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Old 30-07-2010, 03:14 PM   #1
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Statement from Jazz Fashion Publishing Ltd

30th July 2010
Jazz Fashion Publishing Ltd and its Managing Director Stuart Mears have been the subject of a number of false and damaging allegations during recent days.

Factually inaccurate information has been published on a small number of websites and forums suggesting that companies owned by Stuart went into liquidation leaving debts of more than £2million.

Stuart has been accused of being an unscrupulous businessman who has left fellow businesses, charities, HM Customs and the Inland Revenue with unpaid debts.
Stuart is disappointed that such misleading information could have been published on these sites and forums – with no attempt made to check or verify the information - and has taken the decision to put the record straight as quickly as possible.

While it is the case that a number of former companies owned by Stuart have had to be closed down during the past five years due to difficult trading conditions, it is simply not the case that the total debts left amounted to more than £2million. In fact, the final figure of unsatisfied debts resulting from the closure of these companies is less than £275,000, the majority of which was owed to a finance company, Customs & Excise and the Inland Revenue. Jazz Fashion Publishing and Stuart made good over £340,000 of the reported debts following the liquidations.

Stuart is currently in discussions with Companies House – which has responsibility for publishing company accounts – regarding amending his accounts to show the true picture.
Should any suppliers, advertisers or readers like further clarification regarding the information held at Companies House, they may contact Stuart or his accountants Crowther Jordan to provide this.

Jazz Fashion Publishing Ltd has established itself as one of the country’s most successful, innovative and dynamic publishers of specialist titles during the past 13 years. In addition, the company continues to put on a number of shows and events including CamperJam, TattooFreeze and Tattoo Jam, which aims to break two Guinness World Records when it takes place between August 6-8. The company currently employs 33 people.

During the past decade the company has worked with and raised many thousands of pounds for charities including the Teenage Cancer Trust, St John’s Ambulance, Cancer Research UK, Nicola’s Fund and, most recently, Papyrus, a charity dedicated to the prevention of suicides.

Stuart was therefore particularly disappointed to read on one of the forums the allegation that one of his companies had defaulted on a payment to the St John’s Ambulance. This is simply not the case – rather than allowing the outstanding debt to go unpaid, Stuart personally donated the amount owed to the charity to ensure a continuation of the strong relationship his companies have enjoyed with St John’s over the years.

It has also been wrongly suggested that Jazz Fashion Publishing made money from a tattoo convention run by Get Funky, one of the now liquidated companies. This is completely false as invoices issued at the time made clear that payments should be made to “Tattoo Jam” and were on Get Funky Ltd. letterheads. A few people made cheques payable to Jazz Publishing but these were transferred into the Get Funky account and Jazz Publishing never received any of the monies from the event.

Acting on advice, Stuart took the decision to liquidate several subsidiary companies in order to bring the business back under the umbrella of Jazz Fashion Publishing Ltd. Each decision was taken to protect the eight magazines and seventeen websites, which Jazz continues to publish, and the small number of annual events, all of which are much loved by their respective communities. Crucially, the decisions he took enabled him to continue providing a significant number of jobs to people in the Chester/ North Wales area, work for many freelancers and income for many external businesses.

Stuart Mears and Jazz Publishing continues to be as passionate about their work as their tens of thousands of readers are to their hobbies, interests and pastimes and the team at Jazz Publishing looks forward to continuing to provide its readers, advertisers and suppliers with the same high level of service you have come to expect.
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Old 30-07-2010, 07:09 PM   #2
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Oops, says it all really -> Tattoo Jam | Tattoo Forum | Tattoo Community
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Old 30-07-2010, 10:45 PM   #3
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so companies house are full of shit?

stuart doesnt seem very successful at this business lark...

i would be questioning my own ability
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Old 31-07-2010, 12:06 AM   #4
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*cough* bollocks *cough*
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Old 31-07-2010, 12:39 AM   #5
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Initially, I thought this was none of my business, but as you are concerned that nobody has had the decency to to ask you directly I have a few questions to ask... although I did eventually share my concerns with you directly but you failed to address a lot of my issues (to be fair, at the time I told you not to bother, but you addressed a couple anyway) so I shall pose them again publicly (and a couple more) and I shall make it easy because all they really need is a simple yes or no in the hope it will not take too much of your time.

