Any Small Cosplay Business Owners??

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#1 Xion_Farron on 2 years ago

I dunno if this is the right place to post this but it seemed the closest fit.

I'm taking an Entrepreneurial class in fashion school right now and I have to get info from someone who owns a business selling cosplays ("ready-to-wear," not commission) since that's what kind of business I'm looking to start. Thing is I'm having a really hard time finding someone who is willing to talk to me and the assignment is due tomorrow at 6pm. :-(

Here are the questions I've come up with. Thank you so much to anyone who takes the time to answer them, it'll help me out so much. :-)

1. How much time and money did it take to start up the business?

2. How do you communicate with customers or people you work with? (Social Media, in person, phone calls, ect.)

3. Do you set aside a specific block of time each day/certain days of the week specifically for matters related to your business?

4. How do you get your inventory? Do you have a supplier or do you make the inventory yourself?

5. How do you find new customers or potential customers?

6. Do you go to conventions/events to promote your business or is it strictly online?

#2 emland on 2 years ago

[QUOTE=Xion_Farron;5051316]I dunno if this is the right place to post this but it seemed the closest fit.

I'm taking an Entrepreneurial class in fashion school right now and I have to get info from someone who owns a business selling cosplays ("ready-to-wear," not commission) since that's what kind of business I'm looking to start. Thing is I'm having a really hard time finding someone who is willing to talk to me and the assignment is due tomorrow at 6pm. :-(

Here are the questions I've come up with. Thank you so much to anyone who takes the time to answer them, it'll help me out so much. :-)

1. How much time and money did it take to start up the business?

2. How do you communicate with customers or people you work with? (Social Media, in person, phone calls, ect.)

3. Do you set aside a specific block of time each day/certain days of the week specifically for matters related to your business?

4. How do you get your inventory? Do you have a supplier or do you make the inventory yourself?

5. How do you find new customers or potential customers?

6. Do you go to conventions/events to promote your business or is it strictly online?[/QUOTE]

That is an extremely tight niche your class wants you to focus on. I am the owner of a small business (non cosplay related) and will answer if that helps.

#3 ShinobiXikyu on 2 years ago

^ Seconding the above, I have a business of custom commissions and crafts sold at cons, went to fashion school too, but not pre-made cosplays. Problem is, the overwhelming majority of those businesses are in China, companies, not small businesses, and not started by cosplayers. I know of no cosplayers who make more than cosplay accessories or single clothing items, not full outfits, to sell without it being custom orders.
Here's some basic RTW fashion economics- the amount of capital and space required to have a readily-stocked shop of a range of sizes and a wide range of full costumes/outfits ready to go within a day or two of ordering to generate a real income? Absolutely impossible to do by one or a few people. You need a designated factory to make things fast enough, a warehouse to store products, some kind of shipping conract or business to get these items delivered, and a LOT of workers to do all this, and to buy at wholesale material prices to turn a profit which often requires large production runs. Show me a home-based business that can fit a few dozen 100+ yard bolts of fabric anywhere in the house... all that results in "unless you're a big business who can do things for mega-cheap and/or appeal to a LOT of people- I'm talking thousands- your market is too niche to have all of those AND compete with China prices". Small items like accesories or hoodies/hats/limited-run lolita dresses, now, there's a possibility of manufacturing a lot at home or with a workshop that could actually be run by just a few people. Being in the artist alley I know many who do such a thing as a major or at least side job out of their homes (And me, too), and some lucky ones subcontract their work out to factories, but again, as a small business they sure don't own that factory, they're paying the manufacturers to make their designs and hire the workers (and basically that turns your job from a maker of things to a businessman/woman who spends all their time doing OTHER jobs).
If you wanted to talk to a custom commissioner or someone who does made-to-order if not right-out custom work, though, you'd have more luck as there's many based in the US (and Canada, where I am, and etc. for English-speaking countries) and more willing to give you a rundown on running a costuming business. Or, a small fashion company like labels that sell subculture (goth, lolita, etc.) clothes. There's many based just out of one city or at least nationally without such an enormous chain of command that you couldn't possibly talk to an owner or designer (I don't live in California, where I see you're from, so my knowledge of local small brands would be useless as I don't even live in the same country, but you're not in a bad spot for finding someone.)

