Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sep
10

10 Questions to Lukas Zpira

Posted by Disha Singh on September 10, 2020
 

Disha: Lukas you are as explained by BMEzine Encyclopedia; body modification artist, nomadic performer, documentor of the contemporary fringes and one of the major figures of the contemporary underground. Do you agree? And what more can be added to introduce you to the audiences in India?

Lukas: It’s quite a flattering introduction! Yes, I have always been involved in many kinds of subculture. I am what we can call a transdisciplinary artist, meaning I work on a lot of different mediums. I started doing different artistic experimentation back in the 90s before starting to work on the body.

I also do photography as well as documentary and spoken word. I think what can describe the link between all my works is the idea of working with the limits, the boundaries, and the social impact of a work.

I thank you for the opportunity to present my work in India which is a country I was always interested to visit and never had the chance to see so far.

Portrait by Maria Issa – Bali 2019

Disha: As I mentioned BME, the fallen king’s death was one of the saddest news for me after he lost BME. I think many do not know/remember him, would you like to say few words about Shannon Larratt.

Lukas: I had a complex relationship with Shannon, he was the first one over sea to support & showcase my work. At the time everyone was on BME.

It was good but also had it’s downside. It was the place to meet talk exchange but at the same time, it was a microcosm through which many were living without having a grasp on reality. Many people tried really hard to exist on bme, to be recognised & recognisable. Even the system of IAM (the social network within BME) was pushing this dynamic to get 15 minutes of fame.

We always disagreed on that and on the consequences among Bod Mod enthusiasts, but we always had a mutual respect. Without BME the scene wouldn’t be what it is nowadays. I felt really sad when I heard Shannon got ripped off of BME by his -at the time- wife and staff.

A lot of questions were still pending, that I never had the opportunity to talk about with Shannon, so when he lost the website I decide to take the opportunity to have a fiar talk with “the fallen king”. I did an interview with him, during which I could point out our disagreements and we could share our POV.

Shannon was a father figure for many, who ended up a little bit lost when he lost the website & passed away a few months after. The scene changed and slowly became an industry. It is hard to say so little about a man who did so much, so if you are interested to read more about him, here is the full interview with Shannon.

Disha: Your performances have evolved a lot over a decade. Can you highlight some advancements that can give the depth of the latest happenings and share your experiences from some of your memorable performances?

Lukas: Though my performance exploration took many ways, I mostly explore body suspensions since the past 15 years.

It started as an exploration and slowly became more and more an “in depth experience”. Though the performances were well received and my work respected, it always felt a bit frustrating for me, often feeling the public was often missing the point as no matter what I tried to express most of the people focused on the hooks, the blood, the pain. In 2009 I started to conceptualise a new approach, trying to find a way to share the experience with the public. In 2011 I found a team of hackers from Italie Spectre who developed for me the programme for a bio feedback performance. That was the first version of Danse NeurAle .

With started to monitor different body responses to the experience (heart beat, breath, brain waves) and used it to create an immersive sound and images installation. The idea was to have the public see the changes inside me during the performance. It worked pretty well, but not as I expected. When we did this first representation I was already on stage as people entered the space, I was equipped with a microphone inside the mask to amplify my breath and a stethoscope for mthe heart beat. I noticed the people arriving, speaking, laughing, but very quickly started to hear my breath, then whispered. Then they could heard my heartbeat and so they became quiet.

I was without realising it at first creating a natural organic connection with the public. I had a fantastic feedback of this performance and for the first time they spoke of the “experience” they had, not about the pain and hooks or blood. But still, I noticed that I was losing something as the public was sitting in front of me watching images projected on screen that put them through an intellectual process. So I redesigned this performance in order to emphasize this organic and intimate connection I had with the public. It took me many years to find a programmer who could understand what I was trying to achieve and willing to work on my performance. In 2018 I met David Chanel from Theoriz (www.theoriz.com) in NYC and again few months after in Tokyo with whom I started to develop Danse NeurAle 2.0. In 2019 I found a venue to present the Beta version. Since a month we are working on a new emulation and have added to the team Remi Cambuzat who is developing a robotic part through which a piece will be created live using also the datas generated during the performance.

In this new version I am in the center of the room and we created a complete immersive environment designed with my body responses through which the public can go through. The lights are changing, sound is evolving & there are abstract representations of my datas all around me. The space become an extension of my inner self, through which the public can wander. An organic experience rather than an intellectual one, at last. From the beginning to the end the public is intimately connected on an emotional level with me.