...When I say "you"... it is in the context of you working as managing director of one/any of the companies that you do/did own.

1. Did Conway Borough Council/the owners of the first tattoo jam venue, sue a company of which you were the managing director and win after a company was liquidated leaving them with massive debts?
2. Was the first Tattoo Jam hosted by "Get Funky"?
3. Were you responsible for hosting the first Tattoo Jam and therefore working for/as "get funky"?
4. When "get funky" was liquidated, were you on some level responsible for the workings of that company and not somehow "just the fall guy as the sole director"?
5. Did you prevent Alex from openly posting on your forum about the tattoo industry award that he won?
6. Did you try to trademark "tattoo industry awards" despite the Liverpool Tattoo Convention using the same title at their convention?
7. Did you cut a deal with another social tattoo networking site to advertise tattoo jam on their site for a period of time, in return for advertising of their site in your magazine only to take their advertising space and then refuse to honour the deal with returned advertising on the basis that you were now in competition with them?
8. Did you advertise the list of artists invited to tattoo freeze before they confirmed their attendance, in fact even before you sent some of them their invites?
9. Did you choose the dates of the Tattoo Freeze to intentionally under-cut the Brighton convention as "the first convention of the year" despite heavy protests from your staff involved in the tattoo community?

so I make that 9 questions that need 9 answers... and like I said, for speed and ease, yes or no would be ok really.

I know I sound shitty... but I am trying to be fair... you want to put peoples minds at rest but these questions are what we are all talking about and on the whole they remain unanswered even after your puplic announcement.

edit: and for the record... I'm not posting on behalf of anyone else, I haven't cross posted my post on any other forums, I haven't partaken in any shit slinging... these are honestly the questions that literally EVERYONE I know within the tattoo field is talking about. I feel the need to ask them myself because I have worked with you in the past, at the Freeze and on this forum and I now want to know the answers for my own peace of mind.
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Last edited by squidgystar; 31-07-2010 at 02:02 AM. Reason: cos I can't shut up! ...and again because I realise I have to word my questions very carefuly.
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:18 PM   #6
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1. Did Conway Borough Council/the owners of the first tattoo jam venue, sue a company of which you were the managing director and win after a company was liquidated leaving them with massive debts?

No one won as you suggest, the case never went to court. The debts were not “massive” and the matter was settled and we are paying in 6 installments, as we cannot afford to pay in one lump sum.

2. Was the first Tattoo Jam hosted by "Get Funky"?

The first Tattoo Jam was organised by a company called Get Funky Limited.

3. Were you responsible for hosting the first Tattoo Jam and therefore working for/as "get funky"?

I was not responsible for directly organising the first Tattoo Jam. I was a director and shareholder of Get Funky Limited. I helped agree on choosing the venue but things like, pa & equipment, first aid, stand build, electrics, bands, security, health & safety etc. etc. and the overall running and orchestration of the events was done by the Managing Director of the company, (which was not me). They were also a director and shareholder of Get Funky Limited. I was Managing Director and still am of Jazz Fashion Publishing Ltd

4. When "get funky" was liquidated, were you on some level responsible for the workings of that company and not somehow "just the fall guy as the sole director"?

All directors of limited companies are responsible, so yes.


This is continued on the next few post as too many characters to answer all questions...
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:20 PM   #7
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5. Did you prevent Alex from openly posting on your forum about the tattoo industry award that he won?

It was agreed approx a month before the awards by Myself, Neil, Dave G, Dave A, Fergus, Shelley, Dee and Alex in a meeting, that we were in a difficult situation and Liverpool Convention were promoting our rival magazines and editors on our website. We all made the decision that we could not promote these awards because of this, it was agreed by all. I then got in touch with the organisers, who understood and apologised (this is below as I probably won’t be believed on this either).

