Jul 12, 2018
Playing the Part
Zeke Jennings

While cosplay may still be a relatively new phenomenon among American adults, children have been dressing the part of their favorite imaginary characters for eons.

Being the go-to spot for children’s dress-up needs is a great way to maximize costume and accessory sales all year long.

With superhero movies currently driving the Hollywood machine and mythical characters and creatures coming back in trend, there is no shortage of whole costumes and accessories out there to satisfy their wants for reusable play things that will help fantasies come to life.

Fairy Finery specializes in made in the U.S. dress-up clothing and accessories, such as fairy wings, capes, dresses and more. The Minnesota-based company, which had its 20th anniversary last year, is enjoying the current unicorn wave.

“Our unicorn headbands have been a huge hit for young and old and it seems to be a craze right now,” Fairy Finery “Head Pixie” Susan Berns said. “Ours are easy to wear and come in every unicorn color imaginable. Our brand-new reversible dragon knight cape has just received product of the year in dress-up from Creative Child Magazine.”

Fairy Finery products are designed to be worn again and again. “These are not costumes to be worn a few times, but made to last and be favorite items of the children who receive them,” Berns said.

Costume industry stalwart Forum Novelties has turned a keen eye toward the year-round children’s dress-up market. Executive Director Warren Berkowitz echoed Berns’ take on unicorns, but added that historical costumes are a growing trend as well.

“There is clearly a growing interest in year-round dress-up. This year, unicorns and mermaids have been strong for girls, especially headbands,” Berkowitz said. “In addition, school plays have increased interest in historical characters, such as past presidents, colonial and pilgrims.”

Berkowitz added that a key for retailers is to keep these types of products in highly visible locations to assure year-round dress-up ideas stay in the minds of customers. “As a wholesaler, we strongly suggest putting these items in the front of the store and, if possible, end caps,” he said.

Berns said a mirror is a good way to encourage kids to try on items. “I think a mirror for kids to see the costume transforming them adds to the excitement in the store,” she said. “A small vertical mirror encourages them to do this. Displaying our costumes with related storybooks or play pieces also sparks sales and imagination of the customers.”

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