I have not paid retail pricing in 5 years.
You read that right.
That's not to say that I haven't gone to a retail store and gotten groceries, paper products, etc. for anything at all, but clothing, shoes, electronics, costumes, toys, collectibles...just about anything else, I have purchased direct from the manufacturers at a far lower cost than I would have paid retail. I do this for my children (growing boys! - socks, shoes, jeans, swimsuits), myself and other members of my family.
I started purchasing items at wholesale years ago on a minor scale. I create jewelry with gaming dice and would buy large quantities in bulk, along with necklaces, earrings and other jewelry findings. From there, it expanded to cosplay items, costumes and accessories for convention wear. Before long, I was doing this for friends and family, for Ren Faires, Sci-fi and Fantasy conventions, LARP sessions, Steampunk aficionados, and Alt Pin-ups. We also branched off into the adult market.
Those who go back through the blog posts can easily see that there is a gap. This was the unfortunate side effect of personal responsibility following a very bad divorce. This year we have been focused on getting back on our feet and getting the word out there again.
Being self-employed isn't just a pass-time for us - it's a necessity. I am now a single mom with two teenage boys on the autism spectrum, the youngest of which is considered disabled and needs a lot of extra assistance. Traditional jobs do not allow for me to take as much time off as is necessary for counseling, doctors, tests, schools and random days when they may stay home. This business allows for me to take care of them in the best way I can.
And as a bonus, I truly love what I do.
I greatly enjoy the satisfaction it brings when I am able to find my clients the perfect piece to round out a cosplay. I love being able to find someone that beautiful set of dice they're been searching for. I'm delighted to search out those hard-to-find pieces that collectors would love to add to their shelves, but just can't seem to track down.
My background as an artist also allows me to create customized pieces for people. Flags, stickers, posters - one of a kind items that no one else would have. I'll admit that this is probably the most fun, and probably a favorite for my clients as well.
So if you're reading this, and there's something you've been searching for, why don't you give us a shout? We might just be able to help you not only find whatever you need, but save you money in the process.