Published on August 4th, 2016 | by Cheryl CS0
You bring the heat gun. Just Be Cos will bring the Worbla.
For a long time, cosplayers looking to purchase supplies locally had two main options: Karries Kostumes in St. Albert, or Theatre Garage, which has recently moved to the south side. Both stores specialize in ready-made costumes and accessories and, while Theatre Garage does offer crafting supplies, it can be a bit of a trek for those living in different parts of the city.
Luckily, Edmonton and area resident cosplayers can add one more stop to their supply-gathering checklist with the opening of Just Be Cos in Sherwood Park. Led by husband-and-wife team Shane and Colinne Stroud, the cosplay-focused store officially opened on June 8, 2016, after initially vending solely at conventions across Canada.
Just Be Cos specializes in cosplay supplies and crafting items, while also featuring products like Aradani Elf Ear prosthetics and the much-loved line of Arda Wigs. A brief browse through their online catalog shows a number of brands known intimately by cosplayers, with hard-to-find items that would be difficult to find anywhere else in the city.
We interviewed Shane about his and Colinne’s reasons for opening a cosplay-specific store and where they think it fits in terms of other costume suppliers in Edmonton.
Why did you open Just Be Cos?
Being a cosplay family, we grew tired of searching the earth looking for the materials we needed to do our costumes. We also wanted to become more involved with our wonderful cosplay community here in Edmonton and, after much thought, we made the decision to open a cosplay and craft supply shop. [This idea was received] with much acceptance within the cosplay community, as well as a number of people wanting to learn how to cosplay. On top of our retail side of the store, we now offer classes and seminars from some of Edmonton’s finest cosplayers, showing their talents to new and experienced minds looking for a new perspective.
How did you get involved in the cosplay world?
I would have to say Halloween started the whole sickness, as well as others; it was dressing up and being somebody else for a while that got me started. Then with the evolution of the fandom, conventions and expos, dressing up could be not just for Halloween, and having access to certain materials to make your designs come to life made it more intriguing and fun. Now you could be any character you want! With a design and mindset, one can make their design come true and, with a store like ours, which is dedicated strictly to cosplay, we carry no costumes–you want it, you make it.
Compared to big box costume stores like Party City and all of the seasonal Halloween stores, what makes your store different?
The stores mentioned carry ready-to-wear costumes and accessories, whereas our store carries minimal pre-made appliances–the rest is up to your ability and imagination to create your costume with the materials we sell in store. The selection you will find in our store is specific to cosplay, from thermoplastics, sewing patterns, glues, foams and foam cutting tools, instructional books, wigs, prosthetic appliances, fangs, theatrical blood, and the list just keeps growing. Everything we carry has a spectrum of prices to suit every customer–all quality items. Some products we carry can only come from us. For example, we are prod to be the only Cosplayflex thermoplastics supplier in Canada, as well as being the only store in Canada to carry Simplicity sewing patterns. We are the only brick and mortar store of its kind in Canada right now, solely catering to cosplay and craft supplies, and we are proud to call the Edmonton area our home.
How do you know what products to source? What avenues do you use to find out what cosplayers are looking for?
When we started our mission, we simply asked on local forums what the cosplay community would want to see in a store like this. The response was overwhelming and we are going through our long list of products to decide on what to carry–the rest of the products we had already used in the past with success and decided to bring those to the table as well, especially craft supplies that were “lost” in the craft world and are now gaining new ground within the cosplay community. We found a need and use for a lot of products that made cosplay easier to achieve.
Why do you think it’s important for cosplayers to have a dedicated supply store?
The store was opened for both seasoned veterans and brand new people wanting to learn how to make a costume from scratch, and to provide materials and supplies that even the most experienced cosplayer has never thought to use before. It is an epicentre of collaborations from every cosplayer we know, [each bringing] a certain something to the store by way of experience and use. For that we are grateful, because that just makes our store well-rounded–every product in-store has a backstory and, in the end, it makes for a reliable and informative experience.
What are your most popular products at the moment?
A bit of everything really, from our hot wire foam factory foam cutting tools to our sewing patterns, to our selection of thermoplastics, to our offerings of prosthetic appliances in the way of ears and fangs. Our thermoplastic gloves are certainly a hit–no more burning or cutting yourself. They are amazing! Our instructional books from both Kamui Cosplay and Cyehra Cosplay help all cosplayers out. No product in-store gets ignored and that makes us happy because we are on the right track to catering to our local cosplayers, and that is awesome!
Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
We are here for our cosplay community in both products and experience, we love our community, and we look forward to being an even larger contributor to helping and educating. There are bright stars in our future that will come to light very soon and we would like to thank the folks that have accepted us and are helping us push forward by letting us know that we are doing a good thing.
Just Be Cos – Cosplay and Craft Supplies
Unit 133, 120 Wye Road
Sherwood Park, AB
Visit the Just Be Cos website here.
Check out the Just Be Cos Facebook page here.
All images courtesy of Just Be Cos.