Q&A with Gary Broadrick, president
Number of stores: 1
Typical square footage: 17,500
Year opened: 1988
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store.
Gary: In July of 2010, Performance Studios moved from a 9500 sq.ft. location in downtown Nashville to a 17,500 showroom after 22 years at the downtown location.
The front door opens into a large room of retail inventory divided in the middle by a “service counter”. To the left is a large open area dedicated to packaged costumes and accessories including separate rooms designed specifically for retail shoes and hats cleverly named the “Hat Closet” and the “Shoe Closet”. Ten retail dressing rooms enable customers to “try before they buy”.
To the right of the service counter is an area displaying retail wigs and hair goods with professional wig stylists on hand to assist the customer. Theatrical pre-styled wigs, human hair wigs for everyday use, wigs designed to copy hairstyles of specific characters, and one-of-a-kind elaborately styled wigs are found in this area. The right side of the open floor plan also includes a large area for professional cosmetics. Every day wear cosmetics, theatrical makeup products, and special effects makeup products all have a place in this area.
Performance Studios’ makeup area also includes a section devoted to “Performance Cosmetics”, a makeup line created and distributed by the company for distribution in hair salons. The area holds two rooms for complete hair salon services with licensed hair professionals and a makeup/wig styling room.
In the middle of the back wall is a double door opening that enters into the “Costume Rental Department”. Customers are welcome to browse through the thousands of rental costumes and seek advice from the staff of professionals. Twelve dressing rooms are available for customers to try on rental costumes. Once the basic costume is chosen, accessories from rental inventory or retail inventory are added to give the best overall look as possible.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Gary: When you walk in the front door your eyes are drawn to a printed slogan on the wall the reads “What May We Help You Become…” Performance Studios prides itself on customer service. We offer a full staff of professionals in every area to make sure that the customer is confident and more than satisfied with their purchase.
Ted: Which brands are important to your store?
Gary: We don’t think there is any one brand that stands out in our store. We are constantly seeking new vendors and sources for items that we can sell or rent that are not found in every store. These items are what make us unique and not like other stores.
We enjoy sales people and customer service representatives that are friendly and personable that we can feel like “we know” when we are doing business with them.
Because of our membership in the National Costumers Association we try to buy from our fellow NCA Vendor Members. Buying from our fellow association members helps create a support system.
Ted: Describe popular styles or trends at your store.
Gary: It’s difficult to name any particular style that is more popular than another in our store. Because we are a year round store catering to many different costuming and cosmetic needs, no particular style or brand is more important than another. We have seen a couple of new areas enjoy sales increases in the last couple of years. First shoe sales increased because of the wide variety of products now available and burlesque is an area of costuming that is starting to make its mark in our store. As with all stores across the Nation we have seen more interest in stockings than ever before.
Ted: What brands are customers asking for by name?
Gary: Typically when a customer asked for a product by name, it is a makeup customer. The brand asked for depends on what type of makeup the customer is seeking. Whether it is everyday cosmetics, theatrical makeup, or special effects type products.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Gary: When products arrive at the store we are diligent in comparing our pricing with internet pricing. We feel it is important to be competitive in this highly competitive market. We pride ourselves in carrying a wide range of sizes to try and accommodate all our customers. The rental department is very diverse in sizes.
Ted: What is your average customer size?
Gary: Of course, all sizes are in need of costuming for various reasons but it seems at Halloween we see more sales in small and medium and during the rest of the year we see increases in large to X-large. We carry a large inventory of “plus” sizes.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit to your store?
Gary: During Halloween season we have seen a decline in the average ticket in the last three years. I blame competition and economy for that. Hopefully, we’ll see an increase in the 2012 year.
Ted: Describe your customer base.
Gary: Most of the customers in our store are women, age 25-40. I feel like a lot of that is because of makeup sales for everyday use. However, that holds true for costume sales too. Men run second.
Ted: Is there any other information you wish to share?
Gary: It surprises me year after year how sales from one Halloween to another remain about the same. Our idea with Halloween is to maximize marketing to increase sales the rest of the year. Educate the public about what we do and what we offer all year. There is a lot of competition in the Nashville area. Not only just during Halloween season but because of the Music Industry there are a lot of businesses that cater to ward robing and costuming. Educating the public about our inventory and services is the number one priority during a season when customer traffic is at its highest.