Sometimes the greatest places to shop online are smaller and independently run.
You’ll often find that the customer service of new up and coming online shops are amazing, the buying process is quick and easy and the items are chosen by popularity so you will almost always find something of interest. These characteristics perfectly describe The Geekery, an online nerd-culture inspired merchandise shop created and operated by Katrina Darwin.
Darwin, 24, started The Geekery a little over a year ago with the goal of creating a “one-stop shop for all sorts of nerdy and geeky goodies.” The shop includes everything from jewelry to stuffed animals and everything is affordable.
She describes herself as an eccentric person who is passionate about all things geek related. I recently had the honor of interviewing her via Skype and we discussed everything from her current interests to her favorite fandoms.
Ever since Darwin was 14 years old she knew that she was going to work for herself; she just wasn’t sure of what that work would look like during the time. In high school, she stumbled upon a group of people discussing the video game World of Warcraft and she knew right then that she had an interest in nerd culture.
That interest would culminate while Darwin was in college. She explained that the idea of The Geekery first came from her passion for comics, anime, and video games, but she also knew that she wanted to love what she did for a living. Darwin put the two together and came up with the idea of an online geek merchandise shop.
She figured the first step towards opening The Geekery was earning a degree, which she did in 2016 when she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Vancouver Island University. Just a year later The Geekery was born.
Darwin’s company launched in January 2017, but the site became fully operational four months later in May, which is when she became fully self-employed.
When you visit The Geekery, the first thing you’ll notice is its products; they’re all related to anime, movies, and cartoon series’ that currently popular. The website is clean and professional and all of Darwin’s products are broken down into four main categories: wallets, keychains, plushies, and purses. There are currently six full pages worth of geek-inspired “gifts and goodies” including Adventure Time wallets, Batman plushies, and Charmander keychains.
Darwin admitted that the process hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine. After graduating, she quickly realized that it would take more than what she learned in school to make her business successful.
“It’s been a very interesting experience because I found that although the business school is wonderful, it teaches you how to go into a corporate job, not how to open your own business. So I made a lot of mistakes, and just all of the mistakes that you’re not supposed to make when starting your own business, I’ve done pretty much made all of them, so that was fun,” said Darwin.
One significant mistake she made in the opening days of The Geekery was not doing enough market research before investing money in a product. Darwin invested money into a certain item and it didn’t sell as much as she would have hoped, which set her back. However, she also explained that it’s all been a part of the learning process that has led her to her current success.
Some of Darwin’s current interests outside of running The Geekery are the shows Supernatural and Doctor Who. She attributes much of her success to having similar interests to the people that she sells to. However, she also notes that she has a great network of friends who she can rely on for advice in areas of nerd culture that she may not be as familiar with.
Darwin explained that she has one friend who helps point her towards the most popular video games, while another can list all of the anime characters that are the biggest fan favorites. As an independent business owner, there are only so many topics that Darwin can be up to date on, so her network of friends is a crucial part of keeping her up to date on what’s trending and what’s not.
Currently, her biggest sellers are the Sailor Moon purses, which have an adorable, yet simple design. These sell at such a competitive rate that The Geekery and Darwin have a hard time keeping enough of them in stock. The stores most recent additions include Deadpool keychains and plushies.
As for future plans, Darwin hopes to continue growing her business and for it to become a place for people to regularly visit to see what kinds of new items she has in stock. Darwin’s dream is to run a business and have fun doing it, which is exactly what she’s doing.
The Geekery is still a small yet growing entity, but it’s unique geek inspired products already make it a worthwhile stop during your next online shopping session.