sweet-thang zine needs your support!

by Zoe Thompson in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

sweet-thang zine needs your support!

Total raised £1,691

£6,500 target 41 days left
26% 44 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 27th July 2024 at 10:00am

sweet-thang zine would love your help to go into production for our 8th issue and sustain our mission!

by Zoe Thompson in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

Hi all, it's Zoe here - creator of sweet-thang zine! 

I'm here because sweet-thang needs your support to produce our 8th issue and sustain our mission ahead of plans to expand and grow as a business and community. 

This is quite a nerve-wracking thing for me to do, but if I've learned anything from growing this platform over the past 7 years is that community is powerful and asking for help is necessary, imperative, even, for sustaining and enriching ourselves and each other. 

sweet-thang is an arts and literary zine and indie press celebrating work by Black creatives worldwide, based in the UK. We publish zines that uplift, archive and advocate for the voices of Black folks, particularly fostering a space for women, queer and trans folks. Started in 2017 as a volunteer-run endeavour, I am dedicated to nurturing marginalised writers and artists through the power and magic of zine culture. sweet-thang’s mission is to champion diverse, alternative media! 

I have been running it as a one-man team for the majority of its existence, and among creating online content, replying to every email, editing work, designing issues, funding print, maintaining our website, hand-packing and posting zines, it is an understatement to say that it's been challenging at times, often putting myself at the brink of creative burnout. 

Picture: Front covers of all issues of sweet-thang zine 2017-20222

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Our story

sweet-thang has been entirely self-funded since the beginning. (Just to give some context, issue 1 was funded via my 18th birthday money!) Issue 1 came out when I was completing my A-levels - I actually remember going to the post office after exams to post zines! It's truly been a personal DIY project that has morphed into a larger, independent space. This zine has grown just as I have grown - from an excited 18-year-old to now, at 25. 

Since 2017, we have independently created space for expression, opportunity and connection to combat the lack of representation in publishing and invest in emerging voices. We’ve grown a worldwide readership, published over 160 Black artists + writers and led zine workshops/events/collaborations with arts venues and institutions.

And what a 7 years it has been! Highlights include being stocked nationally and internationally, participating in numerous zine fairs, hosting zine-making workshops across the UK, shipping copies of issue 6 to individuals in South Africa, Australia, Japan, the US, and the EU, and speaking at the Tate Lates in January 2024. These highlights, alongside people's support, have been what's kept me going.

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Navigating the cost of living crisis:

Ultimately, the cost of living crisis has stalled a lot of growth. Due to rising print costs, we haven't been able to produce a new issue in two years, and we've faced multiple rejections from funding applications, including two from Arts Council England, in which the level of competition has grown post-Covid.

It also feels important to bring up the abnormal year that was 2020. As this period marks 4 years since the death of George Floyd, I am brought back to a summer when brands, organisations and individuals were "waking up" to the importance of anti-racism work, and DEI efforts were on steroids. 

It was a year that so many of my peers and other Black artists were at the receiving end of commitments and pledges to support and invest in Black talent/spaces, but where is all of that support now? Numbers have dropped, and investment from funding bodies is dwindling. But those Black artists, authors and businesses are still here and still making valid, impactful work.

This is our first time turning to the public and our community to ask for support to keep going. 

An insight into our mission for growth

We've recently announced that we're expanding our platform to become an indie press - meaning we want to work with writers, artists, collectives and researchers to publish multiple projects each year, alongside our annual sweet-thang issue. This is such an exciting expansion because it allows us to work more collaboratively with our community, and bring our mission to more readers.

We've also had a brilliant past three years of hosting regular zine-making workshops with charities, arts institutions and festivals and we want to continue doing that.

Our vision is to craft sweet-thang's international presence, considering a significant proportion of our readers and contributors are outside of the UK, namely in The Netherlands, Germany, and the US. This is to fully brand ourselves as a hub for Black DIY Creativity, everywhere.

With events, workshops and publishing projects, I firmly believe sweet-thang can be a sustainable, exciting community dedicated to platforming Black writers, poets, artists and everything in between.

How you can support 

This crowd funder is here to make these ideas possible, starting with the launch of our 8th print issue, on the theme of 'DREAMING', which will thematically explore how we can reimagine new worlds through collective dreaming and making. 

With £6,500 we will be able to cover:

  • The cost of a print run of 250 zines (£670)
  • Zoe's labour as editor and designer (8 days @ £150 per day)
  • Creative Assistant labour for comms and admin during the submission period (3 days @ £150 per day)
  • 20x commissions for issue 8 contributors @ £150
  • Eco packaging and postage materials (£50)
  • Marketing and design software over 5 months (£100)
  • A launch celebration event with panel speakers (TBC)

Donations are open for any amount, whether you can only afford £1 or £5! Additionally, check out our Reward tiers if you want to get your hands on the first copies of issue 8, or purchase ad space.

Any extra made will go back into the sweet-thang pot to fund future publishing projects, event costs and paying the artists we work with.

Other ways to support:

  • Hire us: for zine-making workshops, arts talks, creative events
  • Buy our most recent print issue, issue 7 by clicking here
  • Click here to check out our website (and have a read of our past print issues)

Thank you for making it here, for reading these words. Any donation of any amount will be incredibly helpful. With so much love, Zoe xo

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£15 or more

Tier 1: Get one of the first copies of issue 8!

If you pledge £15, you will get your hands on one of the first copies of our 8th issue!

£25 or more

10 of 50 claimed

Tier 2: Issue 8 + free digital copy before launch

Be one of the first to read issue 8 with a hot-off-the-press physical copy AND a free digital copy sent out before launch.

£250 or more

1 of 4 claimed

Tier 3: Face in the news! Single page Ad issue 8

Attention large businesses and agencies: pledge your support by purchasing a tier 3 reward, which allows you to promote your product or service in a single page in issue 8! Want to speak to our audience of Black creatives aged 18-34? Want to reach a worldwide readership? Do you run an annual positive-action scheme that you think our community should apply to? Are you an advocate for radical publishing? Are you just a really lovely human/brand?

£500 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Tier 4: Face in the news! Double page Ad issue 8

Attention large businesses and agencies: pledge your support by purchasing a tier 4 reward, which allows you to promote your product or service in a double-page spread! Want to speak to our audience of Black creatives aged 18-34? Want to reach a worldwide readership? Do you run an annual positive-action scheme that you think our community should apply to? Are you an advocate for radical publishing? Are you just a really lovely human/brand?

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