AJS Costumes needs your help!
Today I find myself, my livelihood, and the future of my company impacted and at serious risk. That is why I am reaching out to friends, supporters, and clients of AJS Costumes for help with this GoFundMe campaign.
As you may or may not be aware, the live theater scene in Los Angeles has been going through an upheaval for the past several months. Changes in the local 99-seat theater community are causing many theater companies to be very conservative in selecting their projects. To avoid collapse, many theater companies are doing smaller productions, with less costume design needed, and fewer period plays. The rental business and costume design services of AJS Costumes has slowed to a trickle.
This downturn has been sudden. It has been unforeseen. It has been devastating.
Despite this crisis, we are continuing to serve our clientele and assure you that all outstanding orders are being fulfilled. But in order to survive, we must explore and secure new income options for our shop.
We want to launch an advertising campaign to make ourselves known to educational venues and corporate event planners. We want to improve the layout and access to our rental stock. We need to improve our rental check-out and return systems. We need to hire and train new rental staff. And we desperately need to create a new website for AJS Costumes. There are many other improvements we would like to make to the business, but we have to increase the business to justify many of these additional improvements.
These actions require funding, and so we are reaching out to you, our friends, our supporters in the theatre community, and our customers for help. We are asking for your financial support to enable AJS Costumes to expand, grow, and to continue serving your costume needs.
We are offering a variety of Sponsor rewards, and are open to considering other options that may fit your specific needs. Feel free to contact me personally with your suggestions.
As many of you know, last August we launched a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising $50,000. At that time, the most pressing need was to remedy the dramatic financial downturn triggered by the Actors’ Equity Association’s new 99-seat plan theater agreement.
Today, AJS Costumes is still among the many in the LA theater community who are devastated by the current turn of events involving the negotiations between AEA and the 99-seat community, and we are suffering at its hands as local theatres slash their production budgets to balance other escalating costs.
We are deeply grateful to everyone who supported last year’s campaign. While we unfortunately fell short of our stated goal, the donations we did receive enabled us to keep the doors to AJS Costumes open while we launched and completed numerous projects. However, 10 months later, as we work with others in the LA theater community to rise above these suffocating conditions, we humbly acknowledge that a new direction must be taken. In order to survive, we are putting together new plans for outreach to educational facilities, and other untapped venues. To that end, we are reactivating the GoFundMe campaign and expanding it to broader circles to reenergize our forward motion.
As many of you know, our creations have been featured in hundreds of theatrical productions, the Huntington Library, numerous period-reenactment events, The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, San Diego ComiCon, and Clockwork Alchemy (where we had the honor of being this year’s Fashion Guest of Honor). Our efforts have resulted in extensive commissions for our unique costumes and clothing. Interest has even spread abroad, leading to commissions and high praise from members of Great Britain’s House of Lords. We are honored by these acknowledgements, and strive to remain a respected creative and educational resource in the theater community.
To maintain an inventory worthy of these endeavors, AJS Costumes, along with our joint ventures, Renaissance Dancewear and Mr. Alan Jeffries Fine Gentlemen’s Apparel, inhabits 3,000 square feet of industrial space, operating an active manufacturing workroom, and a rental department which houses approximately 60,000 costumes. This facility needs funds for its overhead. An active and knowledgeable staff is required to fulfill our operational and creative needs. Thankfully, the funds raised last year enabled us to retain the services of a number of talented costume professionals. Regrettably, the current challenges facing our industry have forced us to lay off many of our staff.
We are at a critical point, and we need your support to refocus our energies and resources. We are relaunching the GoFundMe campaign with the goal of attracting donors, investors, and word-of-mouth networks to help us overcome these current challenges and meet our reorganizational goals.
Today, more than ever, a community of support is necessary to overcome such obstacles, and we ask that you please consider joining the effort. The need continues. Circumstances have worsened, and our survival is truly at stake. We are reaching out to all of you who have admired, worn, heard about … or perhaps even coveted the work of AJS Costumes.
Help support AJS Costumes, and everyone it touches in the creative community. Please join our GoFundMe campaign at gofundme.com/bn328dqq
And if you can join us, please come to the NoHo Arts District and Pro99 Street Party on October 18 from 2-4 PM. For more information - https://www.facebook.com/events/525886724231910/
We have reached the 15% mark of our goal. We still have a way to go, but we are overwhelmed by the kindness we have received. We thank all of you for your support and generosity. Thank you for helping us. Than k you for helping to spread the word. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.