Disha: I want to talk about the music in your performances. Is it truly being derived from brain? Can you throw some light on this for music enthusiasts. [Please, Share some video as example]

Lukas: Everything is generated by the data we collect during the performance.

The algorithm my team created interprets the information collected (brain waves, blood pressure, body temperature etc) and transforms them into different sounds that change depending on how all those information evolves. We created a basic pattern and the algorithm does the rest.

Here is the link to the first version of Danse NeurAle, as well as the beta version of DNA 2.0 we presented last year here

Photo ©Guillaume Niemetzky

Disha: It’s very rare we’ll be able to find, can I know who and how does Lukas spend his work break at home? You wear bracelet in your hands can you tell what is it made of and it’s significance in your life.

Lukas: Well ! when work and passion entangle, there is never “off of work” time. I have been living a nomadic lifestyle since +20 years, traveling months at time with my daughter Mayliss, it is a constant reflection of life and thoughts. Traveling is part of my work rhythm, going to new places, encountering people, creating content. Rather it be photography, performance, workshops. China, Canada, New Zealand, USA, Mexico, all those places have the same value to me, they are home away from home, traveling means also to get out of the comfort zone, a concept that influenced & attracted me. It is not an easy path, it’s just the only one I know. I am my own walking manifesto and the bracelet among other artefacts are statements of that. It’s often in Avignon I come back too. Enjoy the amazing culinary culture of South of France. I read a lot -on the phone- about many subjects & books, as well as a lot of cinema. Sports daily, photography often, also I am a great cook! (laught) Always on the move, but never stressed. I like to keep busy with creative stuffs !

Disha: Please can you enlist your tattoos and body modification with any symbolism or any event attached to them.

Lukas: My first tattoo was my arm and chest biomechanical tattoo.

I guess it was some kind of representation of something i had in mind, this hybridization was the first thing that came to me when I did my first piercing. Inspired by comic books & some darker superheroes. Then I started to do bod-mod so it was kind of a logic to do these tattoos, it was really like giving some kind of shape & aspect of this hybridation. After it evolved slowly, I don’t even remember in which order I did the rest of my tattoos (laught).

I know I did my face and hand pretty “late” because it had a lot of impact on the social level. It’s something different. As long as you have a tattoo that you can hide, like under suit -I used to wear a lot of suits- of course I had some piercing and so on, but nothing so visible, there you can still disappear somehow, but when you do the face or the hand, then you go toward something else.

I was in the state for a few months, far from old europe – was then, still isIn the US it was a bit more common to see hand and face tattoos and I knew from my experience it was completely different in europe. I started there to do my implant on the forehand with Steve Hayworth, then tattooed my chin, then slowly my hands – well not slowly actually, pretty fast (laught) Xhead did the work on my hands. He’s one of the pillars of the full Black Tattoo style- When I came back to Europe with really visible modifications, I thought it was going to be something difficult to live with on the regular bases & somehow I discovered it was kind of the opposite.

You know … when you don’t have anything and you start to get tattooed, people try to take you back somehow ”what are you doing?!” “Are you sure?” they always ask. Everybody has opinions about what you should do & how you should do it. Problems & regret you will have because of it, they try to pull you back from it. Somehow, as soon as I arrived with my face & hands I was “on the other side” already, so suddenly I had less problems.

For me these tattoos are important. I use symbolic for everything, all my tattoos have a meaning, something metaphorique i couldn’t say “this tattoo is this, this tattoo is that” but to me they all mean something.

They are all a part of a story I want to tell to myself and also to the spectator, the witness.The people will see my tattoo & Bod-mod, it communicates ideas about oneself Our body communicates: the way we use our body, the way we walk, the way we dress, everything.

It’s like a dialogue through body language, so somehow the tattoo is a part of this, i guess. Or maybe something else, something more.

Yes, my tattoos are meant to create something inside or outside me, something I want to keep forever in my memories, or some coat I want to use to create interaction with others.

Often people say “yeah the problem with tattoos, it closes a lot of doors & opportunities” when actually the only doors that are closed are ones I anyway didn’t want to open. To be honest it opened me much more doors than I could have imagined.

I Am lukas Zpira because of my tattoos & because of body modification, I am answering this interview because I have these tattoos and body modification, I do a lot of things because of that. It opened a lot of doors, the dialogue with many people I would never have had the chance to speak with.

