We had the good fortune of connecting with Sammi Study and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sammi, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born and raised in League City, Texas. This area has a lot of ties to the chemical engineering industry which definitely influenced my early choice to major in a STEM field and have my main career in that industry. However, being so focused on STEM and academics to achieve that dream from a young age led me to lack a good creative outlet. I absolutely fell in love with cosplay when a friend introduced me to it at 12 years old. Sewing and creating is what relaxes me and having that creative outlet is very cathartic. I’ve been doing it ever since for the past 8 years. This eventually led me to start my business when I realized that there was a demand for my work. Comments started coming in on my social media posts asking if I took commissions and I had people private messaging me asking me to create costumes for them. Costume commissions are really a perfect business for me because, as a chemical engineering student, I have limited time and hours that I can work. I am able to set my own hours and workload by owning my own business which is invaluable. Being able to take on more work when I can and less when I am busy with exams has made it much easier to work through college.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One thing that I really am proud about in my work is that I am constantly working to improve. It can be disheartening to look at something you made a year ago and not like it anymore but I have learned to take that as a sign of improvement and my standards getting higher. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m working on it every day. I’m excited to see where my craftsmanship is years from now. The process of getting here wasn’t easy. I always wanted to be a cosplay guest at anime and gaming conventions since I was young, but I didn’t start getting many opportunities until I decided to just take the leap and reach out to conventions myself. It was difficult for me because I have a hard time putting myself out there, but I’m grateful that I did. If I hadn’t made the first move, my business probably wouldn’t be where it is today. I learned that it is important to stand up for your value as an artist and promote yourself: opportunities do not just come to you magically.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my favorite places to take people who haven’t been to Houston before is the Bellaire area. There’s just so many stores to visit and great places to eat! Anyone who knows me can attest that we go there constantly. I also enjoy taking my friends to fabric stores such as High Fashion Fabrics and Fabrictopia since many of my friends also sew and I can’t recommend these stores enough. For outdoors activities, I particularly enjoy visiting Hermann Park with friends. The park and the surrounding area is the perfect background for a lot of photoshoots which are an integral part of cosplay. If you make a fancy, complicated cosplay it is always fun to get photos showcasing your work.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My friends have truly inspired me to learn and grow. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Other than the fact that I was initially introduced to cosplay by a friend, I also started competing in cosplay competitions because of my friends. I was extremely nervous to put myself in a position to be judged by others, but they encouraged me to try competitions and doing so has pushed me to become a better seamstress. Competing has helped me to become more confident in my work and get over my stage-fright. Winning cosplay competitions has also afforded me opportunities for professional growth that I would not have had otherwise.
Images 1-5: @yinyuephoto Images 6-7: @BTSEphoto