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Thank you for your business and loyal support!
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and holidays 🎄🥁👟
Wishing you all the very best and with much love from us here at Vratim
The Vratim Team
For the entire month of December, gift wrapping is free!
All you need to do is:
You can also leave a gift message for free as well.
Also, be sure to let us know if you would like the package unmarked on the outside.
Hope you have a Merry Christmas in spite of all that has been going on!
-The Vratim Team
P.S. Orders $25 and over automatically get a FREE Standard Drum Key as well!
We're very stoked for Francesco Sguera to be going live with his Hooplug Kickstarter!
This project has us absolutely pumped because we love seeing innovation, especially when it's in the music community geared towards drummers!
"Hooplug" is a new, first of its kind, system designed to keep your drumheads stretched and tuned both on and off the shells, turning your drums into an extremely versatile instrument. This allows you to do a lot of impressive things such as:
With three years of R&D going into this project, you can expect high quality and ease of use all polished with a made in Italy design. These guys have created all this with their own strength and it's amazing what they've achieved so far!
Great drummers like international Mylious Johnson and Brian Frasier-Moore already enthusiastically support the idea and literally say that "Hooplug will save the world!"
So spread the word, go to the page and support the project because even a small donation can make a difference!
Are you ready for the revolution? Are you ready for Hooplug?
To make this possible they need everyone's support!
This year for Black Friday we'll be running our sale starting today through November 30!
Any order containing a pair of shoes, even a blemished pair, will be able to add our Vratim Logo Stage T-Shirt for FREE!
Additionally all our accessories will be 20% OFF!
Both offers will work together AND be automatically applied to your shopping cart.
HINT: any other coupon codes you have can stack on top of this sale too!
We're excited to announce that we are now an official shoe and clothing sponsor for PinUp Artist Management / PinUp Presents along with all things related to owner Joel Haston!
The fact we're able to further cement ourselves among the music community further and continue to reach more artists feels really good. It is an honor and a blessing to be working with so many talented individuals.
Head to our Partners page to find all the links to follow and read about PinUp!
For this month's endorsed artist spotlight, we spoke with Francesco Sguera.
Francesco is one of our international artists, hailing from Italy! He has been drumming for quite a few years now most notably playing with the gothic rock band, The Strigas. More recently he has been working on an entrepreneurial project called, Hooplug - a new plug 'n play system for drums/heads (scroll down to check out the video)!
Join us as we discuss drumming, music/life during this pandemic, and get some in-depth information about the Hooplug system!
What made you interested in becoming a drummer?
I started playing drums when I was 12 years old. Actually, it all happened a bit by chance. At that time I met some guys who had just started playing guitar (one of them was Andrea, the current Strigas guitarist), I had a brand new drum kit that my sister had abandoned in the basement and so we started a band called Dish of Beans. We immediately started doing covers of Nirvana, Offspring, Metallica and all that stuff everybody starts with. As time went by, what used to be a game became a passion, especially thanks to the discovery of my biggest source of inspiration, the amazing Travis Barker. Since then, I never stopped dreaming of doing what makes me feel good, listening to tons of music and imagining that one day I would play on the big stages.
This year (2020) has been very challenging for the music industry, how have you been adapting and handling these challenges during this time?
Problems in the music industry certainly didn’t start with Covid-19. The music world has been in trouble for years and the lock-down has only brought to light a difficult situation in an industry that’s already hanging in the balance. The sudden end of live activity and in person concerts has created a huge hole and I (like everyone) feel this lack both as a professional and as a consumer.
During the lock-down, I had the feeling that if I don't structure my day or think about some project, I could risk becoming inert. Every few days I would have drops in motivation and I had difficulty getting used to the new routine. Personally, I find it easier to work towards a goal and knowing for example that in two weeks there are rehearsals with the band and in 3 months a show or a tour, that helps me to find inspiration. Luckily, I had a lot of other things to work on, so after the first period of adjustment I started to work on my projects, and I started to adapt to all these changes. I can't complain about my everyday life, so I try not to worry too much about what is going to happen in six months, since I can't know anyway, so I go ahead and try to get the results I have set for myself hoping that this terrible situation will end as soon as possible. Moreover, if I think about the frenzy of life today, perhaps such a slowdown in the pace can be considered valuable that I hope to be able to maintain in the future, regardless of Covid-19.
In any case, the web today offers enormous opportunities for those in the music industry and what I'm doing is trying to make the most of the resources and possibilities that the digital world offers in these difficult times when personal relationships are diminishing. Luckily, during the first lock-down I had many other things to work on so after the first period of adjustment I started to work on my projects and I started to adapt to all these changes always looking for ways to overcome the problems without ever breaking down.
Your main band is The Strigas, what has been its focus during the pandemic? Have you been writing new music or planning any releases?
