The appeal for cosplays is broadening with the increasing acceptance and acknowledgement of the geeky side of modern culture. Since the beginning of time, humans have tried to turn potential activities into a source of income, and the cosplay industry is no exception. While some people find the dress-up activity exciting and fun, others strategize and open up their entrepreneurial minds to cash in on the opportunity.

Cosplay Business

Cosplays started merely as a hobby. It’s true that when you like something, you are willing to invest more time, energy, and money into it. Many cosplayers have also found a way to turn their hobby into a business, and there are many who emerged as full-blown entrepreneurs in the cosplay industry.
Most professionals started off as a cosplayer, but it’s not necessary at all. If you have a business-savvy mind and an eye for costume designing, you can do great stuff. Pablo Bairan is a fine example.
The rapid growth of social media has enabled cosplayers from around the world to easily connect their cosplay experiences and interests. This has made this community global. The globalizing trend has opened opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to reach a wide base of audience and offer whatever they can.
If you are interested in turning your hobby or talent from personal to professional, this comprehensive guide will help you set up a sturdy cosplay business.

Get Ready for Some Trade-Offs

Let’s be real, starting a business is not a bed of roses. Before you get carried away by the temptation of starting a cosplay business, make sure you are ready for some trade-offs. You will need a bucket full of dedication, heaps of support, stamina and, not to forget, a creative instinct. You may have to trade off your Netflix time and favorite video games to start this new business.
Many businesses in the cosplaying industry take a multi-strategy approach and offer an array of products and services. The most successful ones have used a combination of selling costumes and merchandise, providing opinions online, and creating customized content for interested customers.

Required Skills

You might be wondering, what are the main skills you will require to make your cosplay business stand out among many others? Here are some of the skills which will help you bring out your best.

Artistic Skills

First, having an artistic side can benefit you a lot in this business. Assuming you are already a fan of cosplaying or are a cosplayer, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The cosplay industry relies on art and creativity. To run a cosplay business, you should be able to come up with great designing techniques and ideas and convert them into physical costumes.
To design and create likeable costumes, it is important to work on all the artistic and technical details related to the character. When a cosplayer wears it, they should be able to feel the essence of the character itself.

Required Skills
Artistic Skills

Crafts and DIYs

All cosplay costumes have matching accessories, jewelry, and props. To be cost-efficient, being able to DIY (do it yourself) can aid a lot. You should be able to break down a costume into simpler pieces and elements or else you will end up missing some part of it.
Practice makes a man perfect, so practice and polish your crafty side. Watch tutorials on YouTube or take some classes to get yourself into action because let’s not forget, cosplay costumes are tricky to perfect and you may end up having to make things again and again.

Crafts and DIYs

Designing, Sewing and Styling

Although you can outsource the sewing and styling, being a new business, you will not be able to avail all resources in a limited budget. Hence, it is important to know your way around different kinds of fabrics, threads, and other textile material.
Furthermore, being able to sew and pull together the costume will make it extraordinary. Hand-made costumes are more appealing than off-the-rack ones because they give a more personalized feel.
Knowing your way around styling and makeup will also benefit your cosplay business. Most costumes have wigs and unique makeup tricks involved. If you have know-how of these aspects, you can add hair accessories, dyes, and styling tools in your product portfolio to make some extra cash.

Product Photography and Editing Skills

No matter how awesome your products and services are, if you are not able to make them appealing to your customers, they won’t buy them. It is important to take attractive pictures of your costumes and other offerings and make them presentable for your online shop. Photoshopping the costumes in their respective movie or series can make them look realistic and eye-catching.
To sharpen your skills, start from a basic editing software and work your way up. Do not forget to keep the true essence of your brand alive in the pictures.

Photography and Editing Skills

Start Brainstorming

A pen and paper are your best friends here. Grab a cup of coffee and sit down in your coziest spot. Relax your mind and start jotting down ideas. Research potential opportunities in the market. Write down your inspirations and what drives you to become a successful individual in the cosplay universe.
Here, it is also important to figure out your target fandom. You can always expand your horizons, but our advice is, slow and steady wins the race. Knowing your exact target market will make your next steps easier.

Craft a Business Plan

Making a business plan will help you identify and define the essence of your cosplay business. Follow the simple steps mentioned below, and you will have your business plan:
•Think of an attractive name.

•Lay out your vision and mission.

•Identify your key customer segment.