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Originally Posted by Stuart Mears
Hi Tony, me again.
We have had one of our magazine/website meetings here and the mention of your awards was on the agenda.

Basically we (Myself, Neil, Alex, Dee, Shelley) are in a difficult position. You are obviously advertising the fact that you have the awards on our forum, which is fine, no problem. The problem lies that you are also promoting our rivals both editorial, magazine and website which is not so good.

We have worked tirelessly to promote our brands, which are strong in the market place, clear market leaders in what we do. It’s not good to be announced that we are joint equal with TattooJam.com and Tattoo.tv. Tattoo.tv get very little traffic and we are 301,349 in the website raking positions in the UK higher than them and 30,127 websites higher that TJ.com. Even our events sites are 148,794 positions higher in the UK!

We also cannot advertise our magazine competitors either. Our nearest rival in the UK is Tattoo Life magazine which we out sell 2.3 copies to their one. Total Tattoo is nearly 3 to 1. It would be like you advertising your neighbouring studio in yours.

Can I please ask you to refrain from making any reference on our site to our competitors. By all means promote your event on our site and the elements of the event but for obvious reasons keep the details to your website.

Thanks and we hope you understand our dilema. Cheers Stuart
Understand totally please accept my Apologies Stuart, the idea was to try and get forum members involved and motivated to vote for BTP/Skindeep etc etc - as you know its voted for by the public therefore if people arent aware they won't vote. What has been posted on BTP is identical to what has been posted on other forums with the view to maintaining an equilibrium.

Following your recent PM, this is exactly why I placed a link and not the vote results this time around as I understand totally that you would not wish advertise the competition.

I appreciate all the hard work that goes into your event, publications and online presence, please rest assured that we are not trying to compromise you or have cheap shots which all to often happens on the internet.

Tattoo.tv are currently in the lead as the awards have been widely promoted by the owners of the site(mail shots etc). Its should be noted that Skindeep and both your editorial staff are also in the lead in their respective catagories.

I hope that there is a not problem with the Liverpool convention/Design 4 Life, as upon relfection your last PM was a contradiciton in terms it was clear that google hadn't factored into the nominations by the very fact it was not featured in the top 5.

If this has been prompted by Kates(Gothika85) comments on the Tattoojam thread, you need to appreciate that these are Kates opinions and not mine. I have spoken to her about it also and she has apologised. Its not like she can remove it as you've replied to it.

I have opted not to respond to you your response to Kate which would imply we are stealing or recycling your concepts. For the record Industry Awards have been given out at Peterlee and the Great North Show many years previous to either Liverpool or Tattoojam. In addition the first instance of a Battle of the Bands I am aware of was at the Halloween Bash in 2007.

On another note and whilst we have a dialogue going( i'm having a moan ), I feel that Design 4 Life is constantly overlooked in terms of features and indeed the Tattoo Masters Awards. Hazel is one of very few female artists continuously winning awards at shows (5 in less than a year and one at your own show). Its very disappointing given that we support your events, advertise in your publication(s), give you advertising at our event, assisted you in placing guests artists, we also moved the first Liverpool show to avoid a clash with Tatttojam and generally respect you and your team and your business accumen.

I have edited any reference to the nominees from the thread and needless to say I will refrain from making any further reference on the site to the awards.

All this aside I hope we can meet up for a beer at the next event or pop down for a chat and discuss synergy and how we can assist each other in the ever more flooded convention market. I am keen to develop a good working relationship with Jazz as I have a lot of respect for your achievements and we share what I feel is a common ground.

Regards

Tony
Thanks for your reply, it’s appreciated.

Tattoo.tv: I know, as we have been swamped here in the office, that Tattoo.tv have promoted the hell out of it, but in fairness they have the most to gain out of this (and we have the least) as they are the website with least traffic, by a long way. Sadly it is an inaccurate representation of the facts.

In term of magazine features, this is down to our editors; they make the monthly decisions what goes in and what does not. Then our publisher (other than myself) has final say if there are any possible issues with the editor’s decisions (there very VERY rarely are though).

