(Filed Under wholesale Costume News). Lynn Abdelnour of Halloween Gear told BODY’s associate publisher Ted Vayos what worked and what did not in the costume business in 2013. This interview is part of a series on Halloween 2013.
VAYOS: How was your Halloween this year?
ABDELNOUR: As far as the numbers go I stopped looking at them early in the season, the ups and down were too crazy to follow everyday. The bottom-line is it never will be what it use to be. I had to work really hard on early promotions this year. We offered early loss leaders, to steal the business from the other retailers. I did mark downs on costumes I knew would not be a hit. It was successful because we started early, we kept our pricing low on thousands of promo flyers selling costumes for $9.99, $14.99 and $19.99. They went back to normal on Oct 15. All our promotions sold kids product. I wanted to keep the business away from the Targets and Wal-Marts of this world. I had a Spirit store a mile away from me. Their prices were ridiculously high and my prices were a lot better. Everyone is on the phone price shopping so we needed to have the best price around.
VAYOS: How did sexy costumes do this year?
ABDELNOUR: My adult sales were extremely good we had no inventory left in men’s or women’s. I did really well with Leg Avenue. They were our number one supplier. Anything that had to do with cat suits, ninjas, paratroopers and even their cute harlequin clown sold out. Their Disney license did okay. Snow White did the best of the line. I am glad Leg Avenue did the cut below the knee. It was not hugely successful but did pretty good with the line. High school girls could wear these costumes and they were very tasteful. The teens want the Leg Avenue costumes and the parents are like, “No way.” We have to bring them into changing room and convince them that it’s not too sexy. A lot of hand holding is done in the store. We have to show them that it’s not going to look like this on your daughter. The teen wants the look and fit that Leg Avenue supplies. Dreamgirl is good too. But they did not have the inventory of Leg Avenue. They did well with girls and teens. The way they marketed their teen division was right on target. It is very desirable in my store. I think they’re doing a good job with teens. Their cave girl and monsters did well for us. Rubie’s we keep reordering their super hero licenses which continue to do well for us every year. This year Rubie’s did a good job with Ninja turtles, Minions and Skylanders for kids. The hooded huntress from inCharacter was my number one selling item on my internet site. California Costumes is my favorite costume company. Their customer service is amazing no one even comes close. They take care of their customers. They are expanding into more plus sizes they now go to a 3X equivalent. Their packaging is nice and the trim is clean. They don’t do sexy but they really don’t need to at this point. Their Duck Dynasty costumes sold very well in our store but I heard that the local mass retailers were loaded up with this costume.
VAYOS: Who did not sell well this season?
ABDELNOUR: My buying has totally changed over the last 4 years. We have all gotten burned in past by the big companies in the Halloween business promising us that so many of these new licenses will do well every year, meanwhile they are retailing them at Target, Costco, Wal-Mart for $9.99 when we are paying $9.99 wholesale for them. There were too many people who tried to do the morph suits, only Morph does the job right.
Next year we are only buying from Morph suits direct. It’s worth paying a few dollars more to get it done right. The Rubie’s Ninja turtle sold well for us but the size in small was sold out of way too early. Disguise’s non-deluxe Avengers and Disney Princesses did not sell for us. It might be that my area would have wanted the deluxe. Leg Avenue’s S.W.A.T. costume did not sell as well as I hoped, my customers did not like the cut outs on the sides. I do not know anyone does well with baby (costumes).
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