Meet the Team!

Amanda "Mari" Gregory

Founder and President


Amanda (aka Mari) is our company’s president. She was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and moved to Los Angeles, CA, in 2006. She went to FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in 2006, where she would make cosplays for homework assignments, and earned degrees in fashion design and theatre costume design. Since her first cosplay and anime convention in 2007, she’s been addicted to cosplaying and challenging herself. While helping her friends create their own cosplays, she wanted to find a way to help others as well.

After FIDM, she went on to work in the film industry for a few years as a costume designer before she realized that what she actually wanted to do was help other people make cosplays. So she went back to school at ELAC (East Los Angeles College), where she earned a degree in humanities, and then transferred to Chapman University, where earned a degree in business administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. From there, she started First Stop Cosplay with the hope to help educate, inspire, and empower those who want to create their own cosplays.

Her favorite character is Black Rock Shooter, she’s obsessed with Fruits Basket, and Snorlax is her personal icon.


Kelly Willey

Marketing Director 

Kelly is our marketing director! She was born and raised around the South Bay area in Los Angeles, CA. If she’s not playing FFXIV, she’s spending time with her animals while watching anime or Disney+. She takes care of our social media platforms as well as convention schedules. She’s been cosplaying/dressing up and going to anime conventions since 2005. Her favorite cosplay is Linkle from Hyrule Warriors, and her dream cosplay is Yukari’s blue runway dress from Paradise Kiss


Katy Titus

Marketing Consultant


Katy is our marketing consultant! She lives in San Diego, CA, and when she's not playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons or bingeing history documentaries on YouTube, she assists us in our promotional efforts by drawing on her experience in marketing for arts & culture institutions. Her first cosplay was Rapunzel from Disney's Tangled, and her dream cosplay is Hanji Zoe from Attack on Titan.


Mara Lam

Administrative Assistant


Mara is our administrative assistant. Born in South Florida, they were raised on shounen anime, shoujo manga, and roleplaying video games. They assist in the daily operations at the office, making sure everyone gets the help they need. They went to college for geography and public affairs, hoping to engage more in their passion for sustainability and accessibility. When they are not fussing over their rabbit, you can find them volunteering, playing Yu-Gi-Oh, and learning obscure video game trivia.

Art credit: chewyjulie on Instagram. 


Ryan Palmerton

Project Manager 

Ryan is our project manager. He is from Portland, Oregon and recently moved to Southern California, trading rain for more traffic and a new love of quesabirria tacos. He fell in love with the cosplay community at Anime Expo 2013, and by the next year he attended with a cosplay he made himself. His favorite cosplay he’s made was a Twilight Princess Link with a full chainmail shirt that took him 5 months to craft out of fence wire! His other hobbies are karaoke, thrift shopping, eating all forms of dumplings, and dancing in VR.


Ashley Kirk


Ashley is our patternmaker. She grew up in Dana Point, CA watching anime, reading manga, and learning how to sew. Her first convention was Anime Expo 2009, and it immediately sparked her love for creating cosplay. She was awarded Best in Show in the Animation on Display Masquerade in 2016 and is always looking forward to her next big cosplay project. When not at her sewing machine, she likes to play video games, hang out with her three cockatiels, and watch anime. She looks forward to bringing more cosplays to life!


Kristin Koga

Hand Sewer


Kristin is one of our hand sewers. She grew up in Encinitas, CA. Since she was young, she’s had a passion for the arts. It started with a love for the Sailor Moon manga as a child that got her to attend conventions as a teen. Anime and geek content has been a constant backdrop and inspiration in her life, from starting a blog dedicated to costume design to holding a degree in textiles and clothing. After becoming a finalist for the Her Universe “Geek Couture” Fashion Show in 2014, it brought together her love of geek things, costume design, and fashion design.


Arron Bowman

Hand Sewer


Arron is another one of our hand sewers. Growing up in San Diego, CA, he became obsessed with making his costumes for Halloween in fourth grade. In eighth grade, he attempted his first cosplay for the premiere of the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender movie. In high school, he founded a cosplay club focused on teaching cosplay to his fellow peers. To pursue his passion, he went to college and holds a degree in theater with an emphasis in costume design and technology. Over the years, he’s won several awards competing at WonderCon, Anime Los Angeles, Anime Conji, and San Diego Comic-Con.



Carl Pangi

Video Engineer


This is Carl! He's another video engineer at First Stop Cosplay. Born and raised in San Diego, he graduated with a degree in film at CSU Fullerton. He loves playing video games, watching movies & anime, and making illustrations of various art. He's been attending conventions since 2001! Now, he usually attends as a photographer and goes by Pangi Cospix. Along with his honed video skills, he's a cosplayer as well! He's very excited and feels lucky to be able to mesh both of his hobbies into a professional career.


Kit Pierce

Online Sales Representative


Kit is our sales representative! Originally from South Florida, they've been a part of the Florida con scene since 2012, and worked as a convention vendor from 2014 to 2019 when they moved to join the Cali con scene instead. Their love for anime started from when Naruto very first aired on Toonami, and spent ages getting up before dawn to watch Inuyasha, only to trade it for waking up before dawn to work on cosplays before school instead. The freedom and passion towards cosplay drove them to keep up the hobby as they tried newer and bigger projects to learn new more complex skills ranging from thoroughly coordinated group cosplays to ballgowns like Beatrice from Umineko!


Raven Walker

Online Sales Representative


Meet Raven. Raven was born/raised in So Cal and is an old school Anime head. She is First Stop Cosplay’s Online Sales Representative and Jill of All Trades. Raven made her first cosplay, Gender Bent Testament from Guilty Gear, in 2004 for Anime Expo and got hooked on making outfits for herself and others. Even before cosplay Raven was a lifelong nerd. She started her path to Nerddom at 5 with video games, at age 11 she discovered comic books, and at 18 Fan4Fan Anime on VHS. It did not take too much convincing to propel her to make cosplay, and a few years later Guilty Gear (Testament and Baiken), Bleach, Mana, and Club Wear kept her happily /constantly creating. Raven’s love of Cosplay/Costume/Clothing lead her to earn a degree of Fashion Design and pursue work in the industry.  Some may recognize this Red Dame from conventions or fashion shows, and she looks forward to being of service yet again with her sage if not mildly silly advice and creating a space for people to learn, grow, and expand their idea of what is possible.