Hello Fan girls (or guys or non-binary, we don’t discriminate here)! A question that is steadily asked on many cosplay forums revolves around sponsors and how cosplayers get them. I’m sure you are familiar with Kamui Cosplay and her experiences working for Blizzard or Medion; if you’re not, she is a great example of what you can do with a little marketing, some dedication, a bit of luck and a whole lot of determination. Kamui was already pretty well known when she started receiving commissions/sponsorship offers from companies. In fact, most of the examples that cosplayers have for sponsorships come from the mouths of famous cosplayers/costumers. So how does someone with skill, experiences but a small following get noticed?
For starters, most sponsors ignore cold calls/emails. Why? Well, they receive hundreds and/or thousands of communications a day that could be more relevant, lucrative and/or important to their mission. Just because you emailed them or left them with your business card doesn’t guarantee you a moment of their time or notice. This can be disheartening for a budding cosplayer who is trying to break into a growing industry. Take a moment, breathe in and realize that not all is not lost.
If you want to reach sponsors you’ll need to start small. Join Facebook groups that focus on Cosplay Marketing, Networking and Product Testing. Many of these groups are public but you will need to fill out a form explaining why you want to join. Here are a few Facebook groups we recommend to get started…
These groups often have people working their way towards cosplay as a profession who can offer advice. The promotional groups help get your name out there and there are often representatives for big cosplay companies lurking in these groups looking to secure talent.
Interacting with people in your area is another way to build rapport. Since your audience will likely start where you home region is, you want to ensure you have a good relationship with other local cosplayers. Look for postings in libraries, community centers and on local web forums related to costuming, cosplay and/or comicons. In my area there are monthly art walks (twice a month in my state now) where people gather from all walks of creativity and share their work. It is here where you can commune with other creators and develop a network of support or knowledge. Sometimes sponsors can be a local government, company or even affluent person. Branding yourself as “THIS COSPLAYER” at public events increases recognition and gives you a chance at obtaining a sponsor.
I recently had some Worbla’s KobraCast Art sponsored by CosplaySupplies. The sponsor was fishing for cosplayers in a Facebook forum and I took ahold of the lure fast. I worked two different contracts with them and produced the following content:
- Pokemon Ears with Worbla’s KobraCast Art
- Yojimbo FFX : A Cosplay Build Tutorial (Pauldrons, Breast Plate, Sword and Accessories made with Worbla’s KobraCast Art)
This sponsor was VERY thorough. We set deadlines for delivery, requirements for content and discussed how much of the product I would be given. Following these two contracts I was contacted by Wonderflex World and asked if I would experiment with their new Wonderflex Pro Product (this is still a WIP project for me).
Getting one sponsorship does not guarantee another but it DOES get you noticed by the industry. I am a panelist which means I often teach and/or present new ideas to vast audiences. When discussing sponsorships with potential companies be sure to mention your reach. Make sure you explain your talents and NEVER short sale yourself just because your Facebook or Instagram following is under 1,000. You can do this. Branding, Marketing and Networking are keys to success!