Kent State student working towards helping children “create their inner hero”

Ellie Enseleing

Two Kent State senior visual communication design majors have been raising money to start a children’s costume store called Crazy Capes.

Joshua Bird, a senior visual communication design major, and Allison Frasier, who is also a senior visual communication design student, described Crazy Capes as an interactive retail experience for children aged four to ten.

Frasier got the idea for a class project where she had to design a product line.

“I have a five-year old brother, and I was like, ‘alright, what’s something he enjoys and I can kind of create a product based on that.’ And he loves superheroes, and he always comes out of his room wearing a Batman mask, and a Spiderman shirt, and Hulk hands, like it’s all mix and match, so I was like why can’t we create something where the kids can do that themselves?”

The store would allow the kids to design their own superhero costumes including capes and masks.

“It needs to be an experience for them, and they need to create their individual superhero,” Bird said, which is why the working tagline for the store is “Create Your Own Hero.”

Children will be encouraged to design whatever costume they desire.

“We are breaking gender barriers and that kind of thing. If boys want to wear pink they should be allowed, if girls want to wear blue, they should be allowed,” Bird said.

Another part of the appeal to their product is the simplicity.

“All these new toys come out for kids and they are so high tech, and so there are apps and little motorized things, and we are trying to take a more traditional idea like dress up that is really creative and imaginative and place it in a modern setting,” Frasier said.

The price of the fully customized costume can range between $20 and $100, but Bird and Frasier estimate the average costume will cost around $45.

The Crazy Capes experience will allow the children to choose what designs and colors they want on their cape, and it will be made in the store. It will usually take thirty to forty minutes for the costume to be complete.

Bird and Frasier have been competing in different pitch competitions for seed money, and have raised about $2000 as of now. Most recently, they took third place at the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium, a competition for students in schools in northeast Ohio for seed money. The team took third place.

The students in the competition “could end up as any major, so it’s always cool to see,” said Zach Mikrut, senior marketing manager for Blackstone Launchpad.

“Kent State has a very cool visual design program and it was shown with what Josh and Ally brought to the table,” he added.

Bird and Frasier plan to start small, and will be conducting beta testing through a pop up store in Akron beginning in August or September of 2015.

“Our drive behind our concept is the experience itself, and you can’t really get that in a pop up space,” Bird said.

Eventually, they would like for the first permanent store to be opened in Cleveland.

“Cleveland is the birthplace of Superman, the most iconic superhero. So why not start it in Cleveland?” Bird said.

Frasier and Bird hope to have a permanent location opened in 2016, as well as an online store, where customers would be able to create their own costumes online and have them delivered.

Contact Ellie Enseleing at [email protected].