From Naples, Italy we present to you, Andreana Gandini, the mind behind Magical Babe Shop. Currently based in London, Magical Babe Shop offers a wide range of personalised t-shirts, TV series related gadgets, fancy dress, wigs and makeup, that provide customers with on-site horror and fantasy makeovers at comic conventions.
What makes the Magical Babe Shop so magical? Andreana explains,
Magical Babe is a magical place where you can immerse yourself in the universe of Comicon. We love all our customers from those who know nothing about cosplaying to those who are the biggest geeks.
Our mission is to include everybody in the joy of the day. I love witnessing mothers, fathers, shy sisters, and sceptic brothers letting us do their makeup for the day and finalising their outfits with a unicorn horn or a flower crown!
The Unicorn Queen
While founding the shop, Andreana was looking for something to represent her. Nicknamed the Unicorn Queen since she was 10, because of her intense passion for unicorns, the magical world, plus collection of fairies and action figures.
She explains starting with a disclaimer that, ‘I do not follow any religion or anything like that! I was simply fascinated by the little sculptures. Growing up I enjoyed covering my room in magical creatures such as unicorns.’ Whereas now she sees herself as a business lady during the day and unicorn lover at night. Confidently naming the brands name, Magical Babe Shop. ‘So, why not call it a magical babe, like me?!’
From Italy to Japan
Japanese fashion is the major influence for Magical Babe Shop. However, Andreana makes sure to tick Italian preferences. As being a cosplayer herself and lover of Japanese modern culture, she carries that first-person understanding to her customers, while making sure her customers have full access to the cutest products around the world.
Providing wigs and makeup at their stands for attendees while at Comicon, Magical Babe Shop allows customers to live out their cosplay dreams and fit in perfectly at costumed conventions 😉
With Andreana having a background in Fashion Business and Buying, her skill for the Magical Babe Shop is to be trained as a trend forecaster. This occurs by seeking all the latest fashion styles, as well as popular comics and Netflix TV series all year round. Not a bad task.
Being a sole business owner while building your brand is not easy of course. There has been some challenging experiences which Andreana tells us,
At the age of 19, I decided to move away from my country and experience life in the UK. I am lucky enough to have the full support of my family who help me out. However, I had to take the hard decision to slow down the growth of my company as I was not able to travel back every month.
Inevitably the dreaded COVID-19 has indeed affected Magical Babe Shop. The major revenues come from participating in Comicons all around Italy. While the customers main ages are between 12-16 and probably don’t possess a credit card, internet sales are non-existent, therefore being face to face with customers and attendees are crucial.
It has to be understood that in Italy, online shopping is still seen as something obscure. People fear their packages may never arrive, imagine expecting them from China or Japan! I like to make sure that my customers are able to access to the cutest products around the world without having to be afraid of investing capitals.
Currently, Magical Babe Shop have survived thanks to the help of Andreana’s parents, but if the Italian Comicons stop, it maybe a different story due to unforeseen circumstances in the next few years 🙁
Made in Italy
Wondering why you can’t buy Magical Babe Shop items directly online? This is intentional as Andreana prefers to keep the exclusivity of her products for the Italian customers that shop at Comicon. Nevertheless, in recent years, the Instagram account has been opened to gain more visibility, while granting access to those not able to attend to the events.
A typical working day is detailedly described by Andreana,
In the UK, I heard many people talking about starting a company without knowing the actual commitment behind it (financially and mentally). I will not bore you with the details of a business owner day. But instead, I will describe a day at Comicon!
I travel once a year (nowadays due to university commitments) to participate at the Napoli Comicon. The first week it’s all about inventories and sell through, basically checking that the best sellers have arrived, pricing them, and packing them to travel to the fair.
The first day of Comicon it’s all about setting up and making sure the displays are visible and thief-proof! Once all is up we’re ready to start. A day at Comicon starts at 6am. I wake up, shower, and start to get into my costume for the day. We pack a few snacks prepared the night before, finish the makeup base, and off we go to reach the centre of the city. Staff has to be at the stand by 8 am, we quickly get some horror makeup on all of them and we’re ready to go.
The next 4 days are pure craziness. There are so many people floating from all over the region, there is no time for lunch, toilet, or smoke breaks, but we try to be fair with all employees. You may, in fact, witness some of our favorite customers coming to save us with candies, popcorn, and donuts… Always accompanied by lots, lots, lots of coffee. By the 4th day usually we all struggle to speak and our feet have left us for good.
Thus, without doubt, Comicon it is one of the best experiences of my entire life.
Looking to the future, when asked about expanding Magical Babe Shop further Andreana replies,
Well, this is something I haven’t told anybody yet, but we are looking into expanding to the food industry. Nothing has been settled yet, but Magical Babe may come back to London in the ‘shape’ of an interactive café. However, for now this is just a dream.
Exclusive news for you guys. While the advice she’d give her past self would enthusiastically be,
Go big or go home! When I started I was only 16 and it took me a couple of years to reach a certain level. I’d tell myself to invest more, especially in marketing. If that happened, I may have probably never moved to the UK.
Valuable life advice indeed.
IndieBloom’s very grateful for Andreana to answer our questions, while we are looking forward to seeing the brand expand even further. We enjoyed the answers and hoped you did too, grazie! For now, you can view all the latest about Magical Babe Shop on Instagram.