LAS VEGAS — Among the many small businesses that fall under the Halloween niche, there is one that never fails to grab your attention while scrolling through spooky Instagram.
Crypt and Coffins, a year-round Halloween-themed shop for anyone who likes spooky and wickedly gothic attire, has quickly become a staple in the community because not only does owner Angela sell Halloween all year, she follows the 12-month calendar and incorporates other holidays making it much easier to celebrate holidays like Springoween, Creepmas and other spooky twists on classic favorites.
Unlike traditional online stores with items available 24/7, Angela’s online shop operates through limited “drops,” with new products released on specific dates. Fans eagerly await announcements of upcoming drops, which often sell out within minutes of going live. She sells a mix of clothing, cups, stickers, pens and many more items — all designed by Angela herself. They’re available both online and on her app.
Let’s take a look at how the store came to be.
Angela, who also goes by @annieeebewitch on Instagram, is the mastermind behind Crypt and Coffins, a Las Vegas-based business that started in 2021. When she first started out, she took a leap of faith by selling everything she had, moving into an RV with her husband, and started her shop with just 12 cups and a few earrings. She was a hairstylist for 10 years before opening the shop. Today, Crypt and Coffins is a beloved staple in the spooky community and consistently sells out of its products.
If you’re new to Crypt and Coffins and want to participate in a shop drop, here’s how it works:
A few days (or weeks) before new items are released, Angela announces on her Instagram grid and stories that new products are coming, often accompanied by a countdown. This is the perfect time to sign up for alerts so you don’t miss out, as items can sell out within minutes due to high demand on the day of the drop. As the release date approaches, she’ll provide previews of the new items on her grid and stories. On the day of the drop, you’ll have a limited time to snag the items you want. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to get everything you desired. If not, there’s always next time.
Splash of Spooky: Walk me through preparation for a drop. What does the day of look like?
Crypt and Coffins: They’re crazy. But when I first started my business, I saw everyone doing made-to-order but it wasn’t feasible for me. I couldn’t make and pack at the same time. It was easier to have it premade and dedicate myself to packing so I have everything made and ready to go. It’s very nerve-wracking. I get this huge wave of anxiety the first three days before a drop. “What if no one buys anything?” That huge self-doubt thing creeps in. I try to make it easy when it comes to drops. I try to make everything as clear as I can. Especially when you have multiple platforms – Facebook, subscribers, and you have all these pages. You have to alert everybody. It can be overwhelming. But afterwards, it’s just a breath of fresh air. FB, subscribers an you have all these ages, you have to alert everybody, it can be overwhelming. But afterward, it’s just a breath of fresh air.
What is your favorite part about the spooky community? How have they all helped your shop grow?
When you love something so unorthodox and find others who love the same things you do and they’re passionate about it, it’s exciting and there’s comfort in that. It’s exciting to grow in such a small niche. Just to see someone live like that, it’s different. I think people like to see that…I live to see people thrive and succeed in things regular people don’t. Especially [Halloween/spooky] content creators when they post their home and things they love, it’s wonderful as a community. In real life, you don’t get that kind of support. To find that comfort from the online community is great.
What difficulties have you encountered as a small business owner?
I would say it’s gauging interest. Especially if you have multiple items like our shop. We have bags, stickers, cups. Now that there’s more interest and popularly, I try to let the community tell me what they want to see.
How have you seen your designs shift since you first started?
It’s been fun. I did a live with my stuff. [I asked] what do you want to see compared to last year? I’m a Gemini so I love to have new things. I don’t like to have the same thing. I like to drop new designs but also bring back a few of last year’s items for people who didn’t get them. It can be overwhelming. The struggle of “Do I want to bring it back or bring in something new? This year, I decided to ask my subscribers if there were certain things they wanted. A lot of people want tanks to come back. And I like to incorporate the seasons: Creepmas, Springoween, Summerween, not just pumpkins all year round.
When did you realize your shop was getting big?
Back in the day, on my @annieeebewitch page when I opened, I shared a picture of my snowglobe and that [my shop] was going to be launching soon and it got a lot of reach. Back when you didn’t have to do Reels. It was just a picture. It had over 1,000 likes. I had eight, maybe six cups each and then I realized I should make a few more because of the reactions I was getting back. I realized I didn’t have enough. From there it became a drop type of store — what I had, what I made. But I lost my first page. That devastated me when we lost our page.
Let’s talk about the Insta ban. What was it like going through that?
(NOTE: For those who didn’t know, in 2022, Angela’s Crypt and Coffins Instagram account was taken down, forcing her to start from scratch, but she has since regained thousands of followers.)
I launched June 13 . One year later, Disneyland and we were celebrating the shop’s one year anniversary. I was having a great time. I took a nap and I woke up and my page was just gone.
I was heartbroken. I felt like I was breaking up with 17,000 people. I built so many relationships with so many people. My page was growing fast at the time. You don’t think about those things at the time. You don’t think that your shop is in the hands of other apps and they can be taken tomorrow. I was sad, I was angry. I was mad. I wanted to throw up. I went through all stages of grief.
But I see that a lot now. A lot of shops are being taken down now. And I know a lot of it has to do unfortunately with trademarked characters. It’s huge. Us as spooky content creators and makers we love being inspired by horror movies and then in turn we don’t realize we’re walking on trademarked territory.
This year, my page is now trademark free. It’s harder to promote when you don’t have Beetlejuice or Ghostface on your page, when I lost my page, everyone was sharing my page and helping me out. The community is the best thing.
What advice do you have for other small business owners?
My biggest thing is: Don’t compare someone else’s shop to your own journey. Somebody could be in business for five years and you’re not going to be on the same level or playing field if you’re just starting out. When people dwell on or fester over other peoples’ shops, they can use that energy and put it into their own shop.
I read this story in a manifesting book: You have to believe something is special in order for it to thrive. The community can see if you’re authentic about your product and what you put out. If you don’t like it and you don’t think it’s special, neither will your customers. It’s important to love the things you make, and not just be making it for money. The success will follow. As long as you trust the process, the success will follow.
I started as a side hobby. Now it’s both [me and my partner’s] full-time jobs. I can employ my husband now.
People expect their first launch to be great and to sell out and you should never put that on yourself because when you do, you’ll feel like you’re not good enough. And you are good enough. Don’t compare your first day to someone’s three-year track. On Instagram, all you see is the highlight reel. But you don’t realize the time and work that they put into it.
All business owners experience crazy customers. What is your craziest customer story?
There was one time when I launched the app and it was new and we didn’t expect that many downloads. When we dropped the merch, some people’s apps were glitching, or an item would be stolen [before they purchased it]. I had somebody who was new and had just followed me and downloaded the app and didn’t understand the traffic flow. I couldn’t get to their message [about the issue] quick enough and they wigged out on me and left me a horrible comment and said, “I can’t believe it. This is why I can’t support small shops. She can’t even respond to me. The app doesn’t even work.”
That’s when I went to my stories and said, “Amazon wasn’t built in a day. Launch days can be hectic. It’s always important to be kind.”
A lot of people forget that there are faces behind these small shops especially somebody who does everything, like taking photos, designing, and customer service. Once I stated that, I made boundaries. Now all my customers, they get it. They know. That was just a one-time thing. I feel like I know most of my customers. That was the most hurt somebody has been — upset they couldn’t get an item.
Where do you see the shop going?
I’d love to make it a warehouse. We’re at the point where we can fully expand and hire some people because that increases productivity. I don’t know yet. I want to expand with more apparel. I want to do beanies and blankets and plushies. As far as experimenting, I want to experiment with new different types of products and introduce new things.