Love Of Cosplay Turns Into Full - Time Job, Success Story


Love of cosplay turns into full-time job, success storyMarika Oyama turned the hobby she loved into a full-fledged business.
Cosplay fans in the Okayama city area in Okayama Prefecture and beyond flock to her special photo studio that helps them with costumes, makeup and props as they portray their favorite anime and manga characters.

The 27-year-old Oyama had no previous business experience, but she took a monthlong course in entrepreneurship before opening Studio Angle in January in the Marunouchi area of Kita Ward.

Studio Angle has become a real success story, and Oyama says she has found repeat customers in and out of the prefecture.

Studio Angle is housed in a building near the prefectural government office. The studio comprises two rooms, one white, one black. Each room is equipped with a dressing room and a dresser. Customers can also use hair irons, makeup removers and other items provided by Studio Angle.

Most of Studio Angle's customers are girls and women in their teens and 20s who dress up and do a makeup before having their photographs taken.

A longtime anime fan, Oyama studied illustration and computer graphics in high school. One day, she stumbled upon costumed fans at an anime event. Oyama gave cosplay a try and she loved it. She soon realized that photographs of cosplayers at anime events can often have unwanted distractions in the backgrounds, and that regular photo studios were way too pricey.

"I thought what cosplayers needed was a studio that caters just to them," Oyama says.

To prepare to start her own business, Oyama took a business start-up course offered by the Okayama Chamber of Commerce and Industry to learn the basics.

She came up with a business proposal that was so convincing that the local bank gave her the green light for a loan to get Studio Angle off the ground. The studio opened in January. and is off to a flying start.

Some customers have come from neighboring Hiroshima Prefecture and even across the sea from Kagawa Prefecture, Oyama says.

"It's been fun to be able to turn what I love into a job," she says.

The fee for a three-hour session on weekends is 7,000 yen ($70). In addition to fake swords and model guns, Oyama's other self-made weapons and props are also available, as well as photography services.

Check out Studio Angle's official website at (http://studioangle.web.fc2.com/).

AJW