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strange_doings ([personal profile] strange_doings) wrote2012-11-07 02:11 pm
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Winter Accessories

I've been brainstorming what I can do over the winter, when the sales on fleece are pretty much ongoing and my usual commissions drop off in volume. If I ever start vending at cons in the winter, it'll be essential to stock the table with adorable items people will realize they not only love, but need because it's cold outside and they're nerds who must show their nerdery with every piece of clothing.

Scarves are kind of ubiquitous but everyone does need one and want one, or several. They're easy to make, so what would set them apart? I'm thinking embroidered nerd logos. I've seen a lot of scarves around Etsy and at cons that are really creative and interesting, made to look like Ponies and other animal characters - the most interesting one I saw was a Kyuubi (sp?) scarf with rings on the ends. I don't want to copy what anyone else is doing, though. So, I'm thinking of going a little more streamlined and elegant - solid colors with embroidered patches near the ends. Perhaps a little geek-friendly print now and then, like camo or flames or skulls. If I can find rainbow-print, I'll even do KH DDD dream-eater scarves.

Hats are second-most popular and easy to find, and I have to be very careful not to copy anything else anyone is doing. Mostly because, I know how I would feel if I was rolling around Etsy or other marketplaces and saw someone essentially copying something I had designed, so I'm not going to do it to another. We small-business owners need to stick together. Instead of just making beanies with animal ears, or plain beanies/skull caps, I want to go a bit more creative. It may be a risk, but it's one I'm willing to take for the sake of someone out there who really gets into their fandom. One idea is hat-scarf combos - a hat that has something attached that wraps around the neck to make a scarf. I've seen a couple, mainly rabbit-ear hats, but I'm going even beyond that. The only trouble I'm having there is thinking up more than one design. I have one great idea I'm holding close to my chest, but if I can find more characters to imitate it could become a whole line. The other idea is helmet-hats, or hood-hats. They would be more like ski-masks or something, or think Finn's hat from Adventure Time: a hood that has the face completely open, but will cover your head, ears, and neck/chin. Anyone who lives as far north as I do knows that you need these hats in the dead of winter! So why not get one that looks like a superhero or sentai helmet? Wild Tiger and Barnaby helmets, Megaman helms, maybe even WoW or LOTR open-face helms.

More difficult would be mittens and gloves. Sewing mittens is easy; sewing gloves is a pain in the ass, let's be honest. Either way, though, the tough part would be in the research. Now, there are a lot of characters who do wear gloves and there is demand for those for cosplay purposes. But what about winter gloves and mittens? Something geeky, fun, cute, but also warm and cozy and meant to be worn daily instead of with a costume. I know there's a few character gloves that would be amusing to see as winter gloves - Roy's alchemist gloves, for example, from FMA. But I could use some tips on where else to look for interesting glove or even hand/paw designs.

What I would really love to do, but can't because the hardware is not available, is earmuffs. I would love to make winter earmuffs that look like Vocaloid headphones. But no matter what I use as search terms, I can not for the life of me find the hardware alone. It would be too expensive to buy cheap earmuffs and re-cover the muffs with fandom designs - even thrift-store $2 earmuffs is too much to tack on to the construction and materials costs. I don't know if people will buy Vocaloid earmuffs for $15-20.

Beyond that, I'm starting to look into other generic fandom-related items that people can buy for non-cosplay purposes. It's fun to make character items for people, especially when they're at a con and realize that that Kotetsu Kaburagi tie or that Trafalgar Law hat can be worn both as part of a costume and as stand-alone clothing items. And I will continue to look for those types of items to make. The timeskip Law hat went fast at Geek-kon, and I need to make more. That was where I got the idea to make items like ties and hats that are more generic, that may have a fandom style, print, or logo on it so that people can wear it anywhere with any outfit and not just a costume.

First and foremost, after great success at Geek-kon, I'm going to be making a line of fandom neckties. Possibly both in clip-on and full tie versions. There are a lot of cotton prints available that will appeal to nerds, and even guys with "real" jobs who have to wear a tie to work might be interested in an easy-to-wash cotton tie instead of a delicate silk or wool tie. Then again, with my experience working with silk and wool, I'm also personally interested in making high-end silk and wool ties with embroidered logos on them. Say, a green silk tie with a single question mark embroidered on it for Riddler fans? Black and navy wool ties with cutie marks? A red tie with the Fire Nation symbol? The possibilities are endless.

Plushies also did very well at Geek-kon, but I want to be more careful about what I load up on stock-wise, in case I end up having to store plushies for years before someone will pick it up. I've discovered that I do very well with animal shapes, but not humanoid or doll shapes. The pony pattern from digitalchangeling is fantastic, I love it and I should make more - possibly out of flannel instead of cotton the next batch. I can do dragons, but I may keep that as a custom-build-only thing, because they're complicated. Depending on what kind of plush fabric I can find, I would love to make some fat, cuddly Dream Eater plushies from KH DDD. The designs are mainly round and scream cute, and we can embroider the emblem on them. It really will depend on fabric finds, though. They're mainly rainbow-colored and not one solid color or shade, so it will take finding the right stuff in the first place.

Either way, I've got my work cut out for me if I want to get items designed, prototyped, and up on Etsy while they're still relevant. Winter is just one of those times. I would love to hear any suggestions on fandoms or specific characters who may have a glove, tie, hat, helmet, hairstyle, or other unique factor that would make a great mitten, hat, scarf, or other item. I might even have to offer discounts to folks who give me fantastically cute ideas!

Next time I can find the time to blog, I'm going to post up pictures of the Wild Tiger and Bunny hero-suit sweatshirts I've been designing. They've gone from hoodies to pullovers with detachable hoods, but I think I've got it figured out. I'm going to be looking for opinions before I sew a prototype, though. It's better than getting stuck with a hoodie I can't move!