Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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Science fiction meets reality

A small sampling of garments sold by AbbyShot Clothiers.For dedicated science fiction enthusiasts, the ability to personify the fictional characters they admire in daily life is more than a hobby—it’s a passion.

Now, a web-based company in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador is turning such dreams into reality for media mavens worldwide.

Established in 2002, AbbyShot Clothiers sells wearable garments based on those worn by popular characters in science fiction and fantasy movies, television shows and video games. Currently they ship to their customers in 45 different countries and 30 affiliate stores around the world.

“We sell euphoria,” says Bonnie Cook, CEO. “The customer feels the power of that character when they put a garment on. In fact, they become that character.”

Bonnie first earned her living as a home seamstress before she and two partners created a coat inspired by the famous black trench featured in the 1999 sci-fi movie, “The Matrix.”

After selling the first few on eBay, they built a simple web page to handle orders that soon poured in from fans around the world, and requests for other garments soon poured in, too.

“Our customers always suggest designs and help fine-tune them,” says Bonnie.  “They are eccentric about detail. They want an authentic reproduction, and they’re prepared to pay for it.”

Today, AbbyShot garments are marketed as “our version of” or “inspired by” unless they have a licensing agreement, such as those signed with Universal Studios and the BBC, the network that produces the popular television show, “Dr. Who.”

Originally, all their garments were manufactured in-house, but the decision to manufacture offshore helped their seven employees focus on the rigorous process of design, product development and online marketing.

Bonnie says the company couldn’t have grown so quickly without ACOA’s support. “They’ve been wonderful to work with, helping us purchase equipment and hire the right people. We are a niche market, and ACOA supporting us really helps us compete on a global scale.”

Reaching their tech-savvy audience requires keeping up with new and creative social media strategies, while new 3D technology for their website is on the horizon. Soon, clients will be able to plug in their own measurements in order to see how a garment would look on them before they buy.

It’s these fresh ideas that earned AbbyShot the 2010 Innovator of the Year award from the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association. “In the needle trade,” says Bonnie, “AbbyShot is proving you can make money selling clothing on the Internet.”

And with this kind of success, this is one creative team that promises to keep that elevating the wardrobes of sci-fi aficionados around the world.

View ACOA’s social media release on AbbyShot.

Published September 28, 2011