Number of stores: 1
Location: Rutherford, N.J.
Year opened: 1987
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store.
Clifford: Our store is very unique, made up of three different buildings: the retail, the prop shop and the rentals — all in consecutive order on one block. Each store has different flair with an old-time touch to it. Costumes and accessories line the walls of the fun retail store — everywhere you turn, it’s colorful and creative. The prop shop is more dark and eerie with haunted Halloween props draping the walls right down to the floor, but it’s very interesting and a good experience. The rentals are more classic and serene with an antique look to it; our mascots and elegant costumes decorate the shelves. Each store has its own personality. We have a large array of products to offer from the historical to the hysterical; from the subtle to the sultry. Masquerade masks, character wigs, streetwear wigs, theatrical makeup and theatrical props. For costumes, we have retail and rental options, sexy costumes, period costumes, holiday costumes, Halloween and Christmas costumes and characters, theatrical vintage and numerous accessories.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Clifford: Our store is special because of our history and our personality. We employ very artistic and creative people to help any customer with any need or idea. All of our staff members are friendly and personable and we take the time to really listen to our customers and help them the best we can. We offer every customer that walks in our door personalized service catering to their needs with professionalism that is on their level. We also offer any tips or tricks of the trade that may help them achieve their look per their body style. Those are just a few of the reasons why customers come to us. They also come to us instead because of our exceptional merchandise that other stores with lower quality or inexpensive products don’t offer. We offer quality in all our items. We are not just a Halloween store — we’re open year-round.
Ted: Which brands are important to your store?
Clifford: Brands that are important are Secret Wishes, Leg Avenue, Be Wicked, Alan Sloane & Company, Playboy, Fantasy and Paradise.
Ted: Which brands do customers ask for by name?
Clifford: Leg Avenue, Dreamgirl, Paradise and Graftobian makeup.
Ted: What are you looking for in a vendor? Do salespeople make a difference?
Clifford: We are looking for quality items in a vendor. Salespeople don’t really make a difference in our decisions. All are favorites because of the quality and packaging. We haven’t really dropped any brands yet per se, but we will not be ordering from the bigger mainstream companies that supply the pop-up Halloween stores. There were over 17 Halloween stores within a 15-mile radius from my store and we are not going to carry those prominent brands that cater to those type of seasonal costume stores that are in direct competition with each other. Then a real costume company like Fun-Ghoul ends up in the middle of a price war which we are no longer going to be part of.
Ted: Describe popular styles and trends in your store.
Clifford: Retail trends are more of sexy costumes, funny costumes, or cool costumes with professional makeup — more unique things. The prop shop has a high demand for scary, animatronics. Rentals usually gets customers who want either a mascot or very elegant costumes, mostly period costumes and authentic fashions of the Victorian, Elizabethan, or Gilded Ages, from the 1920s to the present.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Clifford: Prices vary in the retail store based on what packaged brand you buy. In rentals, prices range from how simple to how ornate and over the top a costume is. Props range in price based on their size. Sizes of costumes go from XS to 3X. For the most part, we keystone all of the costumes in retail. Hosiery, accessories, hats and wigs are keystone plus.
Ted: What is your average customer size?
Clifford: Sizes 4 to 6 and 10 to 12.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit to your store?
Clifford: Anywhere from $25 to $150.
Ted: Describe your customer base.
Clifford: We attract men and women of all ages with our unique inventory, with no exception — children of all ages as well. The Fun-Ghoul is so versatile with so much to offer, there is no limit to the age, sex or type of person we interest.
Ted: Is there any other information you wish to provide?
Clifford: We also design and construct custom costumes using an array of materials. We carry theatrical lenses, for example — blind, cat and zombie lenses, etc., and theatrical stage props for specific productions.