Cosplaycloud began in may 2012 as a simple idea amongst three friends. Belgium has quite a few conventions where fans, geeks and cosplayers get together, but in the time between these events there isn’t a lot to do. Friends became strangers,. There wasn’t a lot of group spirit.. This is where they wanted to make a change. The idea grew very naturally. Friendships were forged at conventions while online these friendships could be maintained and through periodical meetings these connections remained well established.
A Facebook group was created very quickly which led into a regular amount of meetups where cosplayers and geeks came together to do all sorts of activities. This all started with a visit to the beach of Ostend, but gradually evolved into different kinds of events such as walks through the cities of Belgium, going for a swim in a subtropic swimming pool, a visit to the zoo of Antwerp and even going ice-skating! Till this day, these meetings are organised and met with huge success. Thanks to the education and experience of our crew, who were all students at that time, these meetings were always organised well and securely while trying to bring some enjoyment to those who came. This in its turn created an increasing movement. Fans found the group, came to the meetings, made friends and became a very close and well connected community.
The organisation however, wanted to do more for the community than just this. Conventions were the location where real connections were made and as a community we should be present on those. However, we didn’t want to be there doing nothing. We wanted to bring something extra to the table for cosplayers and geeks. By the end of 2012 a concept was developed for a booth on these conventions which aim was going to be supporting cosplayers as well as entertaining regular visitors. At Japan Expo, our booth made its debut with a chill zone, workshops , a photobootth and all kind of different readings by the crew on all different kinds of subjects, linked to the hobby. This all was combined with photojournalism of the entire convention. Our team perused the convention to find all different kinds of cosplayers and proactively took pictures of them. The goal was to give every cosplayer a picture to remember their outfit and the day of the event. This still remains the core goal for these events until this day.
Due to this goal and motivation, success was just around the corner. Thanks to our effort, lots of cosplayers got to find at least one picture of themselves next to an open invite for the community. This made the group grow exponentially. Different convention organisers took notice of us and they all started to invite us. This is why CosplayCloud has been present for more than 7 years on all well known geek conventions in Belgium such as FACTS, the Belgian Comic Cons, GameForce and Atsusacon.
Due to the growth of our group we pulled in a lot of new crew members as well, whom each had their own background and useful set of skills. Due to this, our quality and inner workings grew very professionally. However this also came with a financial cost. Expenses our volunteers made had to be reimbursed, but we also needed new materials to improve our booth. Because our idea was that CosplayCloud was for the entire cosplay community and not only for our “members”, we refused to work with a membership fee nor did we want to ask cosplayers money for any of our services. By proactively working on partnerships with all different kinds of big partners, CosplayCloud is able to keep going based off the expertise and know-how around cosplay and forming a community. We were able to make partnerships with large companies such as Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Square Enix, Bandai Namco, Bethesda Softworks, Warner Brothers, Marvel and many more. These all are big names in the geek community with a huge following who are, thanks to their assignments, keeping us going. It’s a true honour and a big leap for us fans, to work together with these industry titans.
So where does this leave CosplayCloud after these years of growth? We are the top geek community in Belgium when it comes to members and natural reach with a big list of partners, a large history of projects, a close core team full of talented individuals and a booth where cosplayers can find a safe haven, have their pictures taken by professionals and repair their cosplays, all for free. The organisation is very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve but we are mostly proud of the people in this community. Those whom we’ve seen since their teens, those whom have met their partner in our community to end up wedding them and even have children. We are proud to be a part of the story of all cosplayers and this is why we keep on doing what we’re doing with no finish in sight.