Alex as editor of Tattoo Master has chosen the award nominations. Again these were his decisions, which our event organiser and I felt I did not need to change. I will mention to the chaps your feelings though, but one things certain is that we cannot give preference to one, based on them advertising etc., which I am sure you understand.

My comments said to Kate on the forum were tongue in cheek, as I am sure hers were about Tattoo Freeze. No malice intended.

Thanks for editing your threads.

Definitely up for a chat and a beer, and a good working relationship is always good. Especially as I believe we both share common ground and we are both striving to improve the industries we work in. That is obvious from the efforts again both of us make, compare to others I best not mention.

Thanks for your understanding and everything's cool. Stuart.


Thanks Stuart

Please understand I am not trying to arm twist based on advertising. I'm just very frustrated that accolades have gone unnoticed. In my view it takes the point away from striving to achieve awards if success is not acknowleged . In its simplest form a convention is an expensive marketing exercise for artists and obviously the artist/studio wants to gain the maximum return from the investment made. This return 99% of the time is not a direct financial return from the event but rather an increase in profile and this something we have yet to feel the benefit of.

Look forward to meeting soon and wish you continued success.

Regards

Tony


This is continued on the next few post as too many characters....
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:21 PM   #8
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6. Did you try to trademark "tattoo industry awards" despite the Liverpool Tattoo Convention using the same title at their convention?

We have been running tattoo industry Awards since 2008 see here: Tattoo Master Industry Awards | Tattoo Jam 2010
We have the legitimate right to trade mark this if we want to. It’s not creating a monopoly – as you will know, other tattoo Industry Awards take place and those responsible for their organisation and costings can also protect investment by protecting their intellectual property – there’s nothing underhand about this and it can all be openly accessed

7. Did you cut a deal with another social tattoo networking site to advertise tattoo jam on their site for a period of time, in return for advertising of their site in your magazine only to take their advertising space and then refuse to honour the deal with returned advertising on the basis that you were now in competition with them?

No not true. A quarter page advert was run by mistake instead of a full page advert in one issue, I personally apologised and ran the full page in the following issue, so in fact they got a quarter page advert more than they were supposed to. The deal was that Jazz would get their video footage for TattooJam. To this day we have still not received anything despite asking several times where it is. So who has refused to honour the deal here?

8. Did you advertise the list of artists invited to tattoo freeze before they confirmed their attendance, in fact even before you sent some of them their invites?

I think this has been discussed many time on here. Yes we put a list on the website before artist confirmed, it was a mistake; I admitted it and took it down a few days after going up. Re: Invites were sent out to the entire list, not all at once, but on the day we put the artist list up some invites were sent out.

9. Did you choose the dates of the Tattoo Freeze to intentionally under-cut the Brighton convention as "the first convention of the year" despite heavy protests from your staff involved in the tattoo community?

No not at all. When we looked at putting on the show there were two month where few shows were (as you know there are lots of shows during the year, some on the same weekend), January and October. October was way to close to TattooJam so that was instantly ruled out. Our main concern was it was too close to Christmas. Brighton is the other end of the county and totally different show to what we were trying and have now achieved with TattooFreeze. Brighton was not a concern as I knew it would not affect either show, being two weeks apart, in different parts of the country and both from different perspectives of tattooing. I believe Brighton was as busy as ever, Tattoo Freeze was busy too, so my thoughts were proved correct.

The protests from my staff came after the Liverpool convention as Neil said he had had some pretty nasty texts and his drink spiked, he believed because of this. This is when we made the decision for our Editors to just concentrate on our magazines, as I was not prepared to have my staff threatened. Mind you Neil did not help himself here by previously telling people TattooJam was his show!

In fact both Neil and Alex gave me the list of artists to invite to Tattoo Freeze.

Neil was spoken to about Tattoo Freeze way before we even decided to do it. Again his main concern was whether people would come with it being so close to Christmas, but overall he thought a good idea. We ran with it and the rest is well documented on here.

