5 Years on #MakeHistory

posted by on 24/11/2014

Everybody has story to tell, authentic moments that deserve to be shared with audiences of one to a hundred and more. As Yin & Yang has evolved, storytelling has become the end goal for everything we produce. We recently hit our 5-year anniversary and what a journey it has been so far. While some of us are starting to show our age (Yin getting married and so on), we’re showing no signs of slowing down. In line with our story, and their own, legendary Kentucky bourbon brand Jim Beam asked us to showcase what #MakeHistory means to us. A brand dating over 200 years, they’ve made quite a history by staying true to themselves, being bold and adapting over time. This sounded all too familiar for us, so we thought we’d take a look at making history from our angle. Read on to see our journey and be inspired.


Words by Yin

Where did it all begin? Just over 5 years ago if I remember correctly, after religiously reading Hypebeast, Highsnobiety and Reggie Yates’ ATCN – I wanted to create a platform to express what inspired me / what I liked.

Being a Photoshop nerd from my school days I regularly spent my summer holidays designing forum signatures, wallpapers and other bits of freelance work over my vacation. That summer, I decided to attempt a website design after a close friend of mine gave me the Yin&Yang title. Within a few hours, I was some way into the design and ended up texting Ernest who was at work ‘Yo man, you down for starting a blog called Yin&Yang and you can be Yang still?!’ – I’m sure my texting was full of slang, probably worse than that. He was down and that was that.

The site actually didn’t started till November. University started again and filled up my free time till a break up (cue Ne-Yo song haha) which made focus my energy on creating this platform. Enlisting the help of a developer dude I never met before, Jazz, who is now a close friend of mine like the rest of the Y&Y family. He brought the site to life from a flat photoshop file to WordPress. The rest was history. Well not quite, we didn’t have a content plan/strategy or direction – our intentions were pure and naive, write about what we liked which was sneakers, girls, music and more sneakers. With time and more PR events, we grew up editorially and as people.

The journey

Words by Yang

As Yin mentioned, we were at uni when we started the site and as you would imagine, we never really knew where it would take us. I was in the same space professionally too; I wasn’t sure whether I even wanted to work in Marketing/Advertising or why I did the course I did. So for me, the site became an output to be inspired to find myself professionally. Working with the Y&Y family, meeting like-minded people, having the opportunity to work on a concept and seeing it manifest into something tangible.

Y&Y has been an incredible journey, from the simple concept of writing about anything that we felt was cool, to having the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures and to collaborate with our team people and some of our favourite brands.

The little things

Words by Adam

Quick growth and consistent success comes hand in hand with constantly evolving and being bold. It’s the little things that make this happen. That’s what making history is to us. Working with big names and developing an authentic voice over time takes a lot of work. Big moves and bold steps to becoming what we are today. However none of this would happen if it wasn’t for the little things behind the scenes that we have done to make our history.

Expanding the team to transform us in to content creators, in to story tellers. Writers, photographers, directors and stylists. Bringing these minds together in the 7am bi-weekly meetings is making history. Making heavy investments individually in new equipment to create content is making history. Using the depth of our networks, constantly expanding these and, at times, stepping out of our comfort zone to meet and talk to the right people is making history. Doing these little things to get us recognised is what has allowed us to grow, and will continue to do so.

Y&Y, the explorers

Words by Tahirah

All of us in the family, past and present, are born-and-bred Londoners. We wear, with great pride, the fabric of the city that has permeated our DNA – shaping our perceptions, experiences and idiosyncrasies.

Yet, as much as we all love London, our eyes and minds are open enough to seek beauty elsewhere. To know London isn’t the be-all-end-all. To know “reality” extends way beyond the M25. And all of us are daring enough to explore what’s out there, because we all know that learning about the world means we also learn much more about ourselves.

That’s why travel is so important to all of us on the team, and while sharing what we discover with you guys – from Bristol to Switzerland, India to LA and beyond – we constantly inspire each other to see more.

The coolest bit is, as Y&Y the site has evolved, our individual thirst for cultural discovery has too. Holidays aren’t enough, now we’re making more daring, scarily-permanent moves away from the security blanket of the Big Smoke. From former crew member Tara Jane moving to Berlin, to Aaron grabbing a handful of books and boxers to spend 6 months post-Uni exploring Asia, Derek upping and moving to Tokyo last month, and myself moving to Portland, Oregon (where I can confirm there’s more than hipsters, Nike and trees, but more on that another time) – Yin&Yang makes history by making (global) moves.

Being the & in Y&Y

Words by DJB

The vision was birthed by two but as the years have rolled by we have found force in numbers. The collective, the family, the team is essentially the & in Yin&Yang. We can be likened to DJ Spinderella who was the N in hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa. You never really knew who she was but you always felt her contribution. However, over the years our faces have become more noticeable and can be attributed to the site. Putting names to faces has been great as our connection with our readers has become stronger.

We have amassed a great team and built a solid family foundation from which we have all been able to flourish both with Y&Y and personally. For us the & represents inclusion, it represents togetherness and it represents the great understanding that Yin and Yang had to realise that it was ok to allows other like-minded people to embrace their vision and take it newer heights.

A final note from Yin

Words by Yin

I’ve had an inkling for a while, something that I’ve tried to dismiss earlier in the year but with me stepping into a new phase of life with my wedding in 2015, I’ve had a lot of time to re-evaluate and reflect on what’s next. With that, I’m announcing my time with Y&Y has come to a close. I’m taking a step back from the site and team as it’s time to focus on my future with my other half and start building around that.

It’s been the most wonderful, unimaginable five years for me. Everything that I’ve achieved in this period of time has stemmed through Y&Y; from being headhunted for my first job through the site’s ‘contact us’ form, travelling around the world and above all, the friendships that have been birthed.

For me, this is making history. Creating a platform that has helped inspire people to chase their dreams and do good work. Making history is more than the world changing ideas, it’s impacting the community around you. I’m happy that I managed to do that with a great set of people that I can call the Y&Y family.

The future

Words by Yang

As we continue to work together, the site has become less about the “Yin” and the “Yang” but more about a creative bunch of people who love to collaborate/curate/create/make stuff happen. The future looks bright because we make history every time we get our heads together. Yes it’s a network and a collective but Y&Y is a family. One that will continue to grow and evolve.

  • posted by:
  • Photography by: Yin and Adam
  • Words by: Yin, Yang, DJB, Tahirah and Adam
  • Sponsored by: Jim Beam