Happy Pride month everyone! I thought for the first blog post of the month I would tell you a bit about the origins of Memeow Cat! You may have noticed the Memeow logo has had a Pride makeover, with Memeow exchanging his usual red lightning bolt for a more appropriate rainbow one to celebrate Pride Month.
When I was coming up with a logo for my business I knew that it would have to feature a cat as Memeow – is a combination of Meme and Meow! (I’m a cat person who loves a good meme) I wanted to give the logo more of an identity/character, thats when I had the idea to give Memeow a red lightning bolt, inspired by David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane look, one of Bowies most iconic and recognisable images. Bowie often challenged gender norms with his androgynous style, he wasn’t afraid to be seen as odd or eccentric and was true to himself.
In the logo Memeow is smiling with his eyes closed in a state of peaceful contentment, this symbolises the vibe I aim to create with Memeow Blog/Gifts , where everyone feels welcome and free to be themselves.
At the end of last year I set up my own LGBTQ+ Inclusive Greetings Cards business Memeow Gifts, Here are 5 reasons why I decided to start my own business!
I was unemployed and looking for work after finishing a temporary job. As any job seeker knows you can spend hours upon hours on applications to receive little to no responses! (#Rude) I was relaying my job seeking frustrations to my partner who asked if I had thought about setting up my own business perhaps with the help of The Prince’s Trust. I had considered running my own business previously but I wasn’t completely familiar with The Prince’s Trust. My partner also inspired my main goal with Memeow Gifts, LGBTQ+ Inclusivity. We had both previously struggled to find appropriate cards for each other for birthdays, anniversaries, valentine’s etc. As mainstream shops rarely cater to the LGBTQ+ market this seemed to be a gap in the market worth exploring.
2.The Prince’s Trust
I followed up my partners’ suggestion and reached out to The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Trust is a UK Charity that helps young people (11-30 year olds) with getting jobs, training or starting their own business. The Trust responded to my application swiftly and I began their Business Enterprise programme within a few weeks. Through out my Prince’s Trust journey (so far) I have found the staff extremely helpful and supportive every step of the way, from the 5-day initial business course, to helping with my business plan. Since I have now passed all of the stages of The Trust’s Business course I have been assigned a business mentor for 2 years. I meet with my mentor once a month to discuss how the business is developing and to address any business related queries/concerns I might have. I find these sessions with my mentor incredibly useful as my mentor is very supportive and helps me to progress with my business.
Being an Artist who had studied Animation and Design, I wanted a creative outlet/job that allowed me to put my skills to good use. As many artists/creatives know, attempting to break into the creative industries can be a near impossible feat with the incredible amount of competition out there. So setting up my own business has allowed me to further explore and follow my creative passions.
4.Be My Own Boss
Having previously worked various temporary jobs, I liked the idea of running my own business to have another source of income to fall back on. I’m a big believer in a having a few iron’s in the fire, where possible. It’s true being your own boss has risks, but don’t all jobs? There are quite a few benefits to working for yourself, for example being able to work from home, flexibility of your working hours and freedom to make decisions.
5.Represent the community
Lastly being a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself I feel very proud to create products that represent and cater to the community. I do hope to keep adding to the collection of LGBTQ+ designs as the business grows, as I strongly believe there is just not enough LGBTQ+ representation out there currently, especially in mainstream outlets, representation is gradually improving but its still not quite there yet. My hope with Memeow Gifts is that I can make some impact on changing this!
I recently attended Troye Sivan’s Eventim Apollo concert in Hammersmith, with my partner. This concert was part of the Europe leg of The Bloom Tour for Troye’s Sophomore album ‘Bloom’.
One of the first things I noticed when I got to the concert was the amount of LGBTQ people/couples in attendance. Being gay myself, my partner and I often refrain from PDA when out and about due to fear of getting attacked or judged. Something as simple as holding hands in public is still a real issue for LGBTQ folks, even though the world is slowly changing and becoming much more accepting!
However in this atmosphere, surrounded by many other members of the LGBTQ community, Troye’s concert felt like a safe space. It’s a hard feeling to describe to a non-LGBTQ person, a kind of fitting in/belonging that I haven’t really experienced before. I haven’t attended any pride events yet but I’m guessing a very similar feeling is experienced at them. I will soon see if this is the case, as I have stall booked for Memeow Gifts (my LGBTQ inclusive greetings card business) at Warwickshire Pride in August! ?
… Anyway back to the concert!
Troye Sivan’s frequent songwriter/collaborator Leland was the opening act, who has also written songs for artists including Selena Gomez and Allie X. I wasn’t previously familiar with his own music but was very impressed with his voice/performance and have since been streaming his songs (I recommend Middle of a Heartbreak, Run Into You and Mattress).
Then it was Time for Troye! Troye opened up the concert with Seventeen, which is also the album opener for ‘Bloom’. Troye gave an energetic performance throughout the concert, as soon as the curtain dropped after ‘Seventeen’ he burst into the bouncy high energy ‘Bloom’ followed by ‘Plum’.
The highlight of the evening for me was when Troye sang ‘Heaven’ a song about coming out, while also trying to reconcile your faith/belief, “Without losing a piece of me, How do I get to heaven?”. Unbeknownst to Troye some dedicated fans had placed envelopes saying “Open Please” on every seat in seated areas, which each contained a paper flower. There were 6 different coloured flowers distributed around the venue. The instructions included with the flowers said to place the flower over the torch on your smart phone when Troye started ‘Heaven’.
To Troye’s surprise, when he started singing ‘Heaven’ the venue before him transformed into a rainbow sea. This was a lovely moment, pretty much the whole audience was involved and it looked AMAZING!
Troye also performed versions of his recent collaborative songs ‘1999’, ‘I’m so Tired…’ and ‘Dance to This’, which he managed to pull off without the assistance of his collaborators (Charli XCX, Lauv, Ariana Grande).
Troye came across as very genuine and down to Earth throughout the show, getting the audience to sing Happy Birthday to a fan in attendance and exclaiming how he felt like he was in the ‘Lizzie Mcguire Movie’.
Me and my partner had a great evening at the concert, which came to a close with the tracks ‘Youth’ and ‘My My My!’.
It was awesome show all in all and really refreshing to see the concert of an unapologetically queer pop artist, something we will hopefully see much more of in future, To quote Lizzie McGuire “Hey now, Hey now, This is what dreams are made of”.