- Identify the existing barriers to cosplay that prevent both aspiring and existing cosplayers from making their own costumes.
- Find ways to break down those barriers and help people make costumes themselves.
Our vision in starting First Stop Cosplay is to create products that allow aspiring and existing cosplayers to make their own costumes by learning new skills and improving upon what they already know.
First Stop Cosplay was founded by Amanda “Mari” Gregory during the summer of 2019 in Los Angeles, CA. She has earned degrees in fashion design and theatre costume design (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising), humanities (East Los Angeles College), and business administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship (Chapman University).
She made her first cosplay back in 2007 and has been making new ones ever since. A self-dubbed ‘equal opportunity cosplayer,’ Amanda believes that anyone who wants to cosplay should be able to, and that belief is the base of everything that First Stop Cosplay stands for. However, she kept meeting people who said that they wanted to cosplay but didn’t know what to do or how to improve. Finally, sick of not knowing how to help, Amanda decided to take matter into her own hands. And so, First Stop Cosplay was born!
Behind Our Name:
“Several years ago, I helped one of my best friends, Jun, make her first cosplay. Whenever I could, I would try to explain to her what I was doing and teach her how to do it herself. It always caught me off guard how excited she got whenever I showed her how to do something new.
Take, for example, her sheer delight at learning not only how simple it is to make a pleated skirt, but also how to iron in the pleats by herself. The idea that a pleated skirt is one of the easiest garments to make by yourself is something that I have long considered as fact. But watching her happily iron away at that pleated skirt—by seeing the construction of a cosplay through her eyes—made me realize just how many things I take for granted.
I already knew at this point that I wanted to open my own cosplay store one day. Originally, I wanted it to serve as a one-stop-shop for all things related to cosplay, and I planned to name the store ‘One Stop Cosplay.’
That all changed, however, when June put on her completed cosplay for the very first time: she saw herself in the mirror, turned around to look at me, and the pure joy on her face—the way she positively beamed—absolutely stunned me. That was the moment I realized that I don’t want to sell people cosplays; I want to help them make their own.
I believe that cosplay is more than just the finished costume. I believe that it is an experience, one that starts the second that someone decides on a character, and that continues long after construction on the costume has finished.
Once I realized that what I really wanted to do was to find ways to help people make their own cosplay, I immediately knew that I didn’t want my future store to be any cosplayer’s only stop. Instead, I wanted it to be their starting place, the first stop among many on the road to making their cosplay by themselves. And thus, ‘One Stop Cosplay’ was changed to ‘First Stop Cosplay.’
However, although First Stop Cosplay is meant to be the first stop among many, we will still gladly follow and support any and every cosplayer during the rest of their journey.”
Amanda Mari Gregory (Founder)