Kigurumi Shop Article Hero

Kigurumi Shop dresses ecommerce site for success with BigCommerce

How the LA-based costume company accelerated growth through automation


1M17% 3.25%
site visits in 2017less abandoned
carts
increase in average
order value

The Kigurumi Shop success story

Shoko Mimura was well aware of the popularity of kigurumi in Japan.

“Kigurumi” comes from a combination of two Japanese words: kiru, meaning “to wear" and nuigurumi, meaning "stuffed toy."

Traditionally, the term refers to performers wearing the costume, but it has expanded in recent years to also include the costumes themselves.

In Japan, kigurumi costumes have become a popular way to break the conventions of traditional dress, often being worn as comfy loungewear.

After hearing that kigurumi was exploding in popularity at in United Kingdom music festivals, Shoko decided to bring kigurumi to the United States.

Kigurumi Shop opened in Spring 2011, based in Los Angeles.

Since then, Kigurumi Shop has become an online retail powerhouse and North American distributor of the SAZAC brand, the originator of the kigurumi trend.


Unexpected downtime leads to search for new ecommerce platform

As told to BigCommerce by Shoko Mimura, Owner, kigurumi-shop.com

Our business was growing steadily with our previous ecommerce provider, Network Solutions, but the platform was limited in certain key areas, such as mobile features.

Specifically, Network Solutions had a mobile store option that displayed a very generic online shop to visitors, but it didn’t capture any of the uniqueness that we wanted to convey with our custom design, which was frustrating.

Ultimately, after our online store went down for more than 24 hours in the middle of October —which is our busiest month— we decided we needed to move our business to a platform solely dedicated to ecommerce.

The perfect platform fit

As told to BigCommerce by Shoko Mimura, Owner, kigurumi-shop.com

When we began to research ecommerce platforms, our shortlist included BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce.

As a former freelance web developer, I had experience setting up and running WooCommerce stores, as well as other open source ecommerce software. A self-hosted platform initially appealed to us because of the customization options and low upfront cost.

However, I knew firsthand that self-hosting requires a lot of effort to run smoothly, especially after adding plugins and customizations, and we lacked the resources for that.

I decided that transferring to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform would allow us to outsource the ecommerce development portion of our business, allowing us to instead focus on branding, customer experience and marketing. I didn’t want the stress of doing the development work myself or hiring and supervising programmers. Instead, I wanted my focus to be on creating a unique store and brand that would stand out.  

When it came to pricing, I also found Shopify Plus required adding multiple plugins in order to reach feature parity with BigCommerce. BigCommerce’s superior features and pricing won our business.

Catalog transfer service and consultative approach leads to stress-free launch 

As told to BigCommerce by Shoko Mimura, Owner, kigurumi-shop.com

When we first moved to BigCommerce, we worked with one of the recommended designers, SiteTech Media, and I was very happy with the process and results.

We also worked with BigCommerce’s catalog transfer team to handle transferring our product catalog and other content over from our existing site. The remaining tasks —from setting up shipping options to payment gateways— were intuitive using BigCommerce’ guided tour and support content.

Changing platforms while running a business is inherently stressful, but with BigCommerce everything went incredibly smoothly. Plus, we found BigCommerce’s interface and training tools to be very helpful; when a member of our staff had a question, I just emailed them a link to BigCommerce’s online training materials!


When it came to pricing, I found that Shopify Plus required adding multiple plugins in order to reach feature parity with BigCommerce.
Shoko Mimura, Owner, kigurumi-shop.com


BigCommerce's superior features and pricing won our business.
Shoko Mimura, Owner, kigurumi-shop.com 
Changing platforms while running a business is inherently stressful, but with BigCommerce everything went incredibly smoothly..
Shoko Mimura, Owner, kigurumi-shop.com
Kigurumi Shop Article Secondary

Integrating tools and apps for simple management

As told to BigCommerce by Shoko Mimura, Owner, kigurumi-shop.com

We’ve been able to integrate other tools and apps seamlessly with BigCommerce.

InStockNotify is priceless to us. The app allows customers to sign up for email notifications when an out-of-stock product is restocked. It provides us the most ROI out of every service we use! I can’t recommend this app enough.

ShipStation has significantly streamlined our order fulfillment process. In the past, we’ve all had to stay late in the office during our busy season to handle the order volume. Thanks to ShipStation, we get to go home at the same time year-round.

Platform reliability equates to company success

As told to BigCommerce by Shoko Mimura, Owner, kigurumi-shop.com

Having a reliable platform is incredibly important to our company. All product transactions are completed online, so we lose major revenue if our platform fails in any way.

After two years with BigCommerce, we’ve had no problems with our storefront.

From a technical standpoint, our store pretty much runs itself. I can’t say the same about other ecommerce platforms I’ve worked with.

BigCommerce's interface and training tools are very helpful. When a member of our staff has a question, I just email them a link to BigCommerce's online training materials.

Shoko Mimura, Owner, kigurumi-shop.com 

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