Peer Perspective: Nancy Williams, Williams Costume Co.

Nancy Williams

Owner, Williams Costume Co.

Las Vegas

PPR: Where did you grow up?
My dad was in the Navy, so we were here and there, but I was born in San Diego. We lived in Washington D.C., and we lived in the Philippines and different places like you do when you’re in the Navy. (The family was in the Philippines in 1940, just prior to the start of World War II.) My mother and I came home and she got a house in Los Angeles, so I could have all the best dancing teachers in Hollywood. She was determined I would be in show business. 
PPR: How did you get into the costume business?
I was dancing on the strip. I was dancing at four different hotels on the strip and was teaching dancing in the afternoon. Then, I gave up dancing on the strip and just went into the dancing school business, which turned into the costume business because I had to make the kids’ costumes.  
PPR: Who are your biggest customers outside of Halloween season?
All kinds of theatrical people, and every mother who is making a dancing costume needs some sparkle.
PPR: How much of your revenue comes from rental?
About half, but sales is a little bigger. We have about 7,000 costumes in our rental department. What we do is find out what people want, but if we don’t have (a desired costume) on the floor, we will measure people and go get one. 
PPR: Have you had any celebrity customers over the years?
Liberace used to come in all the time. He used to come in and buy his rhinestones. Over the years, all kinds of stars have come in here. … Marie Osmond was here the other day buying stones. They all need things to sparkle themselves up. 

Originally posted Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016

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