Q&A with John Wood, president of Seasons
Number of stores: 1 year-round, 2 seasonal, 1 eBay shop
Locations: Flowood, Miss.; Horn Lake, Miss.; Germantown, Tenn.
Flagship location square footage: 50,000
Year opened: 2004
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store.
John: Located on a high traffic volume highway among other upscale businesses, Seasons offers a full range of costumes, shoes, hosiery and accessories for all holiday occasions—New Year’s, Valentine’s, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. During the Halloween season, the stores are filled from floor to ceiling with décor and costumes for girls, boys, women and men of all sizes. Abundant selections of masks, wigs, hats and makeup are available to complete outfits. The latest movie theme and popular celebrity looks are stocked as well as the traditional superheroes, fairy-tale characters and the standards—pirates, witches, cops and French maids.
Ted: What makes your store special?
John: Seasons has spacious aisles lined with grid walls laden with costumes on hangers for customers to see and feel. Several fitting rooms with large mirrors are available for customers to make their costume selections. I make it a point to order the shoes, hosiery and other accessories shown in the costume package photos to satisfy the shoppers who want the complete outfit. My salespersons love Halloween. They like to dress up in costumes and use their knowledge to assist shoppers that need a little help in picking out the right item.
Ted: Which brands are important to your store, and which brands do customers ask for by name?
John: Leg Avenue and Dreamgirl are top women’s outfits. Rubies and Forum provide us with a broad selection of children costumes, accessories, décor and weapons. Women ask for Leg Avenue and Dreamgirl by name. Often, they know exactly which costume they want when they enter the store.
Ted: What do you look for in a vendor?
John: I look for vendors that can deliver what we order and can get refills to the stores as needed.
Ted: What styles or trends are popular in your store?
John: As I expected, zombies were hot this year for all ages. Vampires are still very popular. Lots of ladies still like pirates and men were buying higher-priced pirates to accompany their significant other.
Ted: What are your price points and size ranges?
John: Although our typical price point is $69.99, we offer costumes from $9 up to $1,000. I buy all sizes: newborn to toddler, girls, boys, tweens, teens, juniors, XS to 4X. A uniform supplier sells us real uniforms and jumpsuits with humorous labels in men’s sizes up to 8X.
Ted: Describe your typical customer.
John: My customers come in all ages and sizes.
Ted: How much does the average customer spend per visit to your store?
John: An average purchase is $50.
Ted: Describe your customer base.
John: Women are my number one customer, followed by kids usually brought by their moms.
Ted: Is there any other information you wish to provide?
John: Despite a sluggish economy and the aggressiveness and scale to the big box stores, my business has continued to grow. More seasonal locations in North Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee area planned for 2012. I expect nothing but a bright future with steady growth in branch locations and the web business.