The Cosplay Lab website was started September 26, 2001
after Anime Weekend Atlanta 7. As a cosplaying family of
four, we had a growing collection of convention photos to
share with friends and family, but free web service providers
left much to be desired. We needed a way to keep track of
upcoming conventions and a way to deal with the costumes
we wanted to make. Above that, we just wanted to be able
to remember people we met at these events. The first experiment
was to create a member database on the site. I poked and
prodded the data that needed to be contained and by the
end of the first 30 days, we had 30 members.
We continued to experiment with new ways to display information
on the website. By the end of 2001, we had over 100 members, even
some from outside of Florida. It was incredible to think that
people we've never met before would join our humble site. Feedback
began coming in with new ideas for improving the site, so more
experiments began. As traffic increased, we changed web hosts
and we began accepting donations from Lab members who wanted to
support our efforts and offset the rising costs of web hosting.
A Mascot is Born...
During the summer of 2002, we began working on a mascot as part
of an identity project. We wanted something that our oldest daughter
Ellissa could cosplay as, so this character would have similar
qualities - large golden eyes, short hair, long legs and arms,
and a big head. With the commissioned talent of Lindsay Cibos
of Studio Cutepet, Bella the Cosplay Lab rat mascot was born on
June 20, 2002. Bella made her first appearance in a printed convention
guide for Anime Festival Orlando III, and later appeared in person
to hand out awards during the cosplay ceremony at Anime Weekend
Atlanta 2002 which marked our one-year anniversary at the Lab.
Bella's signature "charm point" is her bells
which can be found on the trading cards she cheerfully hands
out at anime conventions in the United States. She also
brandishes a 4 foot tall sewing needle as her tool of the
fan sketch by Michan
Over 83,000 unique visitors per month
There are members from all 50 states and over 50 countries worldwide
We host over 118,000 costumes
There are 2 million page views per month
2014 and Beyond...
Surely without inspiration from God, we would not be where we
are today. It is through His guidance that this site continues
to prosper. Where some experiments caused the site to go down
( ooops, did I do that? ), prayer has been instrumental in staying
focused to correct the problems. We also have great members to
thank for supporting us with ideas to improve the site. Monetary
contributions from donating members help motivate the growth and
development on the Lab.
That being said, we've begun the journey of becoming full-time Christian missionaries in Japan. Many people have many ideas as to what that means, but the short story is we want to feed the hungry, bring people hope, and share as people have needs. Our objective is not to convert the Japanese to Western ideologies - but rather to amplify the good aspects of what already exists in Japan in their history and heritage. We're focused on building lifelong relationships, not a religion.