Article: Estatic Arts has arrived
The rise of anime merchandise in the UK
If you could first introduce us to yourself, and let us know why you decided to start selling anime merchandise in the UK?
Hi, my name is Golman and am one of the founders of Estatic Arts. I have been into Japanese anime ever since I was a child. Back in the days, it was pretty much impossible to purchase anime merchandise in the UK. There was no such thing as online shopping, as the Internet was virtually non existent. Dragonball Z was unknown over here, and One Piece had not yet released it’s first episode. Yes I’m talking quite a few years back.
Only within the last 10 years has anime really caught on over here and merchandise became more available. However, it was still difficult to purchase certain figures, particularly limited edition ones.
We thought, if we found it hard to buy anime merchandise, there must be others that have the same problem.
This is when I teamed up with Pat, whom I've worked with previously for over 8 years. We put our thinking caps on, and determined we were able to make use of our knowledge in the world of anime, to develop and expand a business in this industry. After months of research, we placed our first orders, set up a UK company, and have been trading ever since.
What sort of merchandise do you specialise in?
There’s quite a variety that we stock: mugs, t-shirts, key rings, plushes, costumes and cosplay accessories. We even stock Pocky and hello Panda snacks (though these can only be purchased in our retail shop). However, I would have to say our speciality is with the Anime and Gaming figures, which accounts for the majority of our business. We have figures ranging from under a tenner, up to £400 for the more hard-core collector. I believe we now have one of the best networks in the UK for sourcing anime and gaming related products.
Do you work alone or as a team? If the latter, how many of you are there and who does what?
On a day to day basis, myself and Pat run the shop though during this time we also make use to manage the website as well purchasing of stocks. Aside from us, we have a couple of helpers that process and pack the online orders, a professional studio photographer, and we also have a graphics designer which helps us with our marketing.
What do you think you do differently to other stores?
It’s hard to say. There’s a lot of anime websites out there and I suppose each and every store has its own merits. There’s a small handful of websites which we admire and could probably learn a bit from them. As to ourselves, we do take pride in what we do. Thus you will find, majority of the products that we stock, are professionally photographed by our own photographer. This way, we give our customers the true look of what they will be purchasing.