Feb 4, 2016
5 Ways to Boost Adult Costume Sales
Zeke Jennings & Sam Ujvary

Buyers want unique looks, so help them with accessories and ideas

1. Accessories are huge. A good idea is to carry basic pieces and then showcase them with accessories that do-it-yourselfers can use to make the piece unique, sort of like a real-life Pinterest board. “I have been in the costume business (renting and selling) for over 30 years. I have seen the trends change over the years, but some costumes remain constant. A plain black or white robe can be accessorized to make a variety of costumes,” said Barbara Gavlick, head of Costumes by Barbara in Luzerne, Pennsylvania

2. Mix and match pieces from various costumes. For example, if someone is looking at a queen’s gown, provide options like, “Try pairing that gown with this Marie Antoinette wig.” Retailers can even post a list of matching ideas with each display.

3. Creating photos or life-size mannequins with already put-together costumes will most likely get last-minute shoppers to purchase all the pieces together. If possible, get a mannequin or display in your front window, but make sure to switch up the display every couple of weeks to draw new attention.

4. Pay attention to pop culture. This is a good way to anticipate what DIYers and cosplayers might come in looking for. For example, “Breaking Bad” spurred a lot of wannabe Walter Whites, which required the perfect pork pie hat, paste-on goatee and sunglasses. There is even a website (www.breakingbadcostume.com) dedicated to creating your own costume for each BB character.

5. Double sales by creating couples ideas. There is almost always a suitable counterpart to a costume, so always be on the lookout for chances to suggestive sell to single costume buyers. It doesn’t necessarily have to be male-female either. The more you train your mind to think in terms of counterparts, the easier the ideas will come.

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