Disha: Bødy hacktivism or body hacking is coined by you (who else could have done that) can you write few words for someone who knows nothing about the world of body modifications or suspensions?

Lukas: That’s a pretty interesting and complex question!

Body modification and body hacktivism are pretty much two sides of the spectrum. The history of Body Modification starts with the beginning of humanity, humans always transformed themself one way or the other: scarification, tattoos, from every culture, every part of the world, people used to transform the body.

Using the body as a tool to other means, the purpose wasn’t to modify the body in itself but to mark something, a rite of passage, done often as a ritual or to heal. To create a print in the mind through the work on the body as a means to get to the soul. All these cultures have been lost, pretty much with the religions of the books arrived, they whipped out those practices to put new rituals and took the sacred we had in us. Decentralising the body. Putting the sacred it in churches, temples, or whatever. We have been ripped off from our spirituality somewhere in the process.

Let’s move forward to back in the 1970’s with Fakir Mustar. A Californian guy, who starts to take all sorts of traditional practices, gathering all the information he could see in magazines such as Nat Geo and books. He recreated practices such as Suspension-For those who don’t know about suspension, to break it down it is about putting hooks in your body and getting suspended by those hooks. The ritual is not about the pain involved but overcoming it to access higher spiritual grounds, this particular form refers to Native American.

From there he reproduces it, kind of instinctively. Out of necessity.

Others were also attracted by that kind of practice, and slowly it created a movement : the modern primitive, which was the first movement to bring back this culture to us. It was interesting, that was pretty much the birth of modern body modification. I don’t feel connected to the modern primitive though I acknowledge and appreciate the movement because it put in light all those possibilities of practices.

For me the problem with the mod primitive is the cultural appropriation, of course it wasn’t met with bad intention, Fakir was bringing back this practice out of a need, a will to express himself, challenge himself but by doing so he was using rituals that belonged to other cultures. Taking the shape but leaving the meaning somewhere lost, still. Meaning has always been important to me, I was looking for my own meaning, that’s how I came to create the Body Hacktivism movement.

When I started to do body modification I never looked thorward the past Though I had been inspired by fakir musafar and by Leni Riefenstahl pictures in Africa, and lot of different thing we could discover through the magazines and book, it was the only hint we had to go by, there was no internet, none of this kind of practices around. So slowly bod mod came to be kind of popular as a white culture. Cause if you look at the it’s mostly white / hispanic.

The bod mod as we apprehend it now is different, is something that came to us not really as looking back to the past and trying to reproduce it, but a way to find something that has been stolen from us, this spirituality we had in ourselves. All these rituals that the tribes and primitive culture were practicing had a purpose. When we lose all these practices & those rituals we lose the purpose, and we all look for a purpose. From there people all around the world started to do/get body modifications. Of course at the beginning olny few around Fakir, a new wave started from there, back in the beginning of the 90s were all these practices started to become very popular. Piercing, tattoo, scarification, suspension. Around then Steve Hayworth created the implants, Sanon Laratt started BME, I started to practice and few around the world. Slowly but surely it became a big movement.

I was searching for meaning; questioning myself, my future and what i was going to become. Understanding my past self and what I am made of, canalyse all these energy in me, get read of what I need to, and go toward what i wanted to become. It wasn’t just the transformation of a body but the change of a self.

To be modified was changing a lot of things on a social level. I came across different texte that influenced me a lot, like Stelark. He was more inspired by hybridization, those practices being for him a way to bind with the machine and challenge the body, to become one with the machine. Testing the body in its strength or weaknesses.

I invited him in early 2000 for a conference at my private atelier in Avignon – where I live in the south of France.

The town was one of the cities to represent the European culture that year, the theme of the city was the Body. I was approached by the city as I started to be a little bit known, somewhat “popular”. I proposed to start questioning the body -or maybe to answer- all the questions I had about these challenges in regard to being modified in the modern world.

I invited various sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists at round table over the course of 6 month, to try to question a little bit everything about the body. That was Art-Kør 00.

Even before that, there was a texte from Arthur and Marilouise Kroker she wrote that caught my mind, something about the Data Flesh. As I mentioned before I was always admirative of human hybridization and the data flesh stuck with me. I started to realise somehow we are hacking the body, like on a computer. Going inside the system and changing what we want to. The ideas of hacking became evident, from there I started to use the word Bødyhacking to explain what we were doing. I went to japan for the first time, and met Rihyochi Maeda who was -and still is- the chief editor of Burst Magazine, he was documenting through it all kinds of subculture and of course body modifications.

