Friday, November 2, 2012

Product Review: Kuma Crafts' Sailor Moon Line

Kuma Crafts is a jewellery store on Etsy, focusing mostly on hand-assembled, laser cut acrylic pieces that appeal to the geek chic and 'kawaii' trend markets. The owner and operator, Amanda, has recently added t-shirts and enamel pendants to her lines.

While I have purchased other pieces of hers, I want to focus today on her Sailor Moon inspired pieces!

Stay with me, now. This is going to be extremely photo heavy.

I have made six different orders with Kuma Crafts since last April, gradually collecting the Sailor Moon inspired pendants that she and her boyfriend painstakingly assemble. Each order has been a really great experience in terms of their customer service and professionalism, and the photos of their products really speak for themselves.

For all photos, click to enlarge!

In my first two orders, I pre-ordered pieces that were on the way. Their prototypes and first runs had already sold out. The first order was for the Cosmic Heart Brooch:

The second order was for the Eternal Sailor Moon brooch:

Though the page said that these pre-orders would take 2 to 4 weeks for production, both shipped within roughly 10 days after ordering, leaving me very impressed and very excited. I feel that I should add that although I now have 13 pendants from the Sailor Moon inspired line, these two necklaces are the ones that I wear the most.

Both are very delicate in person and really quite versatile for casual wear. The winged, Eternal-inspired pendant in particular receives a lot of compliments when I wear it.

The Cosmic Heart pendant also inspired a closet cosplay of Sailor Moon, which I entered into an EGL community contest and also wore to SupaNova in June:

The idea behind the outfit was "what would Sailor Moon look like if she used the disguise pen to turn into a lolita?" It was fun to wear, even if my boots tore apart before the day was even half over. *fistshake*

Later in April, around the time that I received the above two necklaces, I ordered my third: The Moon Crisis Compact.

This necklace arrived even more quickly, because it was part of a ready-made batch of necklaces that she had available from her first, "prototype" run of this design. As far as I can tell, it was her first real experimentation with the large Swarovski crystals in her designs. These crystals have become increasingly prominent in Kuma Craft's pendants, adding extra sparkle and glitz!

This third pendant is one that I wear almost as frequently as the other two. It's just not quite as versatile with the majority of my wardrobe, unfortunately. All that pink!

My next order was also a ready-made order, but this time, Amanda was offering more, new designs! I received the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon pendant, her newly designed pendant based on Sailor Moon's original anime brooch and Sailor Chibi-Moon's compact design.

Right away you can see what I meant when I said that her designs really have started to rely on those heavy, spangly Swarovski crystals. They really play on the Magical Girl theme, bringing extra light and sparkle into the pendants! I absolutely love all three of these designs. Of the three, I would say that I wear the "original" pendant the most and the Chibi-Moon pendant the least.

The truth is, it's a matter of pink, again. I really don't wear pink all that often, especially quite a hot pink as that pendant!

This leads finally to my latest two orders.

For several months, Amanda and her boyfriend went on a bit of a hiatus, due to minor crises and the fact that they were moving. Having finally settled into a new apartment, she got down to creating new designs and making even more of her old designs for a mass release in September.

The first day of sales (Sept. 24th, here), I purchased the Spiral Heart Moon Rod, as well as Sailor Mars' and Sailor Venus' Star Power henshin sticks.

(I also purchased a present for my boyfriend's niece to hold for her until Christmas, but that's unrelated to the story.)

Things got a bit problematic when this order came in the mail, I'm sad to say.

Our postman has a really nasty habit of cramming any package that he thinks will fit in our mail box through the slot, regardless of whether it actually fits or not. He (or she?) has ruined several books I've ordered this way, has crunched a few BluRay/DVD covers and with this one, managed to snap the handle of the Spiral Heart Moon Rod right off by doing the same thing.

I managed to fix it later with epoxy, but the handle sits crooked and the glue is messy as hell...

Lucky for me, Amanda is awesome. I contacted her about the broken necklace, included the photo above and asked if I could purchase a new one, even though they were no longer listed on her Etsy. She not only graciously agreed to let me purchase a new necklace, but sold it to me at a massive discount and agreed to ship it with the preorder I was still waiting on, in a box, to protect it from my postman.

To say the least, I was ecstatic when that order came.

The items that I received in that pre-order were Sailor Moon's Moon Crystal Star pendant, her Moon Stick pendant and Sailor Mercury's and Sailor Jupiter's Star Power henshin sticks.

Something else that these last two orders demonstrates is the use of laser etching on reflective-back acrylics. The henshin wands are all marked with the symbols of their respective senshi in this manner. Kuma Craft's Sailor Moon line uses reflective materials quite often, particularly for shapes that wouldn't suit a crystal fitting, but the etching adds another level of depth and interest to the pendants.

As you can see, I'm a huge fan of Kuma Crafts. Their product quality and service are amazing and well-worth the wait between order batches. I highly recommend getting some of their pendants if you're able to!
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