According to Crain’s New York Business, until Planet Pepper, options were very limited for drag queens who needed outfits and dresses. Well, just think: dresses that are proportioned correctly for a size 14 man.
They were taking a square peg and trying to put a round dress on it,” said Vincent Cuccia, who had a career in fund raising and grant writing for different theaters and universities in the New York City area before it occurred to him there might be a market in drag queen clothes. So far, Cuccia has the market all to himself, which is how he planned it.
Cuccia, who is already breaking even with $25,000 in revenue so far this year, found a business organization that helped him avoid startup costs.
“We try to be the full package—you’re getting your wigs and dresses from us, and we use independent contractors who supply jewelry and other materials, and help with wig designs,” said Cuccia. “The only thing we don’t do is shoes.”
Cuccia works with Alex Bartlett, a veteran Broadway designer in both wardrobe and wigs who invested several thousand dollars in the enterprise. “When I met Bartlett,” said Cuccia, “everything came together—and he even came with a client list. I thought, I can sell this.”
The two complement each other well, said Cuccia, who handles the business side: marketing, sales, bookkeeping, branding and publicity. Bartlett designs all the clothing, does alterations and styles the wigs.
He sees the market for planetpeppernyc.comas nationwide. “Our marketing strategy is aimed at selling costumes all year round,” he said. “We don’t have seasonality. There are many events featuring drag queens throughout the year around the country.”
Photo by Crain.