Right before the pandemic our main focus was to record our next album and to plan a new tour, then the lock-down came. Luckily Phobos, our frontman, finished writing all the songs right on time, so since we couldn’t schedule a new tour, each one of us focused our time on recording our parts in our personal studios.
Now that the rules for live shows haven’t changed much, we're still recording The Strigas' new album and we're about to record two new releases for our side project Inner Scar, which will be an EP of covers and an EP of brand-new songs.
Everything will be released as soon as possible; we hope in the next few months.
Touring is still a chimera right now, so we're discussing scheduling an online live show for our supporters.
Have you been working on any other projects?
Currently my main efforts are dedicated to my start-up and Hooplug, my patented product that we will be launching shortly on Kickstarter. We are working hard to increase our product's performance and suitability for the needs of as many drummers as possible. In these months we are renovating the first headquarters of the company that in addition to being the logistic, administrative and commercial base of Hooplug, will also be a creative center for the development of innovative products in the music field, with a professional recording studio and rehearsal room in which we will play live sessions and produce entertainment content for all music lovers and especially drummers.
In the meantime I have also started with two other friends a small independent label / communication agency called "2+2=5 music" with the aim to support all those talented young artists who want to approach the music industry, by building a dedicated artistic path and managing all the necessary aspects to enter the market in a professional way.
Can you tell us more about Hooplug? What was the inspiration behind it and how has the development process been going?
Hooplug is an idea that changes the paradigm and maximizes the potential of the drums without limiting your creativity. It is the first universal system that turns the acoustic drums into an extremely versatile instrument. With Hooplug you can open your drums and keep the drumhead straight and tuned.
This way you can do a lot of impressive things:
While returning from a European tour with my band, The Strigas, I immediately started working on an idea that had been in my mind for some time but never had the chance to give real shape. I started to realize my dream trying to solve a need that I was experiencing myself but that I soon found out is a problem that affects most drummers: the transport of the instrument. Honestly, when I started working on this idea it was a moment of confusion and uncertainty in my life. I didn't know which direction my life should take. I was in the midst of a storm, alone in the middle of the sea...then, a glimmer of light... slowly approaching. I started rowing, by myself against everything and everyone, because I wanted to reach that light!
So, I started to research what solutions the market had to offer to solve the transport problem. I tried some of these tools and none of them really satisfied me. I knew more could be done. I began studying alternatives, I did a lot of research, a lot of tests and with the help of other passionate people like me I made the first prototypes, then I put together the puzzle until I reached the final product - what I have always had in mind.
Then, in April 2018 my project was awarded by the Puglia Region, the region in the South of Italy where I live, one of the most Innovative projects amongst others in competition. With the help of these funds I began the start-up, optimized the prototypes and created the Hooplug brand in line with my values and started to communicate this little big revolution to the world.
Unfortunately, the current resources are not enough to start production, that’s why we’re starting a crowdfunding campaign soon. We want to create a community of passionate drummers that can help me design a better Hooplug, give me feedback for improvements and understand the demand for this revolutionary tool. Hooplug is a transparent reality and is customer-oriented from these first stages. Your involvement, your support and your ideas are very important, and all the advice will be taken into consideration because the main goal is your satisfaction. I’m always in between dream and reality. This means that I’ll never abandon music, I will always try to follow a path of study that could give me broader skills to put my dreams to good use. Moreover, my father is an entrepreneur, so I have always lived in a business context and I grew up with the mentality of wanting to work independently without having to rely on anyone. All these aspects have led me to choosing my own lifestyle as opposed to someone else’s. And it’s the best choice I could ever make.
Do you have any words of advice for someone looking to develop a new product or how you find inspiration to develop new ideas?
Don’t let anyone else try to determine your path for you, especially when with regard to your dreams, passions and your future.
Always try to do what feeds your soul, but always respecting and listening to the advice of those who love you. You will probably face many closed doors. All the disappointments and defeats will guide you to clarify your ideas. Don't worry if you don't think you have enough money to make it happen, the thing that really matters is having an idea that works and solves a problem. There are a lot of people in the world who don't have ideas, but they have a lot of money that they would like to invest, so you have to try to get those people involved. If the idea is captivating it is not impossible to find a way to finance it!
Another piece of advice I can give is to not be afraid to talk about it with people who can help you, especially in the first phase when you need to share your idea to know how it is received by your target audience. So, don't be afraid that someone will immediately steal your idea. Most people don't take that risk and wouldn't really start the process to make something happen.
Creating a product is a very complex process and requires a lot of time and resources, but if you and only you really believe in it then you're going to have the right determination to move forward. If you do have a project or idea in mind, do not stop at the first difficulties! Persist and believe in yourself!
Any final thoughts you would like to add?