I met Maeda at the first Mod Con that was organised by Shannon in Toronto in 99. In japan we started to talk about the singularity of my work and about ways to give definition to what we were doing & wanted to achieve with it. In 2004 I wrote the Bødy Hacktivist manifesto to define body modification as a form of hacktivism.

In the early days it wasn’t like I was craving to do a suspension. It came quite later for me. I went to the state and met Steve, who with him did my first suspension, on a rooftop in Arizona. When I was suspended up in the air, someone asked me “How do you feel?”

I said: Like a butterfly.
That was the feeling that moment left on me. Afterward I took the process for granted and forgot to take the time & put spirit into my suspension & modification. Then it’s when Iost a bit myself on the way. Doing too much suspension, in not so great places, with terrible vibs.

It took a toll on me, I was washed out. Again in the USA I met an older woman, she was descending from local Native tribes and proposed to help find what I had lost. She was my shaman and it’s her who introduced me to rituals. From there I really embraced the ritualistic approach in my performances, tacking on various forms throughout the years. My latest experimental work DNA is still an evolving piece.

D.Q. The world is going through unimagined scenario of COVID-19 pandemic. Your thoughts about it and how is your world of body modification going through it?

Ans. It is difficult to have an opinion. I am looking at the world falling apart, as I saw it coming and many of us did. Cyberapokalips nightmare That we saw the same books of science fiction that helped us to become cyborg or go toward that, we already knew the world as we know it is going to an end. Can be a pandemic but it can be anything, there is war everywhere around the world, and inside every country. People fight each other, religions fight each other, whatever is different from the other people are fighting for it. We can just acknowledge what is going on and try to do our best to go through all the storm but it is going to be a long storm, but as everything bad it inspires something good so it opens the eyes of some people to other alternatives, giving the will to others to try something new. Anyway that is something that’s going to happen, there is no one truth. The new ways of thinking, of living this world, and with each other that’s what’s going to make the change. Because anyway it’s something that is going to happen, but the change is going to be long and difficult.

The bod mod scene has also evolved with that idea that the human as we know it is not going to be the same, and thinking of this new human identity. It was a lot about that, and still is. The scene is going through this. The bod mod scene is born from that. This re-appropriation of ourselves, of the world, and try to make something new in it. It was through an individualisation, a specification: Become Yourself.

Not against others or without each other, but be good & feel good with yourself then you can resonate in the world in a better way. It is always easier to express yourself in a healthy world when you don’t need to worry about everyday life and you can start to think. Think for yourself, about yourself & the world and so on. At the moment people don’t think about how they survive, they think of going through what they have to, it’s a difficult time for everyone.

It is not really a time of self expression, though everyone as an individual is looking for a solution.

Disha: Explain the process of your performance? How much hard work is involved?

Lukas: It all evolved from a concept, the first version of DNA (see question 3&4) was created in 2009 and presented for the first time 2 years later. It wasn’t as difficult at the time I had a sponsor to back up the idea & a venue to present it.

Changes needed to be made, I searched for ways to evolve in a more organic connection and that involved creating a new setting, re-programming all the sofware, aquire the hardware, that was where the problems started.

Spectre – the digital tech behind the performance- were too busy to be fully invested in the project & will all those changes time was needed. I had to find a new team, new funds, and a new venue. It took me 8 years to be finaly to present the newest version. Then i met David who was willing to work on the performance, and for a few months we chatted about it. After long and difficult searches I found the venue where we could finally test run the DNA 2.0. I self found the whole process and still on my own regarding many aspect of this work. We are in constant evolution of the concept, have hadded members to our team, and though having now few emulation of the performance, havent been able to present yet the concept as a whole.

The constant search for finances to devellop such work or simply to find a venu where to work and present it is a real problem and constant struggle.

The data collected during this performance has immense value for reaserchers from many feild… thats an option we are now exploring.

As of now, there are not many places worldwide that have the will to support, finance & showcase the kinds of cutting edge performance I wish to create. We have yet to find an Artistic residency in a place somewhere in the world where we could work few month on the performance development and present it as I imagine it. I got the opportunity to present Danse NeurAle 2.0 beta version last year at L’Ardenome in Avignon, a place dedicated to digital art, but it was a one shot and had only two days in the venue to make it happen.

Discover more in depth infos about the performance Danse NeurAle

Disha: Have you achieved what you wanted to or there are still something pending?

