I love everything about EDM, the EDM community, and its culture…the music, the events, the dancing, the poi spinning, the outfit planning, the people I meet…and I love neon and fluffies and things that light up…and I love kandi.
Kandi is one part of rave culture that’s especially important to me (and not to brag, but I make some pretty sick kandi).
I love kandi because it’s a really effective ice breaker. I’ve met tons of new friends that I wouldn’t have through our mutual love of kandi, today I have several wonderful, strong friendships in my life that initially started with a kandi trade. Since I’ve always been an introverted and relatively shy person, it’s awkward for me to initiate a conversation with a stranger, but at raves and festivals I don’t have that problem anymore. Kandi gives me a reason to go talk to new people and overcome my shyness. Every piece of kandi I’ve received has sentimental value because it brings back memories of the friend I got it from, and I’ve never re-traded any.
To be honest, I couldn’t make a kandi cuff for a ridiculously long time. Friends had tried to teach me, and I understood the concept but when I tried to make them myself they were sloppy and ugly and I always gave up before finishing. It wasn’t until I saw a great pattern online that I really wanted to make a cuff from for a friend of mine (I knew he would get a kick out of it) that I forced myself to sit through some tutorials until I could do it. I was so proud of myself after that first cuff…so much so that I actually went a little nuts with the kandi after that. I got better and better at making kandi, and eventually was cranking out masks and cuffs and perlers like there was no tomorrow.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that I lost my job then spent several months trying (and failing) to get a new one, I went through a pretty tumultuous period finaicially, sinking deeper and deeper into debt until things got bad enough that it was a daily struggle just to keep myself fed and put gas in my car.
I’ve always liked the Etsy mobile app (I love online shopping because I can add tons and tons of things to my wishlists and tell myself that I will buy them in the future once I’m rich and it almost feels like I’m shopping for real) and I was looking at festival clothes for an upcoming event and I saw a kandi mask that appeared in the results list when searching for “rave”. It was being sold for $18.00! I looked up other kandi items too, and then thought about how many of these things I make each week and how much income that would be, and that’s when I decided to open my own Etsy shop.
Please hear me out. I know that the subject of kandi being sold online is highly controversial. If you’re one of those who is vehemently against kandi being sold for profit, then please hear me out, and know that I really do understand where you’re coming from (and partially agree). To me though, it’s who the seller is and why they’re selling it that determined whether or not I agree.When kandi bracelets are sold in large chain stores, by people who probably don’t even know what “P.L.U.R.” stands for, I don’t think it’s ok. Hot Topic is the most obvious example of this. On the other hand, if some kandi kid out there (I’ll call her Becky) who already spends hours and hours every week on her kandi decides to start making a little side cash by selling some online, then I say right on, go Becky!
The difference is that those big companies probably just see kandi as some plastic beads on a string. So when they start selling kandi, knowing nothing about it’s significance or about the subculture it’s from, it’s basically just pure exploitation. Hot Topic and Becky both technically sell kandi, but it’s not the same thing at all. They haven’t committed the same offense.
I am not Hot Topic. I am Becky. I am one of you. The EDM community is very important to me, and you guys saved me during a really low point in my life. I would never do anything to disrespect any aspect of rave culture because this is my culture too. I’m still making/trading kandi with friends just like everyone else, and I give away just as much kandi as I sell.
When someone buys kandi online, nobody is going to lose their PLUR moment because of it. Whether they are buying it for someone specific or not, it makes no difference. Either way, if they wind up trading that kandi, the person receiving it will still treasure it the same way because it’ll still bring up the memories they shared with that friend. My customers are all other ravers like me, most of which either buy kandi items that they don’t know how to make or don’t have time to make.
It doesn’t make them anti-PLUR. It doesn’t make me anti-PLUR either. I just provide a service for them to do something for them that they can’t do themselves at that time. It’s just like hiring a nanny. Does hiring a nanny to watch your child sometimes because you’re too busy to do it mean that you don’t love your child or are a bad parent? Of course not.
So my position in this debate is go ahead and sell kandi if you want to. You might as well get paid to do something if you already spend a lot of time doing it anyways. It’s not wrong to make a business out of doing what you love to do, if it’s not hurting or disrespecting anyone and there’s a market for it. Selling kandi is fun, you get paid to do something you enjoy doing and you meet a lot of cool ravers from all over the world too
If you do decide to start your own kandi business, I highly suggest starting with Etsy. They have a great “Sell on Etsy” mobile app, tons of helpful articles for sellers, and even offer sellers discounted shipping rates.
So, if you’re curious, you can check out my shop at theswankyraver.etsy.com. I do custom orders and also have pre-made masks, cuffs, necklaces, singles.
And just for being a Studio240 reader…
15% off your kandi order at TheSwankyRaver.Etsy.com if you use “idigstudio240” at checkout!*
*Coupon code valid until Thanksgiving 2015