I would like to thank Thomas and all the Vratim staff with all my heart for the support and professionalism with which they work. Besides making fantastic products they are also musicians and wonderful people. I never expected to receive such attention from such a cool but geographically distant reality. You are there for me and I am there for you, friends! I hope we can meet soon!
We are excited to announce that we have a brand new collaboration with Destroy A Drum!
If you haven't checked out Destroy A Drum they are an awesome brand with a great story that is definitely worth looking into.
Be sure to follow both Vratim and Destroy A Drum on Instagram to get more details about the collaboration like when the item drop will be and a giveaway that's going to happen!
We had lots of people asking for wall flags and we were finally able to make them happen!
Decorate your drum room, add some style to your garage, or just show your support for Vratim!
Each flag is 3' h x 5' w (91.44 cm x 152.4 cm) light-weight polyester with grommets in each corner, so hanging the flags should be as easy as putting on a pair of shoes.
There's no hiding the fact that while we may look like a bigger, established company, we're still very small (like two full time employees small). That being said, it hasn't stopped us from trying to punch above our weight. When we started we knew we were going up against some big names, so we wanted to place an emphasis on building strong relationships with artists we endorse and our customer base. With that being said, we think it's important to be up front with our shipping - especially with some recent feedback on our international shipping times.
We will go over our shipping for both domestic and international orders so hopefully you all understand our position along with getting some insight on what many small companies deal with. It's also important to note that while typing this, the world is trying to work through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and shipping times are not consistent at all.
Let's start with the domestic shipping services we offer. Currently for domestic orders we offer:
Free shipping: Just like it says - free shipping to you. This means we will choose the most cost effective method of shipping possible. Most shoes when packaged weigh around 3 pounds, but t-shirts often weigh less than a pound and thus we choose the shipping methods accordingly. It is up to our discretion for the shipping method chosen since no preference was purchased.
USPS First-Class Package: This is only available for orders up to 15.9 ounces. It's usually only about $3.00 USD, includes a tracking number, and normally takes about 5-10 business days. This is a great choice when you order a t-shirt or beanie!
USPS Priority Shipping Methods: Any order that weighs over 1 pound has to be shipped via Priority Shipping. This method usually takes 2-5 days and is the primary choice when shipping shoes. We've had great success with both Priority and Priority Express. They arrive quicker than UPS and at a cheaper price.
Here's a chart of USPS Priority Shipping costs (these are the same that are displayed at checkout and the same rates we pay too):
Unfortunately our shoes don't fit in a "Small Flat Rate Box" otherwise that would be our choice, but this is what it costs us usually every time we ship out a pair of shoes.
International orders get a bit more expensive, but the same basic structure is followed. For international order we offer the following choices (there may be some slight variances depending on your location):
USPS Priority Mail International Shipping Methods: This will be our new standard international shipping method as it offers more accurate tracking information, better shipping times, and more reliability when locating missing packages. Below is a chart with the pricing:
These will be the same prices displayed at checkout (unless the USPS updates the quotes).
While USPS Priority Mail International is more reliable and faster than the previously offered First-Class International Shipping, if you need your package within two weeks the best choice will be FedEx. The average cost to ship a pair of shoes via FedEx overseas is usually $150.00 USD or more, however you will have your shoes in your hands very quickly.
In conclusion, there is actually no such thing as free shipping and every year shipping prices go up. We have tried our hardest to absorb as much of the shipping costs as we can for customers, but it is difficult when you are a small company. The obvious solution is to have multiple distribution hubs like Amazon, but unfortunately we are not Amazon.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us!
We are always happy to help as best we can!
To be as transparent as possible, we're providing and update on how the pandemic is currently affecting VRATIM.
View our previous statement here.
Business is still being conducted as normal as possible while still promoting wellness, safety, and physical distancing:
Our daily operations have been mostly unaffected. Personally, our staff have been carefully monitoring our social bubble and limiting it to only those we trust. We've been able to maintain our health and will continue to adhere to this practice. With this being said we will still be offering local pickup shipping option, but please do not come to our office/warehouse if you are sick or not feeling well.
As a reminder again, most, if not all, tours throughout 2020 have been postponed or outright cancelled. This includes everything from smaller tours to major tours and festivals. This not only affects the bands/artists, but also the promoters, tour managers, venues, associated venue staff, and even photographers, graphic designers, and recording studios.
During this difficult time, more than ever, it is important to support your favorite artists and venues. Even if you cannot contribute financially, streaming music, sharing your favorite local venue’s GoFundMe, and other simple things like that can be beneficial to those affected.
Hopefully we will all be able to safely be back at shows soon.
Please take care of yourself and loved ones. Stay healthy and stay safe!
If you have any further questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us.
-The Vratim Team