Lukas: I wrote one day : “Which caterpillar would think of flying before becoming a butterfly”. When i started i was still a caterpillar so imagine what becoming a butterfly would be. I couldn’t plan anything, I just wanted to change, to evolve. I didn’t know what was after nore what to expect. Where it would take me. It’s an ongoing process. I change a lot, evolve a lot, but I still have a lot of time for more evolution. (laught) More transformation & Experiences.

The following texte is one of my many writings you can find across my social media, ideas scribbled alongside photos of my avatar floating around in the matrix.

“Everyone who witnesses it, from close or through the image they create of us has an opinion about our life. What we should do and have done or not, how we should do it or have done it or not and so on. But at the end, we are the one living it, the one facing the consequences or getting the benefits of our choices.

Though we should pay attention to those opinions as they give us the big picture of our social appearance, they shouldn’t be more than a parameter, an echo reflecting the vibration of our existence, but they should not guide us on the path we follow.

Yes I made a life of radical choices that made me see the best and the worst in myself, in others and of the world I’m living in. I have been as often admired for what they see as my success than blamed for what they imagine to be my failures. I have had friends or often people I never had the chance to meet supporting me when needed the most and expecting it the less – I have had supposed to be friends, people I thought were on my side – sometimes “forever”, some I wish i would have never met, some I hope I won’t ever, praying hard or at least expecting me to break.
Here I stand.

Whatever path we follow eventually takes us to the same point. Maybe when we cash out, life presents us the bill.

Then what ?
The answer may lie in the ability we have to keep our integrity and live as close as possible from our dreams even if we never managed to achieve them. Because at least we tried, no matter what, and managed to transform the good and the bad, everything that could have felt as regrets into unforgettable life experiences from which we shape ourselves and the world around us. “

Thank you for your time – Lukas Zpira

Some links to know more about the Lukas Zpira:

InstagramTwitterFacebook
Website: http://www.lukaszpira.com/
Body Hacktivism manifesto & more
Danse NeurAle portfolio
BløwYøurMind Photography
Nomadic Transmedia Project

Aug
17

Louis Vuitton’s Glow-in-the-Dark Bag Is still talk of the town!

Posted by Disha Singh on August 17, 2020

“Louis Vuitton is known for two things – quality craftsmanship and a symbol of luxury that never goes out of style.” The Market Herald

(Flashback)

It was somewhere in 2007, when I wrote about the Louis Vuitton Tribute Patchwork bag. I tried hard to trace the link of that blog post but I think I lost it. Anyways, that time I remember every blogger was writing hate-stories about it. It was a limited-edition, where only 24 pieces were crafted. Marc Jacobs (designer) was ridiculed for designing such bag, “He makes ‘editorial’ bags that the magazines will talk about and then he can sell the regular bags based on the hype.” Kelly Cook of Bagsnob.com (now SnobEssentials.com)

In that blog post of mine I tried very hard to show some love to LV but I could not and wrote an article titled The astoundingly priced ugly LV Tribute Patchwork Bag…

Fiber-optic wonder – the Louis Vuitton Keepall Light Up

(Today May, 2020) I was on a regular shopping mode where my eyes wide opened to see the show stopper of LV Men’s Fashion Week 2019 Fall Winter in Paris – Louis Vuitton Keepall Light Up designed by Virgil Abhol. Yes, it might be stale news for some, but I saw it and I am going to write about it. My blog my rules 😉 LOL!

Atmosphere during the Louis Vuitton Menswear Fall/Winter 2019-2020 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 17, 2019 in Paris, France.

Anyways, those who admire LV as a brand has seen its evolution and experimentations that have been equally appreciated and discouraged by the people and critics. In recent years, the monogram has undergone several manifestations as artistic directors have bid to put their own stamp on the house. First came Marc Jacobs, who enlisted the help of Stephen Sprouse and applied roses to the beloved Keepall bag in 2001. Jacobs followed that up with a Takashi Murakami collaboration, yielding the Multicolore handbag that soon became an “it” item among the Hollywood elite. It might have been nearly two decades ago, but Jacobs laid a street foundation that would change the course of the house’s modern history.

The House of Louis Vuitton has been driven by its desire to explore new horizons and give new definitions to the luxury. Luxury that is everlasting.

Last year, at Louis Vuitton’s Paris Fashion Week menswear show 2019, Virgil Abloh put his own unmissable light on the monogram and introduced us to their fiber-optic wonder – the Louis Vuitton Keepall Light Up.

