We can all agree that, as a geek, one of the best things about conventions and the internet is the ability to find unique pieces of nerdy memorabilia that are both one-of-a-kind and positively adorable. So, naturally, we get excited when we come across talented people with phenomenal shops of geeky goodness online.
Today we are going to be talking with a phenomenal creator of nerdy goodness, Alexandria of Kawaii Pixels. She has created so many wonderful pieces of art across multiple fandoms, from Studio Ghibli to Dragon Ball Z and beyond. She creates bracelets, blankets, and more. We wanted to get to know her better, so we had an interview with her to find out a little more about Alexandria and her Kawaii Pixels shop. She also sent us some of her merchandise, including special Kiki’s Delivery Service earrings made specifically for me (as it is my favorite Studio Ghibli film), so our readers could get a close look at some of the merch she has to offer.
Elise at Geek Insider: Hi, Alexandria! It’s nice to be able to talk with you. Can you tell us how you got started with creating these fun pieces of geekitude and what types of goodies you make?
Alexandria at Kawaii Pixels: I’ve been a crafter for a long time, since I was a kid actually. Many of my friends would say, “Oh, that’s awesome! You should sell that!” To which I was always leery, mostly afraid of failure. I wanted to make something that there wasn’t much competition for but there was also a market for. So, that is when my quest began. First, I wanted to make charms out of polymer clay. That was okay, I would gift them to friends still toying with the idea. Then I wanted to make plushies. That didn’t last long lol, as everything I made looked like it was melting or had a stroke. I had also toyed with the idea of selling cosplay pieces and full-customized commissions. Then one day, I was speaking to a good friend of mine whose birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks.
I asked her what she wanted me to make her for her birthday and her response was, “Hmm… I’m not sure… A King Boo blanket!!!” Then my search began on how I was going to make it. I found a pixelated picture of King Boo and decided that’s what I would do. I have quilted before, but not as my main hobby. So, I decided to make it in the form of a quilt. It was a hit. I had also been working with Perler fuse beads for some time and made some earrings for myself and some friends and people would stop me to ask where I got them. So, then it dawned on me that I could sell those too. I couldn’t decide what my niche would be for the longest because I didn’t want buyers to be confused by my shop. So, it was then that I decided I would make and sell blankets, pillows, jewelry, and magnets in an old school 8-bit pixelated theme.
The blankets and pillows are made out of 100% Cotton fabric for the front and a cozy flannel or fleece in the back that I buy at my local quilt shop. I then take it to my in-home workshop and cut and piece everything myself. The jewelry and magnets are made from Perler Brand fuse beads. I use a nickel-free fish hook and jump rings for the earrings. A hypoallergenic sterling silver fish hook can be purchased at an additional cost.
What are your favorite fandoms to work with?
I would definitely have to say anime and video games. Anime probably being the top, while video games being the easiest since a lot of video games already come in the 8-bit medium. My personal love for the two are equal though.
What is your favorite part of making these fun creations? What do you find the most enjoyable, and what is/are the most rewarding part(s)?
My favorite part is the designing aspect because I get to put what’s in my brain into a tangible form for everyone to see. I find the blankets to be most enjoyable because sewing is very therapeutic for me. It doesn’t even feel like I’m working when I sew. The most rewarding part is seeing the finished product and the reaction from whoever receives the blanket. When I lay the finished product out and take a step back, the feeling is amazing, almost like a high. First, I’m in awe that I created the piece, then I move into the phase of, “Am I sure I want to give this away?” Haha! Then, I’m happy to send it off in hopes that the receiver enjoys and loves it as much I as do. I really put a lot of love into my work, as if it’s being made for myself.
What is the hardest part of what you do?
The hardest part would have to be cutting the fabric and making the earrings, I don’t have a magical machine that does the cutting for me. I do everything myself, by hand. It can get monotonous pretty quickly.
It gets very mentally exhausting, and when that happens I’m prone to making mistakes, which is why it’s very important to give myself ample time to cut fabric. If I’m off by even an 1/8 of an inch, it’ll add up and you’ll be able to tell that the lines don’t add up. As far as the earrings, I do enjoy making them, but the beads are so tiny, it just gets tedious after a while. I usually can only work on them at night as well because I have a toddler. So, I’m already exhausted from other things that I do during the day.
What are your favorite creations you have made?
My favorite creations would have to be all of the Legend of Zelda items, the Sailor Moon blanket, the Star Trek communicator badge pin, and the Mario magnets. They all have a special place in my heart because they remind me of my childhood.
Are there any pieces you are excited to make in the future? Are there any pieces that seem daunting but you want to take on?
Yes! I’m so excited to make a Majora’s Mask blanket, a Haku (in dragon spirit form) blanket from Spirited Away, bracelets, and some awesome throw pillows! One piece that I really want to make that is so daunting is the World 1 map from Super Mario 3. That would be amazing to see! But the fabric cutting and how massive it will be is what scares me! So, maybe I’ll do a magnet set instead.
How do you see your business growing? What goals do you have? Do you plan on creating other items as well?
I see possibly hiring some employees to help eventually and going to more conventions to sell. My goals and dreams are to get a physical location instead of working out of my home. I would still create at home, but I personally like to go out and get what I want. I don’t like waiting for shipping from online shopping, haha! So, I feel that having a physical shop would be beneficial.
I am actually designing and creating more products as we speak. We will be making bracelets, tote bags, drawstring bags, and hats in the very near future!
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own online business, particularly of the gaming/geek culture persuasion?
As cliché as it sounds, just do it! There is never a “perfect opportunity” or “right time”. Stop waiting, don’t be afraid and do it! You don’t have to have a full inventory to start. You can start with one item and add slowly. I actually don’t recommend that you try to have fully stocked products. What happens if they don’t sell as well as you thought? Then you’ve wasted money and materials. Starting out, you can’t afford to waste money, time, or resources. Don’t let fear be the thing holding you back. Failure will happen, that product you were set on may not sell, but that’s okay. That’s how you learn, but knowing us geeks and gamers, there will be someone who wants what you sell. You just have to learn who you’re selling to and how to get those people to see your products! I make everything to order because I know my product and I know the cost. Since I’m starting out, I don’t know which items will sell more than others. So, I just play it safe, especially since I do a lot of custom orders. What one person loves, another may not. So, it’s also important to have a variety of products at varying prices for different consumers.
GI: Where can we find your shop or contact you for services?
KP: I plan to have my Etsy Shop open soon, but for now you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have also been planning to start a YouTube channel to make tutorials for how I make my blankets. I believe it’s going to be a good year for Kawaii Pixels.
A big thank you to Alexandria, the owner of Kawaii Pixels! We look forward to following her online and seeing what she comes up with next! You can follow Kawaii Pixels on Facebook and Instagram at @KawaiiPixels