I recently met Cat over the phone and she agreed to being featured here at The Teenpreneur. Cat makes custom cosplay costumes and has created a thriving business doing something she absolutely loves. I am fascinated by the endless ideas teens have when coming up with ways to earn money!
Hi! I’m Cat Charles, and I’m a teen entrepreneur. I am a seamstress and costume designer, and I take commissions over at my online business, Blue Kitten’s Commissions. (In case you’re wondering, my business name comes from my two nicknames. ‘Blue’, because I have blue-streaked hair, and ‘Kitten’, from my name.)
Basically, my clients send me pictures of what they want made, whether it’s a costume or actual clothing, and I assess whether or not I can make them, how much materials will cost, and how much time it will take me. From there, I ask for a downpayment for my materials, and when the dress is made the client pays my work fees and shipping, and the commission is theirs.
I started sewing when I was really little. I was about seven or eight when I first started hand sewing. Not long after that, I got my first introduction into an unofficial form of commissioning. I began sewing little handbags for my friends at my youth group, and began taking requests for others. I wasn’t doing this for monetary gain, simply for fun.
From there, I began sewing doll clothes, little dolls, and sundresses for my little sister, all by hand. Eventually, in July of 2014, I decided I wanted to make myself a costume for Halloween. I wanted to be a character from a series of Vocaloid songs, the Daughter of Evil. I began gathering my materials shortly thereafter and I sewed frantically for the next three months, finishing the very day before Halloween.
I received my sewing machine as a gift the following Christmas.
My first business attempt was Cloaks by Cate (I was going by Cate at this point) and my Etsy shop under that name is still active, though I haven’t put anything on it in about a year. This venture got started when I heard of a Medieval Festival that the local bakery was hosting. I decided I wanted to be a vendor, applied to sell cloaks, and received my vendor’s permit. Two months and twenty to twenty-five later, I spent my weekend selling my various sized cloaks for $30-$60 CAD, and business was booming! I sold most of my cloaks, retaining only 3-4, and made a profit of about $180.00.
However, Cloaks by Cate was too limited for me as I didn’t enjoy making just cloaks. I wanted to do more, expand more. Plus, making cloaks was boring, especially after making so many in so short a period of time. So I dropped the business and didn’t really get back into it for awhile. We moved across Canada from British Columbia to New Brunswick, and I began going to school (I had been home-schooled up to that point.) Halloween came around once more, and this time, I made this dress, based off another character.
I wore it to school – which was daring and my parents were worried I’d be sent home, but I did it! – and my friend, who also cosplays, asked me if I took commissions. It had never occurred to me whatsoever, so I was very hesitant. But when she showed me some examples of the kind of thing she wanted, I realized that I knew exactly how to make it, and I had the skills necessary! I knew what measurements I’d need from her, I knew how to apply them, and I could make it without patterns! (I have actually yet to use a pattern, for that matter).
From there, I began looking around online for commissioners to see what was around, and found a group on FaceBook for cosplay commissions. I became an unofficial commissioner, even selling off one of my left-over cloaks, and then I created my page (originally named Customs by Cate. I am not original with my names, lol!).
That is how Blue Kitten’s Commissions was born! I currently am working on two cloaks for the same client who ordered my left-over cloak that I mentioned above, a ballgown, and an altered version of Anna’s dress from Frozen Fever, not to mention my own cosplay projects.
I really wish I could attend the conference this year, but it’s just too far for me to make it this time. Here’s hoping for next year and I hope you all have a great time!