SPECIFICATIONS

It is a cabin size masterful reimagining of LV’s original soft travel that light up to display a luminescent version of the iconic Monogram motif. Activated and controlled by a smartphone app, the colors can be adapted to one’s look. The innovative jacquard weave of optic and synthetic fibers makes this bag as beautiful with the lights off as on.

With a cowhide-leather trim, matte-black hardware, double zip closure with padlock, adjustable and removable leather strap, leather nametag, and leather handle fastener; it is a sheer luxury for oomph.

There is an inside central zipped pocket with inside side zipped pocket to protect battery as well.

And it weights around 2kg including battery when it’s empty. You can comfortably pack your stuff for a week’s travel.

PRICE

PRICE of Louis Vuitton Keepall Light Up is around 17.20 lacs INR or you can say approx. 1900 Euros.
WATCH FULL SHOW : Paris. Men’s Fall – Winter 2019

 

 

May
13

Confession of a lovely partner

Posted by Disha Singh on May 13, 2020
vardish couple image

It’s true! Men is know by the company he keeps… same is the case here. Today, I’m going to write a confession post of a partner who understood how gradually couples start to shout and yell at each other. And why you are taken for granted over a certain period of marriage.

Especially during this phase of lockdown the vent outs have increased further. There is confinement, work stress, distressed news updates and anxious thoughts about future.

But when I look back at our table talks with friends I see that it had become usual sight that couples sit and complain/pass subtle insults about each other in front of friends though it is casual but it is socially accepted now. Jokes are cracked and now this whole scenario of husband and wife tiffs have become a content of regular mainstream jokes.

It’s just okay if one yells at other and other is poking for one task or other. But have you (couples) ever paused and thought… do you like it? Do you loose your cool when being provoked/poked or this thought never came to you that why we loose our cool most of the times.

I sat down overnight to rewind my marriage of over a decade and brought few points that were worth addressing. Every moment was noted and analysed. Yes, we have changed or you can say evolved but I think it’ll be a worth read for you.

Ours was a Love marriage full of love and respect. Love still persist but over period of time respect is drying drip by drip. What happens is that when we have been together one of the partners automatically becomes a listener Oh! that never happens, I correct it here, one partner closes door to react whatever noise or fault-findings are done by other partner. So, when one is not overreacting to other comments it creates a pattern where one becomes a fault-finder and other ignores what is being said. Gradually, it becomes a vicious cycle where ones mind blocks whatever is being said by other, this blockage brings repetition of words by other partner as she never got any assertive reaction. So, many words are put in repetition to explain what had just happened … where if the other partner explains or answer nicely the situation there will be very less repetition of blame game. Here, I give you an example, husband for the geyser on after taking a bath and it happens everyday, wife points out he does not react… Then she keeps putting so many words to explain the importance of switching off appliances when not in use, and all the stories of past ignorance also build up and brought forward. Whereas, solution can be when wife points out about the geyser left on, husband can simply reply oh! will take care in future! End of conversation.

And, one point which I mentioned in beginning of this article about you are known by the company you keep; as well proves itself true, when one partner is mostly shouting for every small or big issue – over period of some years it seeps into the behavioural of other partner as well and similar loud reactions are received. Which comes as a jolt.

Another reason that I strongly feel is that we become friends and say out whatever comes in mouth – which needs a big check! This can only be checked by highly respecting the partner. It is very important. The reason for most couple-fights is nothing but lack of respect over period of time! And they just start to live in this disrespecting environment.

May
02

Quickly repair broken Crocs Flip flop during Lockdown (DIY)

Posted by Disha Singh on May 2, 2020

During this distressing phase of lockdown it is difficult to measure a problem as big or small. We know there are truly many big problems in the world but for us who are at home during lockdown broken slipper (flip flop) became a major concern since many days.

broken slipper

Then I found that many of my family and friends were sailing on the same boat. For them and other people frustrated with broken chappal/slipper/flipflop this is going to be pretty helpful.

 

Steps and Process of DIY – fixing broken Flip Flop

  1. Take a carry bag cut the handles as shown in the video. We’re going to use the bag handles as the toe thongs of the strap. These handles are water proof so for me this was the best available option at home apart from thread/cloth piece.

 

  1. Quickly cut the toe thong smooth to leave the Y-strap looking like V-strap. Remove the knob under the sole. It was difficult to do this in Crocs so I simply used my pair of scissors to do so.