#4 Xion_Farron on 2 years ago

[QUOTE=emland;5051329]That is an extremely tight niche your class wants you to focus on. I am the owner of a small business (non cosplay related) and will answer if that helps.[/QUOTE]
Well, the class is about starting fashion businesses but I specified cosplay since that's what I was looking at personally.
If your business is fashion related and you are willing to answer, it does help. :-)

[QUOTE=ShinobiXikyu;5051337]^ Seconding the above, I have a business of custom commissions and crafts sold at cons, went to fashion school too, but not pre-made cosplays. Problem is, the overwhelming majority of those businesses are in China, companies, not small businesses, and not started by cosplayers. I know of no cosplayers who make more than cosplay accessories or single clothing items, not full outfits, to sell without it being custom orders.
Here's some basic RTW fashion economics- the amount of capital and space required to have a readily-stocked shop of a range of sizes and a wide range of full costumes/outfits ready to go within a day or two of ordering to generate a real income? Absolutely impossible to do by one or a few people. You need a designated factory to make things fast enough, a warehouse to store products, some kind of shipping conract or business to get these items delivered, and a LOT of workers to do all this, and to buy at wholesale material prices to turn a profit which often requires large production runs. Show me a home-based business that can fit a few dozen 100+ yard bolts of fabric anywhere in the house... all that results in "unless you're a big business who can do things for mega-cheap and/or appeal to a LOT of people- I'm talking thousands- your market is too niche to have all of those AND compete with China prices". Small items like accesories or hoodies/hats/limited-run lolita dresses, now, there's a possibility of manufacturing a lot at home or with a workshop that could actually be run by just a few people. Being in the artist alley I know many who do such a thing as a major or at least side job out of their homes (And me, too), and some lucky ones subcontract their work out to factories, but again, as a small business they sure don't own that factory, they're paying the manufacturers to make their designs and hire the workers (and basically that turns your job from a maker of things to a businessman/woman who spends all their time doing OTHER jobs).
If you wanted to talk to a custom commissioner or someone who does made-to-order if not right-out custom work, though, you'd have more luck as there's many based in the US (and Canada, where I am, and etc. for English-speaking countries) and more willing to give you a rundown on running a costuming business. Or, a small fashion company like labels that sell subculture (goth, lolita, etc.) clothes. There's many based just out of one city or at least nationally without such an enormous chain of command that you couldn't possibly talk to an owner or designer (I don't live in California, where I see you're from, so my knowledge of local small brands would be useless as I don't even live in the same country, but you're not in a bad spot for finding someone.)[/QUOTE]
Thank you for replying. This info is helpful as well.

#5 Mangochutney on 2 years ago

It sounds like you want to either broaden your focus or shift your search. What you're looking for, as noted above, doesn't really happen and if it does will be a serious outlier, an anomaly. That won't do you much good in terms of learning how to start a fashion business with a reasonable hope of success.

You like cosplay and you are taking a class on how to start a business. The two may not overlap in the way you're hoping. Look beyond cosplay.

#6 Hieronymus on 2 years ago

[QUOTE=emland;5051329]That is an extremely tight niche your class wants you to focus on. I am the owner of a small business (non cosplay related) and will answer if that helps.[/QUOTE]

Very interesting topic for me:)

#7 vonjankmon on 2 years ago

I've never heard of what you are describing here in the US but I know they do exist over in Japan. They're almost like a cosplay good will/consignment store. When people are done with their cosplay outfits they'll sell/consign them at the store and then the stores carry some new outfits and accessories also.

I think it works over there due to population density and high interest in cosplay though, not sure where it may be a viable business in the US.

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