Halloween is the largest costume-wearing holiday of the year, and it is right around the corner. People love to dress up, but they don’t want to pay outrageous prices. A need for good costumes at a decent price is what drives TotallyCostumes.com to do so well, year-round.
With Halloween a little over a month away, I decided to ask Jay Stringer, the owner of TotallyCostumes.com, a few questions about his company and the costumes people are looking for this season.
1) Tell us a little about TotallyCostumes.com.
We are family-owned online costume store nested at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and sell costumes for every occasion.
2) What inspired it?
This is a funny story in which the entire family was involved in. It all began during the holiday season when our two girls Tamra and Janae were 8 and 6 years old.They REALLY loved horses and we wanted to surprise them with model horses and toy barns for Christmas gifts, but when we ordered through the family-owned catalog company the toy barns arrived damaged and with missing pieces. This experience was followed by unfriendly customer service when we called to get the large order of items replaced in time for Christmas morning. I decided that if they could make a living on selling poor quality toys and providing such horrible customer service to their customers, we could do it with better products and helpful customer service. We started out making our own toy barns and selling our hand made collection of farm toys at wholesale prices to retail stores. This grew to also expanding our toy collection to the consumer through a retail catalog. At 15 and 13 years old, our daughters were breeding Betta fish in aquariums and, once they ran out of tank space, they began selling them to the local fish stores. In a short amount of time, the local fish stores could not keep up with the rate in which they were bringing them more Betta fish. My oldest daughter said she would like to learn how to do a web page so that they could continue to sell their Betta’s online and she began learning how to build a website. It started to become too much for the two of them with school and the demand of their little biz. But being the little entrepreneurs that they were, they wanted to still be kept involved in the web. I asked if they would like to build a website for their mom and I. At that time, we were still selling toys to the retail stores and through our retail catalog. Once the site went online, we moved into the costume industry about 8 years later. Our girls have since gotten married and are still very involved in the TotallyCostumes.com that they helped build. If it wasnâ€™t for those two hard working little girls, TotallyCostumes.com would not be selling costumes today. It was a team effort from the whole family and all the team players here at totallycostumes that brought each event together like puzzle pieces.
3) How many costumes would you say are listed on your website? What are your sizes?
We stock over 17,000 costumes in all sizes.
4) With Halloween approaching, what are some of your popular costume choices?
Glee costumes and Smurf costumes are going to be the big hitters this year along with Zombie Halloween costumes. Of course, you will always have your classics that do very well at Halloween like Ghostbusters costumes, vampire costumes, witch costumes, etc.
5) Everyone knows costumes are hot during the Halloween season, but what about the rest of the year? Are there any holidays or events that bring a spike in sales that we may not expect?
Yes, there is also Oktoberfest, Saint Patrickâ€™s Day, school plays, theatrical performances, Christmas and Mardi Gras, just to name a few. There is a costume or a mask for any and all holidays or event. Party Party Party!!
6) Do you have any plans to expand on your costume line for this year (or next year)? If so, what can we expect?
Yes, we have expanded our line with over 5000 new and hot items for 2011. Next year we plan on expanding our theme collections such as the sexy Burlesque costumes and the inventive Steampunk costumes. In addition, we will also be adding to our costume wigs and accessory selection so that our customers can make their cosplay or costume truly unique.
7) What separates you from the competition?
Competition is fierce in this industry and keeps us on our toes, but I would say a large selection of costume items at lower prices and a dynamic team which provides faster shipping and friendly costumer service.
8) Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish over the next year or so?
Our goal is to dress everyone in a costume so they can have fun and forget the day to day drama.
9) What are some lessons your business has taught you?
You can do anything you set your mind to and, with good people behind you, nothing is impossible.
10) Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Itâ€™s a funny thing that when you start something and keep at it no matter what, it all comes together and just happens!
11) Do you have any advice you’d like to offer fellow entrepreneurs who are just getting started?
You can achieve anything in business that you want at any age. You just need to act. Keep at your dream no matter what and, most of all, never give up!