bat x

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New Studio!

We’re just a few weeks into 2020 but already so much has changed for us, the biggest thing being that we finally have our own studio! No longer are we working out of our home, now we have our own studio in an old mill building in Leeds and it’s wonderful. Being self-employed is stressful and it honestly takes over your life, you can never truly switch off and relax. This is amplified when you are literally working from your home – I can’t count the number of times I told myself I was finished working for the day, only to keep glancing at my desk from the corner of my eye and 10 minutes later finding myself sat there doing ‘just one more task’.

House Of Bats Studio
Our studio – it’s not glamorous but it is ours!

Moving House Of Bats into the studio has meant that now when I am home I am truly at home – there is no desk there, no supplies…if I decide to do ‘just one more task’ it means hopping in my car and driving 20 minutes and honestly at the end of a hard days work that’s the last thing I want to do! Now you might think that not having everything to hand would make me less productive, but frankly the reverse has happened. The distractions of my sofa, of the household chores to be done, are all gone. Plus, I’m no longer on my own – I share the studio with 2 fellow small businesses. Honestly I am an introvert, but even I was finding myself feeling increasingly lonely working alone at home. Here at the studio myself, Sophie of Silly Loaf and Amy of Red Paper House are able to support each other through the tough times and celebrate the successes of our respective businesses. Though our styles are rather different, we all experience the same struggles and having the support of my friends has encouraged me to forge ahead with my plans for the business at a far faster rate than I would have done on my own.

So far, just a few weeks into being in the studio, I have designed 2 new collections (early stages folks, don’t get too excited yet!), designed and released a range of greetings cards via Thortful and revamped my wholesale catalogue – all while keeping on top of orders, social media, admin etc. Not bad going, if I do say so myself!

Has the new year brought big changes for you?

Let me know in the comments,

Love,

Anna Bat x

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New Year, New Collection!

Happy new year bats! It’s the start of a new decade, and while others are looking to the future we are busy being inspired by the past with the launch of our Memento Mori collection.

The Memento Mori Collection
The Memento Mori Collection – modelled by Zoe Melissa Mae, photography by Black Star Photography

We’ve been working on this collection for the longest time, visiting cemeteries, attending lectures about victorian mourning culture and binge watching the Ask A Mortician series on YouTube (highly recommend you check it out!). The result is a collection we are really proud of, featuring tombstones, skeleton keys, a cemetery silhouette scene, cemetery gates, a memento mori plaque and – FINALLY – skulls!

Yes, after all this time House Of Bats finally has skulls! Honestly, the lack of skull products has been somewhat of a source of shame for us so we are thrilled to finally add such a gothic staple to our catalogue.

As always, we used 100% recycled acrylic, all our products are designed and made here in the UK, everything is vegan friendly and 10% of all profits go to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. Plus, don’t forget that you can get 25% off your first order (including this latest collection) when you sign up to our mailing list!

Thank you all for all your support in 2019, keep following us on social media because we have so many plans for 2020 and would love to have you along for the ride x

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Introducing The Bathory Collection!

Vampire Teeth Blood Drop Necklace

We’re delighted to present to you our long overdue latest product drop – The Bathory Collection. A range of jewellery designs themed around classic vampiric imagery, inspired by the cult classic vampire flicks of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.

Vampire Teeth Blood Drop Necklace
Vampire Teeth Blood Drop Necklace, with Blood Drop Earrings

The Bathory Collection is named after Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian noblewoman from the 14th and 15th centuries who was reputably a sadistic serial killer who bathed in the blood of her victims to retain her youth. Kind of like a vampiric spa treatment, if you will. She was even nicknamed ‘Countess Dracula’.

The truth about the Countess is likely to be less salacious than the gossip, but the story is compelling all the same. Vampires hold such a special place in folklore around the world, a perpetual legend that speaks to the dark heart of us all.

Cross Blood Drop Necklace
Cross Blood Drop Necklace and matching earrings

We’ve been working on this collection for the longest time, and are thrilled to be able to finally showcase our hard work. We hope you love the pieces as much as we do – let us know what you think!

You can check out the new collection here, or see our entire product range here.

Anna Bat x

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London Edge

This September is London Edge, an iconic trade show for alternative fashion and lifestyle that’s held twice a year – and this time we’re attending!

Click the image to register to visit

We’re really excited to be exhibiting at such a fantastic event, showcasing our product ranges to wholesale buyers and social influencers. We’ve sold to wholesale clients for a number of years, but never actually exhibited at a trade show before so it’s more than a little daunting! We reckon we’re ready for the challenge though, and are really looking forward to meeting others in this industry.

If you’re going to London Edge drop us a message! It would be lovely to have some friendly faces to see while we’re there.

You can find details about the trade show at www.londonedge.com

See you there!

Anna Bat x

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50% Off Everything In Store!

We don’t hold sales all that often, but when we do we go big! There’s currently 50% off absolutely everything, but like all good things it does have to end. The sale will end at midnight on Sunday 30th June (British time) so be sure to grab yourself a bargain before then! Don’t worry if you do miss out, there’s still a 25% discount code to be had when you subscribe to our mailing list, plus free UK shipping when you spend £30.

Meanwhile, we’re busy working on A LOT of new designs, so make sure to follow us on social media for the latest news!

Anna Bat x

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World Goth Day 2019: Sack The Gatekeepers

World Goth Day 2019

Today is World Goth Day, a small but growing movement celebrating gothic culture. There are events going on around the globe (check out www.worldgothday.com for details of events in your area) and in theory it’s a time for goths of all shapes and sizes to get together and embrace our common interests.

Sadly, the reality of the gothic culture isn’t such a happy image (yep, poor wording but you know what I mean!). Gothic culture is suffering from a seeming epidemic of so-called ‘gatekeepers’. People who are so protective of their opinion of what ‘goth’ is that they spend their time denigrating anybody who dares to differ from that while still calling themselves goth. Dress like a goth but don’t like the music? Out. Like the music but don’t like the fashion? Out. Like some of the music but not others? Out. Cyber goth? Nu goth? Industrial goth? Pastel goth? Out out out out. The list goes on.

Now this may sound harmless and trivial, but in actuality it can be really damaging both to the individual under attack and to our culture as a whole. A lot of the time, mainstream society is a pretty unwelcoming place for us goths – you only have to read the story of Sophie Lancaster to see that – so imagine how it must feel to be rejected by both mainstream society AND the gothic society which you feel should embrace you? Are we really willing to reject people for being ‘different’ without seeing the inherent irony there?

If you keep in touch with world events it won’t surprise you to learn that there is often a racist element to this gatekeeping too. Far too regularly we see posts in social media claiming that you can only be goth if you are white. It’s difficult to put into words how disgusting that is. Not to mention monumentally stupid. Look at the history of music and try tell me that goth music would have happened without black musicians. Look at how heavily gothic fashion has been inspired by African designs (the most obvious example being the Egyptian Ankh). But that’s almost beside the point. Racism has no place here, or anywhere.

Goth is a subculture with a wide range of facets, full of interesting people with interesting ideas. Part of the joy of being goth is finding beauty in everything and embracing people’s differences. So sack the gatekeepers, break down the walls, and celebrate the diversity that makes us all wonderfully, weirdly goth.

Love,

Anna Bat x