After four years of making merch as Illogical Pins, I have now rebranded to Liz Makes Merch! Thank you to everyone who has stuck around since my early beginnings on Twitter for supporting me on this exciting journey. I thought I would take this time to explain why I wanted to rebrand in the hopes that it might inspire someone down the line. Sit tight! This is long.
The decision to rebrand comes from a need to reinvent myself - to realign my identity as a creator with the direction I would like to take the business to. Since the pandemic, my focus has since shifted from enamel pins to making tote bags and stickers. I struggled with having the name "Illogical Pins" when I was not producing as many pins as I did before and with the whole branding of it being so intrinsically tied to figure skating, I felt limited by what I could produce. Of course, I could have still kept the "Illogical" part of my branding, but my online identity also began blurring with my real life. Eventually, I felt that the "Illogical" branding did not suit me anymore and so, I now go by Liz Makes Merch.
"Illogical" came from a time where I wanted to be mostly anonymous on the internet. I didn't need my face to sell my products, and neither did I believe in that either. I have always been a very shy, introverted person until I went to media school and slowly, I began to open up. Funny how a viral video of you going to the Genshin Impact Cafe changes things - and I thank TikTok for that.
I will be the first to say that 12.6k followers on TikTok is not a lot. But it is the platform where I have the largest following - my IG and Twitter barely have a tenth of this large number. Fame and recognition, no matter how small an amount it is, has been a very odd thing to grapple for me even as a media practitioner. I get recognized when I go to the rink and my colleagues know who I am before I'm even been aware of who they are. I can no longer escape the fact that people can put a name to my voice and what I do on the internet. In part, this played a role in my decision of reconciling my online identity with my real self and name. Am I terrified that I will get cancelled one day over what I have said in the past? Yes. But at the same time, if it ever comes to it, I'm able to say my piece without any confusion as to who I am and what I represent. It is a double edged sword I won't lie, but I also did not spend seven years in media school and internships for nothing.
Liz Makes Merch is very pink. It's a colour the more tomboyish child I was would have baulked at. However, I've come to embrace how much I love it now as an adult and the aesthetic of the brand being sakura-themed gives me an immeasurable amount of joy. There's a special place in my heart for sakura - I saw them in their full glory just before the pandemic hit during my graduation trip. I will never forget how magical it was. And it's also no surprise that my favourite Yuzuru Hanyu program is Haru Yo, Koi.
Sakura and spring represent new beginnings. As I've reached my fourth year creating merch, I've also come to realise that merch is like sakura - it represents a fleeting moment in time, a passion that someone wants to show to the world. Not everyone will stay interested in figure skating, for example, but the fact that people are so passionate about it as to buy merch? That, to me, is precious. For a small moment in time, my work has made someone happy and I think that has always been my driving purpose for continuing this business.
I won't lie. I'm terrified of what's to come. I only have my final year of university left and I've taken one of the biggest risks I could take as a business - renting an office. Now that Liz Makes Merch is also officially registered, there's paperwork and taxes to do. There have been so many questions raised by my family, friends and even employer as to what I want to do in life and why I was even doing this. Do I go into the working world or am I going to take this business full time? Even now, I do not have an answer. But I what I do know is that I love making merch. I love running a business. I will try my best but at the end of the day, if all this business becomes is a side project, I would be content with it too. Who says I can't have a day job while running a business and being a content creator? One of my main inspirations is Cristine from Simplynailogical who is a Canadian civil servant, nail polish brand owner, and a content creator. It won't be easy but then again - I have been running Illogical Pins as a student, content creator, intern and Communications Manager, haven't I? Well, we'll see.
More importantly, I wouldn't have had the courage to rebrand without the support of my customers, new and old. It has been a pleasure watching this community grow and go through so many things together and the support for my work has always been overwhelming. It still astounds me that almost 4,000 packages have left my hands - that's about 1,000 a year! So, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart all the way from the little red dot of Singapore. I hope that you will still continue to support me as I continue to grow, learn, and figure out my identity as an artist and designer. It is truly an honor to have touched the lives of many people in such a small way, in this fleeting moment. To quote my favourite line from Genshin Impact, "Should the day ever come where we are not together, you will continue to shine like gold in my memories."
Liz Makes Merch is new. It's shiny and here to stay. In the next year or so, I will be trying new things and basically starting all over again. Of course, I will still keep my figure skating roots near and dear to my heart, but I will be making more merch about the things I enjoy - both original and as a fan. So expect Genshin stuff, fish, and a LOT of sakura. I also intend to do as many local conventions and makers markets I can this year. I hope that you will continue to support me in these endeavors!