words and images by Becca Allen
No Guts No Glory is now heading into its forth year and it's exactly how Nathan Blaker envisioned it back in the summer of 2009.
However starting out that summer we knew Nathan's vision would take a lot of support from family, friends and the local community...
On breaking up for summer in my second year of uni I headed straight home to spend those first few summer months with Nathan in my parents' garage building shelves, desks and hanging rails. Customising mirrors, stools, building our own screens for printing and eating more bourbons than you can shake a stick at.
Nathan found a small shop that could house NGNG and nurture it through its journey. Nobody realised just how much this small little space in the McCoys Arcade, Exeter would nourish to the point that every wall, shelf, hanging rail and white space would be occupied by the works of many talented and supportive illustrators.
In 2011 No Guts No Glory and Nathan welcomed enthusiastic partner Hayley Marchant, together they have managed to grow the following and host events, visiting lectures, acoustic gigs and the rapidly evolving and ever popular "Handmade Arcade", a monthly event giving local creatives the opportunity to sell and display their skills, be it food, art, jewellery or music. The photos don't do the atmosphere justice, so if you are ever in Exeter I recommend checking out the NGNG website for dates.
In Dec 2010 Nathan and I sat in my parents' dining room and designed the new NGNG website. It was an "urgent matter" as Nathan needed it to help support the shop, to bring in sales and to spread awareness. On the 3rd of July 2013 the new website was born! (Yeah it only took two years and six months!) But amazingly without this website that was so needed the shop flourished the old fashioned way, through word of mouth (ok a bit of blogging and facebooking… can't cut social media out completely).
To see where the shop is now is amazing and to be able to launch the new website with such a following and portfolio of featured artists I would say it was worth the wait of those two and a half years. Check the goods out for yourself and read about the journey I have summarised above.