  1. Next I half folded the handle and ran it through the V-shaped strap to make it Y-shaped again and pushed the bag handle inside the toe thong knob hole.

 

  1. Finally, I tied a thick and strong knot underneath the sole. Cut-off the extra material. And you have a survival slipper/flipflop ready.

Takeaway, If you can remove whole Y-shaped strap then simply take bigger piece of material measure it across the toe thong hole and the holes near the heel. Simply like a ribbon pass through toe knob hole, bring them upwards and tie underneath both holes at the back separately to make perfect Y-shaped strap.

 

May
01

5 steps to effective local marketing for small business owners in 2020

Posted by Varun Sharma on May 1, 2020
Are you having a local business and struggling to get an online presence?

Sad Small Business Owner


The below 5 pointers are the key to success. It will really help you to layout a plan and then strategize your local marketing efforts on the path to success.

  • Management of Local Listing and Local Directories
  • Local Search Engine Optimization
  • Creation of Landing Pages tailored towards your audience
  • Online reputation management
  • Paid ads and Social Media Presence

Now let us dig deeper to get more insights on the above points.

Steps to manage your local citations and business directories for local marketing:

  1. The foremost step is to set up your Google My Business account. The set up and verification process is easy. You will need a valid address, phone number and a registered business name. To validate the same, Google will send a postcard which will contain a 5 digit code. You will receive the same on your provided registered address.

  2. Once the Google My Business account is active, you need to know the meaning of the term NAP. Name, Address and Place (Location address). The NAP has to be consistent wherever you register your business in the 3rd step.

  3. Research now starts, search for local business directories or citations in your area. Make sure, you are registered with high authority and reputed websites.

Example – For US owners Yelp has been the most effective business directory and similarly for India Just Dial has been performing very well.

You can also be specific to your niche. For example, for home improvement owners and interior designers website like houzz has been doing really good.

How to find directories in your local area?
You can use the below search parameters on the search engine to find directories, I am going to use an example of an Electrician looking for directories in New York.

For Industry specific directories use below operators:

  • “Industry” directory – Example “Electrician” directory
  • “Industry” inurl:directory: – Example “Electrician” inurl:directory
  • “Industry” intitle:directory – Example “Electrician” intitle:directory
  • “Industry” inurl:links – Example “Electrician” inurl:links
  • intitle:industry inurl:directory – intitle:electrician inurl:directory
  • related:industry inurl:directory – related:electrician inurl:directory

For Location specific directories use below operators:

  • “City” intitle:directory – Example “new York” intitle:directory
  • “City” inurl:directory – Example “New York” inurl:directory
  • “City industry” intitle:directory – Example “New York” intitle:directory
  • “City directory” intitle:industry – Example “New York directory” intitle:electrician

Other important links are below, which may be of help as they are listing some Top directories:

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/web-directories-list/287799/#close

https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/10322/the-ultimate-list-50-local-business-directories.aspx

https://www.brightlocal.com/resources/top-local-citations-by-business-category/

Note: The 2 points here is to understand that relevancy to your business and location is a necessity with usage of same NAP that you have used in your GMB account in 1st step.

  1. Now once you are listed in the business directories, it is time to manage all listings. There are 2 ways of doing the same.

Considering the budget involved you can use tools like bright local and yext to manage the listing in different countries. These tools run automatic scans on all listings and will provide you deep insights on errors and rectification under a single dashboard. However, there is a cost involved as they offer different packages.

Another way, is too do it manually i.e. maintain a list in an excel file and give it a review once a month. 

How to use local SEO to boost your local marketing efforts?

Local SEO



Search engine optimization of your local business is a must, if you want to excel in your business and stay in front of your competitors.

We are going to divide this into three topics:

  1. On-page local SEOThis part of SEO deals with the optimization of your local website. It lay emphasis on optimizing your localized website pages with targeted location based keywords, having localized content that serve your users and making use of local schema and other applicable structured data to stand apart in search results.
  2. OffPage Local SEOGetting local awareness through communicating with local bloggers and raising brand awareness via directories, events, sponsorships will help in getting high authority links and votes towards your website, thus helping in keyword rankings and organic traffic from search engines.
  3. Update CitationsKeep your GMB and local business citations updated with latest videos and images. Make sure you use all features of these websites to maximum potential. For example: GMB itself allows you to post description, hours, appointment url etc to your account that can be big conversion factors for your audience.

