You have been in business a while… When did it all begin?

It officially began in Sept 2011 when I first opened the Sideshow Annie shopfront, but I had been dreaming about doing it for at least 3 years before that day.  Lots of research and planning on paper was done before I was confident enough to go for it.

What did you do before you began your enterprising endeavors?

I originally studied and trained in fashion design, but after graduating, found that a fashion career wasn’t as creative or hands on as I thought it would be. So I landed a job at a costume hire store and never looked back. In between I have done some stints freelance sewing which has been all sorts of wonderful things and even worked on a job where I was sewing dinosaur skins for giant mechanical dinosaurs.

What tips would you give new entrepreneurs to help them start out on a path to success?

Plan, and research! You can never be too prepared. There are many templates online that will show you how to lay out your very own business plan. Every aspect of a business plan is important and needs to be considered to ensure you know your business inside and out.
If you have never worked in the area of the business you are trying to open- don’t do it! Go out and find some work experience in your chosen industry first. There’s nothing like on the job training.
Sideshow Annie Headress
Did you consciously decide not to work in a ‘normal job’ or is this a label you feel is ridiculous and unfounded??
I guess I did, in a way. I find full time 9-5 jobs intensely boring. Office jobs and the like are suffocating to me, I need creative outlets and time to myself. Finding full time creative work is very hard, and it seems it does not exist! Starting my own business was the only way I could see myself making a ‘grown ups’ wage whilst still doing what I love.

Have you ever struggled to get what you do taken seriously?

Not really, most people are really lovely and just plain curious about it. They want to know if I make the costume accessories and how I got into it all. Some even ask me if I need an assistant!

Do you think having a niche market is a help or a hindrance?

A bit of both really. Its great to have a direction and a guide to my products, but it can hinder your sales sometimes. Its a constant struggle between doing only my dream custom made items, or selling retail products that I know are quick sellers but not really the kind of product I necessarily want to sell.
it can be tough, but what I like the most about a niche market is that the customer tends to seek you out, rather than chasing them (Demtel knives anyone?) because you are unique and have what they need.

In your spare time what appeals to you more, a dark underground club, a lounge bar or a large scale events?
Personally I like dark underground bars. I love feeling like you are the only person who knows about a place and you can escape from the world above.

What is the biggest, most exciting project you’ve worked on / are most proud of?

I recently made a custom project for Little Skink, a burlesque performer here in Melbourne. She asked for a Praying Mantis burlesque costume. I love a good challenge 🙂
It was hard work but we got there in the end and I am really happy with the way it turned out. Looks amazing on the stage next to the large mantis prop Little Skink made to use in her routine.

Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline that you could share with us?

I’ve recently just streamlined the business to make it more workable with my day job. I’ve closed the costume hire section and will become more specific with the online retail items, choosing only those items that are harder to find in the burlesque community.
Alongside the retail sales, I will be creating one of a kind items to sell via Etsy which i hope to have up and running properly very soon.  The closing of the costume hire section means its SALE TIME!
Very soon I will be holding a sale in Melbourne to get rid of all the costume hire things i have accumulated over the last 2 and a half years.

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