I can’t get enough geek gear, and recently I needed a quick, easy and clever costume for a Halloween concert. I wanted to be Harry Potter (natch), but I didn’t want to wear the full cloak and tie, because under the stage lights — whew! — it gets hot. Plus, I didn’t want to wear fake glasses and feel my make-up scar running down my face. Enter Tomboy Togs for all my geek gear needs!
See also: Best Online Stores for Cosplay
Tomboy Togs is a crafty company that sells all kinds of geek gear, like masks, finger puppets, hair clips and other geeky goodies. When I contacted Emily Bowman, the owner, to ask how quickly she could whip up something for Harry Potter, and how much it would cost, I was pleasantly surprised in both respects. In less than 24 hours, and for about the same amount I spend in a couple of trips to Starbucks, I had a super-cute and super-clever Harry Potter costume piece. I threw on my Gryffindor Quidditch shirt and Gryffindor scarf and I was good to go. (I ignored the gray-haired folks at the concert who said, “Potter who?”)
Emily was kind enough to answer several questions I had about her awesome business in this email interview.
Media Medusa: What was your inspiration for launching Tomboy Togs?
Tomboy Togs: I found my inspiration in a lot of places. There was a girl at my sons’ preschool (also named Emily) who loves dinosaurs and Thomas the tank engine; she is the inspiration behind the clothing that I have made. My two sons provide me with a lot of inspiration, too. Teddy has always had his own sense of style and Felix can take a piece of lint and occupy himself for an hour making up stories and adventures for it.
What experience or background of yours helps with making geek gear?
I don’t have much formal training. I took home ec. in 8th grade and learned all the very basics of sewing. However, I attribute a lot of my skills to the Renaissance Faire, in a round about way. When I was 21, I made friends with a woman a bit older than me, and she had a small shop at the Renaissance Faire, making and selling children’s costumes. I learned A LOT from her that they don’t teach you in home ec. While working at the Faire I met and became friends with people who are members of the Society for Creative Anachronism and gained a lot of sewing experience making garb for medieval recreation events.
What are your tools of the trade?
My tools currently include a sewing machine, a serger, 2 embroidery machines, and lots of pairs of scissors. I have 7 pairs of scissors, and each has a different job to do. My most important tool though is my seam ripper. Everyone makes mistakes and I’m no exception.
What kinds of geek gear do you sell? Any particular themes?
My items all fall into one of two categories: sewn or embroidered. My sewn items include some awesome dresses and skirts in atypical prints (superheroes, outer space, dinosaurs, etc), rag quilts, and flag banners. My embroidered items include fun things, like masks, wings, finger puppets, head bands and hair clips, just to name a few. Most of my products follow a geeky or tomboy theme. I like to make hair clips that are video game themed, or dresses with space ships on them. While there are a lot of cool things out there for girls that like princesses, there is not a lot out there specifically for girls that like dinosaurs per se. And there is definitely a market for it.
What are your bestsellers?
Other than my rag quilts, I would say my best selling kids’ items would be my masks and finger puppets. Both are lots of fun to play with and a great way to use your imagination!
What’s your absolute favorite thing to make and sell?
I think my favorite thing to make and sell are the finger puppets. They have a lot of detail to them, and take a lot of work, but I think they are just too cool. I can easily throw some in my purse and keep my son occupied for a good half hour at least while we are in a restaurant or on a car ride
What do you daydream about when it comes to where Tomboy Togs will do in the future?
I would love to be able to take Tomboy Togs on the road. I would love to be able to do some bigger shows, like a con or the Fairie festival. To be able to interact and sell to customers at a bigger venue, would be like a dream come true.
Where can people find Tomboy Togs?
What do you wish everyone knew about Tomboy Togs?
I wish everyone knew that everything sold by Tomboy Togs is made entirely by me. Because of that I feel like I am always either in front of my sewing machines, cutting something out or both. I am constantly cutting things. I don’t go anywhere without at least 3 pairs of scissors and a bag of work. Soccer, scout meetings, even coffee with friends, the work bag always comes along.
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