Greetings to all you make believe peeps from the local Queen of costumes…Have you ever bought a costume that didn’t last the whole party? Have you ever tried to wash a costume that you paid half of your last paycheck for and it came out a wadded mess? But then, have you bought a costume on sale and gotten lots of uses out of it? Have you ever rented a costume and been the best dressed one at the party? Well believe me, as I sit here at my first Halloween buying session (in January) these are the same questions I ask when touching and examining the costumes that are offered up by the 100′s of vendors here.
As a costume Shoppe open all year…I face my customers in the local grocery, restaurants and out and about in public so I have to be able to hold my head up high and be proud of what is in my tiny Shoppe. Since we are an all year store of brick and mortar, we need to have something that the public wants. I do not try to compete with the big chains …Walmart, Party City and Target but neither do they compete with me. There is no way that they will sit down with a customer and work out what is needed for their project or play and put it together. They also do not carry the deluxe high end costumes all year that one needs for specific endeavors such as theater, business events, costume parties, promotions, and renaissance faires… and I do not carry household items:0)
But I digress….this article is not really about the costumes we rent and that are our own designs or about chain stores but about what is “ready made” by the mass costume producer/suppliers. Many of them have 4 levels of costume….
the 1st and lowest level we at our store call throw away…it is an inexpensive, get your child or you through trick or treating night-don’t look too close kind of costume (lots of times made with substandard paper/cloth) We don’t carry these as they are Halloween mass market styles that we cannot compete with nor want to carry in our specialized Shoppes.
The second level is a one or two time use costume…made with better materials but not hemmed in a lot of places and very fragile but look good or great on. We carry these at a competitive price all year not just during Halloween. This one is a bit more expensive but still within a low budget. (25-50 dollars)
The third level is a deluxe costume, well made, can often be washed used over and over and looks close to the real thing. (probably can get 8-10 wearings or more)
The final costume is a supreme…it is often what we rent in our store…movie quality (looking like what the same item would look like in a movie) Yes, the suppliers make these but the demand is lower from the general public so the large chain stores do not handle them….they have great benefits to rent because they look amazing and you do not have another item in your already limited space closet…and each time you rent an item of this quality, you can return it (without washing) and get different great one next time.
So there you have it….the Supermans, Witches, Spidermans, Hippies are not all made the same even if they are made by the same manufacturer. It is about what the public wants the costume for, who is carrying the costume and what the client wants. The client that goes to a chain store usually looks for a convenient quick buy and something cheap. The person who walks into a Costume Shoppe wants a real fabulous costume and cares how they will appear or about a little more quality for their dollar…
So if you see 4 jedi knights at the same party and they all look slightly different but similar, it is because the licensed manufacturer makes different “levels” of the same costume.
Till next time ….Have too much fun!
Your costume queen,