Which is why I was thrilled when I stumbled across Karol B.
|You see that? It's $15!|
What Makes Karol B So Great?
You see that leg drop bag? I bought one for myself as a Christmas indulgence, and with shipping and handling it cost me less than $20. Getting a similar design from other companies, but particularly from boutique costumers, could easily cost double, triple, or quintuple that amount.
If you poke around Karol B, you'll see that same kind of shocking difference in cost all over the place. Have you ever wanted a custom, post-apocalyptic backpack complete with your own war boy logo? Well, would you pay $49.99 for it? Particularly when the same sort of bag would easily run you two to three times that from another location? How about vintage WWII accessories for under $10? You know, the sorts of things you scour Ebay for at 2 in the morning to complete your costume, and the only auction you find is already $25 more than what you'd be willing to pay.
|Do I really need to eat for the next week?|
Aside from consistently low prices, cool gear, and a changing lineup of stuff, Karol B is a small business that caters to what we in the geeky world are looking for. So, as a satisfied customer, I reached out to the site's owner Karol Bartoszynski and asked him if he'd be willing to answer a few questions. He was, and here is the result!
Question #1: What Made You Open Your Store?
I opened an Etsy store a few years ago as mostly a way to try selling a few handmade items now & then, with mixed results. It wasn't until 2012, after losing yet another soulless, dissatisfying job in Los Angeles, that I finally decided enough was enough.
I resolved to pursue my passion for costume & clothing design as a living, and not work for anyone again. It wasn't long before I was sewing custom jackets & pants in my friend's garage.
Then, things really picked up when I started selling my backpacks. I never knew backpacks were so popular. That's when I started selling them on my own personal site, KarolB.com.
I'm always trying new things & definitely hoping to one day return to focusing on clothing. But right now, making accessories & patches is easier to manage. My next plan is to offer unique baseball caps.
I think customers come back because I offer things that are unique & you can't find anywhere else. There are so many companies manufacturing the same old indistinguishable dress shirts, bags, etc. I'd rather stand out in the crowd & offer something that makes you feel like you're dressed to be in your favorite movie, video game, or rock band.
Question #4: Are There Any Particular Fandoms or Groups (LARPers, cosplayers, etc.) Who Find Your Gear A Perfect Fit?
I have found cosplayers to be my best audience. My stuff tends to walk the edge of daily clothing & costume, which perhaps helps cosplayers bring their hobby into their daily lives. I'm also a really big post-apocalypse fan (I am one of the founders of Wasteland Weekend, the world's largest post-apocalyptic festival), so there's definitely a focus on that in my stuff, especially with Mad Max & Fallout. I also run the Mad Max costume reference site, MadMaxCostumes.com, so some of my accessories are really screen-accurate & targeted at serious fans.
So, what are you waiting for? Go check out Karol B today, and see if they have that piece you've been looking for. And, while you're at it, follow Karol B on Facebook, too.
That's all for this week's Moon Pope Monday update. Hopefully there are some folks out there who enjoyed this little signal boost. If you'd like to support Improved Initiative, all you have to do is go to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page, and toss a little change in my jar. And there's free swag in it for everyone who chooses to support! Lastly, if you haven't followed me on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter yet, why not do it today?