(Filed Under wholesale Costume News). More in the continuing series on what worked and what did not for Halloween 2013. Ted Vayos, associate publisher of BODY, interviewed several costume retailers about their experiences in the market this past season, here Pierre Silber of Pierre Silber.
SILBER: It was not better than 2007, we had seven stores at that time this year we only had one. It’s changed for us. The type of Halloween we do as opposed to Spirit is completely different. The big parties that helped support our business have disappeared, without those parties it kicks our butt a little bit. Now we are getting smaller house parties and office parties instead of the big erotic parties. Those huge parties no longer exist. We knew that it didn’t happen last year so we scaled back in 2013. Everything we couldn’t sell in the past we put out at $9.99 and $14.99 trying to clean house. Some of that stuff I will never be able to get rid off. Even at $9.99 we cannot move it, we will probably have to donate this merchandise to get rid of it. All the new stuff we buy sells quickly. Old stuff the only thing they know is price. Halloween was late in coming this year. Thursday is not the best day to have Halloween fall. It has rolled back before the explosion. No one’s immune the economy still stinks. We just do sexy no children’s or any of that haunt stuff in here, we are like a Victoria’s Secret or Frederick’s of Hollywood only better.
VAYOS: How has the Halloween business changed?
SILBER: The way consumers shop has changed. People are coming into the store using phones to check prices on Amazon. They want to try it on here and buy there if it is cheaper. We offered to price match and give them 10% off of the price on Amazon. The cost of doing business has gone up and the margins have gone down. Amazon is killing the retail store. I like working with companies like Pleaser because if you offer their shoes below a certain price point they will not sell you, I know because they have called me on it.
VAYOS: Who gave you the best buying advice for this season?
SILBER: No one, they were all confused. I read between the lines and I look at their faces. Everyone is getting their feet back on the ground and their head out of their butt. It takes a while to turn the ship around, we are all in the same boat. The economy is in bad shape its in worse shape then anyone has to admit. We have to fight lower prices on Amazon and dealing with inflation. This is a different animal. Everything is consistently going up and up and up. The internet allows them to squeeze you more.
VAYOS: Who was your key suppliers this season for sexy costumes?
SILBER: Forplay makes one of the best sexy costumes in the business, they make better quality than anybody else its clearly a higher end product with a better fit. The second one you need to be in is Leg Avenue. Leg Avenue has price, style and their big catalog. They started it all. Everyone else is following them. They were always the market leader. They spent a lot of money in the past to take care of everybody. I think that’s over since the money is no longer there. It will never come back like we saw, it was total insanity at that time. Leg Avenue always listens and wants to know what’s happening at retail. If you only were going to do one line it would have to be Leg Avenue. They have the best price point, best pictures, best sizing for selling the product. Sales in their S.W.A.T., cop, Top Gun costumes were consistent like last year. As far as men’s go. S.W.A.T. and Top Gun blew out the door. I also looked at Music Legs this year because they seem more solid as a company. I don’t think Music Legs went through any changes, very nice company very nice people. They are always so good to me. Forplay knows their business, as far as designing stuff. Their costumes are upper end and you have to get the right woman to be able to wear it. Our customer loves Forplay because their costumes are so much nicer and elegant. They changed their business this year. Everything is boxed now and they’ve made us a lot of money. Those boxed dresses are a real money maker. When product is hanging on a hanger in the store customers have to try it on but when its in a Forplay box they take it and it’s gone. If it’s open I shy away from that stuff. It’s more organized for me to service customers. The picture just sells the item. When it’s hanging there they cannot tell what it looks like. The only drawback is their’s always sold out. I like BodyZone they do U.S. made. I seek their dancer stuff. There is some integrity with that company. Where I can buy made in the USA.
VAYOS: What did not sell well this year?
SILBER: I bought some licensed NBA basket ball costumes that did not sell well. I thought for sure they would but I was total wrong. We didn’t sell any fairy or witches. I don’t buy Rubie’s or Roma.
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