While my real business does not cater to cosplay directly, I am somehow part of the system in which Buy and Sell of goods and services occur to those who are into the hobby (and even outside of it). So while this post is about the cosplay transaction between sellers and buyers, this is also a point by point of Do’s and Don’t’s of the general online business. See, my avenue of transaction is online and I believe I saw and experienced things throughout the years I started my own business: the good and bad and the yikes! These experiences are both annoying and joyful of using the internet in showcasing products, selling them, earning a bit of profit and learning to be wiser each and every time.
Here in the PH, the cosplay business is rapidly growing in which acquiring the necessary gears are as quick as the raging popularity of the hobby. The businesses could be providers of wigs and lenses and other accessories, or maybe tailor attires and costumes for individuals or for more. Some offer MTO props while others offer their photographic services. There will always be the one who “will provide” and the other who “will receive” — and we have to know our responsibilities on where we stand as Sellers and Buyers if we want a sound and legitimate (AND REALLY HASSLE-FREE) transactions with our business partners.
Now that you’re here in the third paragraph, great! It means you interested with the Cosplay Business Etiquette whether you are new to the hobby and business or maybe have other details you can suggest (let’s get back on this later!).
And without further ado…
The Cosplay Business Etiquette
1. Information and Details
- As Sellers: we are expected to provide important notes and information about our products and services. Some of us might think it is troublesome to prepare such things but we can’t do without them because Buyers rely on the details we give them. And if we can’t provide details, how are we supposed to even begin transacting. Advise: Prepare the details ahead of time before posting them online. Make it concise and straight to the point. And always be ready to converse with your business partner because Communication (see #6) is very important to this kind of business.
- As Buyers: PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ THE INFORMATION THE SELLERS PREPARED. This is truly a sickness to a lot of online buyers (even shop forums and groups), especially to the cosplay community who skip all the notes provided right in front of them and inquire the Sellers over and over again. I don’t have the slightest idea as to why Buyers would miss very important information like Prices and Availability of the costumes or props and re-inquire about it when the details are seriously on the image already. Surely our Sellers can accommodate our cosplay needs by communicating with them but if we can help ourselves fill in the details that we need without asking and re-asking — Advise: Before inquiring anything, take time and read. Read. READ. Can’t stress this enough.
2. Copyrights and Credits
The internet may be a vast space of files of everything and anything, it doesn’t mean everything is free for you to grab and use without permission.
As Sellers and Buyers, what is NOT YOURS, do NOT use it. Doesn’t this apply to the outside world? So does here on the internet. One can be legally sued for using and gaining profit from what isn’t theirs and we don’t want to put ourselves in such shameful situation as well. And if ever it is yours but needs to be credited, GIVE DUE CREDIT. Please don’t ever think you can get away from using unpopular images and symbols just because it’s hidden from the general public’s eyes. Once you are seen, you cannot be unseen anymore, especially here on the internet.
(I once reported an online cosplay shop who was using an unauthorized image as their logo and even made obvious alterations on it. I knew right away that it was from the artist I follow because of the distinct style. Finally reported, the online shop dropped the use of the logo due to legal actions against them.
See, if we were using other artist’s work as ours without much a permission to do so, it degrades the artists’ hard work and is very disrespectful to boot. It can even take you to court. Advise: Seek artists/photographers for their services to provide you business/corporate collateral without the troubles of plagiarism.)
It’s no excuse that because we are Filipinos and we are known for our Filipino Time (aka MY time) that we can make others wait for us. That’s poor business transaction — because we are wasting our business partner’s precious time (they could be scheduled to be elsewhere like you) . Just who are we to make others wait? If we want to make the transaction work the first time and again after that, one must first exhibit respect in the form of punctuality.
- As Sellers: Provide as close estimation of your MTOs, Commissions or Pre-order items’ schedules as possible. And please please pleeease avoid prolonging the transaction in unreasonable dates (from one month’s due to three months extension? Absurd!). If we Sellers believe there’s a need to move due dates, reasons should be given — acceptable reasons, ACCEPTABLE BUSINESS REASONS. Don’t push Buyers to the limit in which it will force the Buyers to issue a drastic approach against you and can put your business under bad light. Business IS Business — this goes without the hindrances of anything personal (unless there’s a risk of life and death here).
- As Buyers: Don’t make the Sellers wait for you (or even wait for you to pay due fees). Please lang. While our business partners rely on the monetary benefit they’d get from transacting with you, it’s no reason for you to think, “Ah, they should wait because they need me. I’ll first do this and just text them later.” No no NOOOO. Be polite and respectful and properly UPDATE your Seller your time and whereabouts or whatever — whether you’d be late or not. Just like Sellers, two-three business excuses can be acceptable. But irresponsible excuses are intolerable and can even lose your business relationship with your Sellers.
(As a seller myself, I had been patient with meet-up clients who were 30 mins to an hour late because I had spare time. I had. When I finally experienced having a lot of schedule for the day and there was this one client who was almost an hour and 30 minutes late (due to traffic, they said), I blew a quiet fuse and reprimanded their untoward behavior. This is NOT okay. And I make sure to not ever transact with those kind of people again.)
5. Handling and Care
The renting or trading transactions fall here — the growing business in Cosplay that requires no huge payment but assurance fees and IDs and other important documents to acquire items and gears in whole sets. #1 meant to provide all the necessary details of buying and selling and it also applies to give all necessary details about the to-be traded/to-be rented items. Whatever you give out, make sure to know the condition of the item. If cannot be specific like wig brands or lens diameter or brand, state it.
And when it comes to renting, take utmost care to use the attire/uniform as you are expected to return it back at its proper state to the real owner. The reason why Renting is gaining popularity here is because it costs less than having an entire costume made from scratch. And it’s quick to get. It’s a much hassle-free transaction and yet very abused because those who rent out are neglectful to policies and dues that came with the item. As a form of respect to the original owner, handle your rented costume WITH ALL THE CARE YOU CAN MUSTER. Wouldn’t you hate it when you lend something important only to be given back in terrible state? Me either.
The most basic thing for a good business transaction in and out of Cosplay — being able to connect and update and talk with your Buyers or Sellers. This is the reason why a lot of Sellers have other means to reach them because it is of importance to regularly talk with the Buyer.
- As Sellers: it is our job to update our Buyers their items or request statuses and progress. This is also to assure that the business going on between you and your Buyer is healthy and trustworthy. And only when the Seller’s communication declines would garner growing suspicion from your business partner, to which we do not like, yes. If we Sellers don’t have access to good ‘ol internet, inform your partner immediately about this situation and find other means to talk. Or if anything comes up – and we mean ANYTHING – let them know. Don’t waste your Buyer’s time.
- As Buyers: as you are the first to take initiative in buying something from the Seller, don’t expect the Seller’s attention to be entirely yours for the bidding. If you’re interested in buying, let them know. If you’re about to pay, let them know. If something came up and cosplans have changed, LET THEM KNOW THE SOONEST. Sellers would appreciate your messages and let-know (be it good news or bad news) and could make or break your deal with them. Don’t waste your Seller’s time.
The last would be to take Responsibility. Whatever you formally (signed or verbally) engage with – projects, requests, orders, buys, transaction, photoshoots, rents and the like – you have chosen to do what you’re about to do and stick to it until you’ve finish it. Nothing is more frustrating to start anything only to disappear in the middle — whatever it may be. Be professional in what you do, regardless what kind of business you do.
If you think I missed out to note an etiquette or two when it comes to the Cosplay Business, share it with us! Your story might help the readers to deal with their businesses and transactions effectively and professionally.