•Generate a product mix (use the 4 Ps concept) to align your offering with pricing tactics, promotional activities, and the mediums you’ll use to sell them.

•Identify what makes your cosplay business unique and look how you fit in the community.

•Conduct a simple SWOT analysis. Identifying your key strengths will help you overcome your weaknesses.

You will be thankful to yourself for making a business plan because you will always need to revisit it when you feel confused or indecisive. Your initial guts will help you stay motivated and not forget the values of your business.

Lay the Legal Grounds

It is crucially important for you to protect your business’s intellectual property. Getting your business name registered does cost a chunk of money, but we assure you, it’s worth it. Not only will it provide your business with authenticity, but it will also make you feel like a true business owner.
You also need to set up a bank account solely for your business, which will be used for transactions when you buy your supplies and sell your products.

Design a Marketing Plan

After you have identified your target market and product portfolio and made your business legal, make a marketing plan. This step is a bit intimidating, but it is just about how you will market your business and create awareness. Here are some quick steps to follow to come up with a comprehensive and effective plan:

•Set some smart goals for your cosplay business. Keep them simple like “gain 1000 followers in 1 month” or “sell 20 products online.” Keep the goals minimal at the start or else they will feel daunting and you might get discouraged along the way.

•Decide on the tactics and strategies to reach your goals. For example, which social media channels will you use? How will you advertise?

Get Creative

Art and creativity are the true essence of cosplay. To break into the business aspect of things, you need to add value and be able to make unique costumes while providing a personalized experience to your customers. Again, we would recommend you take things slow.
Trying out many options at once will flatten your abilities quickly and you do not want that to happen. Hence, start up your business with a couple of high-quality pieces and gain efficiency to master the design.
There’s a major opportunity in this business as hundreds and thousands of energetic cosplayers seek unique and authentic tailormade designs. Hence, custom designs can sell wonders.

Let the Brand Stand Out

Congratulations! You have laid all the necessary groundwork to initiate your cosplay business. Now, it’s time to build your actual presence. The cosplay community is modern and tech-savvy. The participants interact with each other via social media and online forums. These are the channels you should tap into first. We have mentioned some key steps to get you visible and running:

Let your creativity unleash itself into your cosplay business. Try to make your logo and tagline as attractive as possible because most people are drawn to interesting and kickass labels. Your logo has to be striking and powerful which shows your brand’s charm. If you are not very good at graphic designing, hire a freelancer and get the job done.

Let Your Audience Find You Online

You have to be online to be found! Initially, you can use resources like Shopify, Etsy and eBay to build your online presence if you cannot directly create a website. Start showing off your creations and let your colors fly. Give your customers a call to action and an online ordering option.

Set Up a Blog

In the cosplay community, trends keep on changing. A new TV series, movie, or video game can take the whole convention by a storm and in no time, every other cosplayer will be trying to find the most unique way to show their new-found love. This provides a great opportunity to your cosplay business to sell information.
In today’s world, information is a commodity. Fans and cosplayers are always in search for information about what is trending and new in the community, and your business can satisfy their need by having an interesting and well-written blog. You must consider blogging to keep your customers hooked on the information, and it will automatically drive them to your cosplay business.

Get Social

Amid offering your products and services and showing off your passion for cosplays, do not forget to socialize with your customers. For any business, attracting and retaining customers is important to keep the revenue stream running. Socializing plays a pivotal role in connecting your audience to your business. Be yourself, show off your creativity, and let people know how awesome you are.
Here is a quick tip: keep your private and business accounts completely separate. This will help you maintain a steady brand image of your cosplay business, track your customers and followers count, and keep you safe from privacy breaches and cybercrime.

Take Advantage of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the technique of getting recommendations for your products and services by other businesses in exchange for the same. To make your business grow, use affiliation links which will help you reach a wider audience and potential customers. If someone from your audience uses that link to purchase a product, your business earns a commission. You may not be aware of it, but businesses earn a lot when you click on a particular link or website and make purchases online.
A cosplay business might be challenging to start and it can be difficult to stand out amidst the increasing competition and fan expectations. However, for a person with true passion for bringing fictional characters to life, this business can make them flourish and successful.
It is important to lay down a strong foundation before you make things official. This will help you understand the cosplay fandom and community in the best way possible. To meet the needs of cosplayers and provide them with a satisfying and amazing experience, make sure to follow our step-by-step guide.