LOS ANGELES — The 2019 Los Angeles Comic Con has arrived and tens of thousands of cosplayers and collectors were expected to revel in their favorite pop culture.
It’s a weekend of fun and business. Monica Lomas, co-owner of Awesome Collectibles, finished setting up their booth and were ready to fulfill customer orders.
“My husband and I opened a store about a year ago,” said Lomas. “It was a dream of ours. We’re a storefront. We have licenses to sell Funko. We specialize in Funko specifically and Loungefly and any collectibles related to pop culture.”
A family business, Lomas and her husband Gio run their shop in the city of Bell while raising a son. It’s a lot of fun, but it hasn’t been easy. Since most of their goods are shipped from China, the recent round of tariffs affected their bottom line.
“What we import is this plastic protector,” showed Lomas as she pulled the toy box out of a plastic sleeve. “This is .15 mm of thickness of plastic.”
That .15 mm of plastic can be the difference between selling or not. Serious collectors, especially of these Funko Pops worth up to $1000, need them to keep the box in mint condition.
“They used to cost me 29 cents,” said Lomas. “Now they cost me 43 cents and we order these by the most minimum amount, 10,000 pieces. We don’t raise the price. We just eat the cost so we take it as a loss.”
High school sweethearts, Lomas and her husband have been in the Collectible business since they were teenagers. Gio sold action figures at flea markets since he was 14 years old so opening their own toy store is a dream come true.
President Donald Trump announced a partial trade deal with China, possibly the first step in ending the 18-month trade war, so Lomas is hopeful.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen with the tariffs, but we do know that our store will keep running,” said Lomas. “We’ll do whatever it takes and continue to take care of our customers because we love what we do everyday.”
It sounds a lot like "toys for peace."