They come in all shapes and sizes, both young and old. But for one Bermudian entrepreneur, Alissa Hayward, establishing Nerdgearbda.com was just the tip of the iceberg.

Nerd Gear is an online retail store catering to video game/comic book/cinematic universe fans. And in Bermuda she says “there’s a lot of them”.

“Whether it be a graphic T-shirt, movie memorabilia, collectable figures, costumes or toys for children – check in with Nerd Gear and chances we have it – or we can get it,” said Ms Hayward.

“There’s a large percentage of people on this island who have been longing for something like this in Bermuda. Our motto is ‘Let your nerd flag fly!’ There was a soft launch in September amongst friends to begin with.”

But admittedly she said building your own business from below ‘ground zero’ is not an easy road.

“The unfortunate thing about retail here is that EVERYTHING is imported which can often times make certain goods seem very expensive,” said Ms Hayward.

“While some retail vendors do bring in select themed-goods, to a true fan these goods are not always enough. The vendors are not well versed in Marvel comics, DC Comics, Japanese animation, or Star Wars, and the like. If you’re unable to find exactly what you desire on the website, I’m more than happy to personally assist with customer orders.”

She noted that true fans and movie goers are “passionate” when it comes to “specific titles and characters”.

“It’s not enough to just have what you think will sell – you have to get to know these characters for yourself. Then, and only then will you understand their ‘fandoms’,” Ms Hayward said.

Following her soft launch last year she said the name and what Nerd Gear has to offer online “has gotten around”.

“People are starting to look for Nerd Gear now, especially during the five weeks of ‘Star Wars – The Force Awakens’. Business really boomed during that period which was good for Nerd Gear and also good for Bermudians.”

But she said: “The biggest challenge has been keeping up with demands. This is a grassroots business, in that there were no bank loans taken out for start up.

“It’s been out of pocket 150% of the way. And there’s so much more that I hope to achieve. Due to certain circumstances beyond my control there have been setbacks along the way. But these setbacks have not deterred me by any means. If anything, they have only made me that much more motivated and determined to make Nerd Gear a force within Bermuda.

“Entrepreneurship like anything else has its challenges. If you are not strong minded, organized, ambitious or confident in yourself, then by all means entrepreneurship is not for you,” said Ms Hayward.

“I am currently working out a few kinks, but I persevere. And I know for a fact that my business model can, and will be very successful, and I know that ‘Rome was not built in a day’.”

For more information see NerdGearBda on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, or visit Nerdgearbda.com.

By Ceola Wilson

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