I even got in touch with the Brighton organisers to suggest we work together somehow, trying to attract artists from overseas to work Freeze, we then help them with studio guest spots for 2 weeks and they then work Brighton. Initially they said they would think about it, but then later declined the offer to work together


so I make that 9 questions that need 9 answers... and like I said, for speed and ease, yes or no would be ok really.

9 questions, 9 answers, all true and backed with proof.


I know I sound shitty... but I am trying to be fair... you want to put peoples minds at rest but these questions are what we are all talking about and on the whole they remain unanswered even after your puplic announcement.

Let's face it Lisa the help I have offered you, voluntary and several times, from coming up with a name and logo for the Sugar Project to helping you post out the skulls when you had financial issues. You know that I am a good person and not what people are trying to portray.

Ethic, everyone seems to hide under ethics. It’s all very hypocritical. I know the type of person I am; my friends and family know what type of person I am; my colleagues at Jazz, past and present, know what type of person I am, yes even Neil and Alex, who I had the utmost respect for (we all did) before this incident.

We have been publishing Skin Deep for over 11 years; We are not new to this industry. We have grown our products, the same way as others have grown their studios and other branched out into events too. All of this we have done as the market has grown year after year. Jazz Publishing was responsible for starting the careers of both Neil and Alex within the tattoo industry. Neil being 6 years in the industry and around when the Jazz group of companies dissolved, Alex less than 3 years working in the industry. And we get repaid this way with their thanks in the Tattoo.tv interview. It’s fine to put your name to something when it suits them to take all the glory, but when you have other intentions it seems quite easy for them to disrespect as well.

We have never ripped anyone off in the tattoo community, we have never ripped anyone off full stop. Previous companies were closed out of advice and necessity, not intentionally. Theres a big difference.

The editors have been filled; yes we have new editors. It is an incredible job to have! Magazines lose and replace their editors; there is certainly no reason to panic. I can assure you that our magazines, our events and our products will continue. They will continue to grow and we will endeavour to make them better and better.

If I was not passionate about what we do, why is everything we do perceived so well by tens of thousands of people? Why do we have the best selling magazines, the last issues sales I have, we outsold both Total Tattoo and Tattoo Life sales added together by approx 8% in the UK. We have created events that do not copy others but innovate, from a Tattoo Artist trade day, Industry Awards, 30 odd bands, more artists than any other event, and an event totally dedicated to tattoo art in all its aspects etc.

We don’t have burlesque shows etc. not because they are not good, but because this would be copying other events and we do not do that. I believe (and many others too) that our events are the best organised in the world.

There was one more thing, which I also feel people need to know and that is about the bookazines Tattoo Vixens we are producing. The title and ethos behind this has always been the same and it has not been changed at all. One of Wikipedias descriptions for Vixen is this: Vixen, a woman noted for her sexual attractiveness.

We did look at possibly calling it Tattoo Sirens but thought better of this. It was at no point to be called anything else. This has been wrongly conveyed in the first place, for whatever reason, to our contributors, as a book called Painted Ladies by it’s author. It has always been Tattoo Vixens a bookazines about beautiful, sexy, intelligent women who have a wild and interesting rock n roll type lifestyle. It is not porn, it is not degrading! It will be beautifully photographed, intelligently written and professionally produced. If you have been mislead by its author I apologies on behalf of the company, but it was never to be how he has described.

I believe a new Tattoo Magazine is being conceived, good news indeed and I mean that. As long as it is original and adds something to the market this is good. However it is a brave man and brave investors that launch a magazine in this current market. It’s tough out there, far tougher than most people who are not in business realise. Good luck to them.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:09 PM   #9
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Stuart regarding point 5, following your requests not to post nomineees on your forum as you know we obliged. After all it is your forum.

As for not acknowledging the awards in their entirety no mention of this was made therefore I as you can imagine I was particularly disappointed to discover your embargo on the awards when Alex had won one.

I can only therefore conclude that as mentioned in our PM's you do indeed have a problem with Design 4 Life/Liverpool Tattoo Convention.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:21 PM   #10
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Further to this can you also direct me to your privacy policy as referred to in your terms and conditions for use of the site?
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