Creation of Landing Pages tailored towards your audience:

You have got traffic, your marketing strategy to get qualified traffic is working well.
However, a website landing page which does not solve its purpose of conversion of qualified traffic, will result in a dead end and a waste of investment in terms of both time and money.

So, It is very important that the website landing pages should talk to customer in their language.

Below are some of the pointers that you can keep in mind while creating a landing page for your local business:

  1. Make your content localized to the best possible extent i.e. use images that speak to local customers, add content and location based keywords that your audience can easily relate to and make sure you describe your marketing pitch clearly.
  2. Make use of local reviews, accreditations to gain trust of the user. Remember, Trust is an important factor of conversion. You can embed reviews from GMB and other profiles.
  3. Appropriate use of CTA (Call to Action) buttons for conversion. Track your forms, phone number and email using Google Analytic. Set up Goals, monitor conversion path and then improvise on the landing page elements.
  4. Videos speak larger than words, make use of videos in order to gain attention of your local audience. It can be a customer review or a marketing pitch video by the owner or his team itself.
  5. Make sure the page loading speed and the mobile user experience is good.

Online Reputation Management – Handling reviews and Brand Reputation for local marketing

Online Reputation Management



Customer service does not only cater to getting positive reviews but also replying to the negative feedback of your customer.

Remember, all accounts and business profiles including GMB are open to reviews that can be posted from your customers.

The below points will help you to streamline your business goals and acquire a positive word of mouth for your brand:

  1. Make sure you check all the portals, social media websites and business profiles where your business is listed and reply to all negative and positive reviews., this authenticates that you are a responsible business owner.
  2. Encourage your customers to post reviews to your social media and GMB account. More positive reviews will help you outrank your competitors in terms of brand awareness and expertise.
  3. If you are running a local store, shop or restaurant then incentivize your local employees to ask for reviews in store.

Using Google Paid Ads and Social Media for Conversions and Brand Awareness in local marketing:

Paid ads is a tool which can not only help you in getting instant conversions but also in making enhancements in your business strategies as per your buyer reactions.

If you have a budget and I would surely suggest you to initiate with a trail to understand the local market and business demands.

Based on your goals, you can use Google Ads for Local Businesses to target Google search. It is an easy to use tool, where you can set your daily and monthly budget and will be charged only if someone clicks on your ads. The interface allows you to track conversion and even give you the entire data and suggestions for conversions.

In some part of countries, especially US “Google Guarantee Ads” are really helping local businesses to stand out. You can read about more information here

Another parallel strategy that you can club with Google ads for brand awareness is posting on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, whatever suits your business needs and interests. Below are some important points that you can incorporate in your social media strategy:

  • Have a Facebook Business page, Instagram account that have all required business information.
  • Post regularly on the selected mediums – Have a post schedule and set up a calendar. You can experiment for time and days based on audience reaction.
  • Boost your website content, reviews on these channels. Yes, you can use a little paid budget to grow your targeted reach. Facebook and all other channels has a sophisticated ad manager that can help you to circulate your brand voice to your selected niche of audience.

Note: Other than this, there are other channels that can be good from lead prospective. For example Yelp in US, Justdial in India and Houzz for home improvement businesses all are open for paid ads and can get you some good lead prospects.

Conclusion:

The above insights will surely be of great use if it is targeted correctly. You need to be innovative and have a fast approach in order to succeed in this ever evolving competitive world.

Aug
06

Peace to Jammu and Kashmir

Posted by Disha Singh on August 6, 2019

I feel & hear the dug-dug-dug-dug of this chopper over my head. I dunno why there is a feeling of World War in near future! 🤞

This thought is the result of recent episode towards Jammu & Kashmir. Being an outsider I feel it’s good but I do not know the scenario there… One side as a trivial spectator I feel encroachment in a way and on other side I feel this was the only solution. I pray 🙏for peace to every family in Jammu & Kashmir.

Sharing my experince in Kashmir: People there, whom I met, do not like India or Hindus. They referred Kashmir as another country. My driver was not ready to take us to Holy Shrine of Shankaracharya Temple, and the security system into the temple self explained the hardship army is facing to protect that temple.

On Dal Lake one shikaara guy said “jitna paise ka aid Government ko milta hai, agar usmeise woh log 20% bhi dal ki safai pe laga dein toh bhi kafi hai!” He mentioned this when I said why do people come to Dal Lake when it is so unclean…

So, this might be good as well as bad, god knows but we always pray for peace and happiness to all.