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April 2010

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A Quick Sale

Despite an economy that’s remaining cool, sexy costume sales are still hot. That’s particularly true as Halloween approaches and customers start making last minute purchases. Christopher Scharff, CEO of Dreamgirl International, said adult Halloween costume purchases tend to be very close to the holiday. “The entire business is last minute,” he said. “The sale of sexy costumes occurs in just the last few days before Halloween. The fact is that adults don’t buy costumes as far in advance as kids do, and they tend to buy them just within the final week before Halloween.” In other words, Scharff said if you have sexy costumes on the shelf and they haven’t sold by Oct. 20, that doesn’t mean you’re still going to have them on the shelf come Nov. 1. “It’s a white-knuckle business,” he said. To help make sure you don’t have all those sexy costumes sitting on the…  » Read more

It’s My Party

Just as birthdays come and go each year, so do the popular birthday trends. While it’s always a safe bet to stock generic celebratory product—balloons, solid color party ware, designs with cakes and confetti — knowing what the latest and greatest trends are can guarantee your sales age to perfection. Party & Paper Retailer talked with Randy Smith of Party Express from Hallmark about what to expect in the coming year. Young in Years With children, licenses continue to rule. Kids are either the direct decider or a heavy influencer on their party theme. To that end, licensed properties have become a natural part of their lifestyle, from the top TV shows and DVDs they watch at home to the movies they go see and the video games they play. When you layer on that these licenses are also on the clothes that they wear during…  » Read more

Shop Talk: National Customers Association

They may not have been dressing up as their favorite action figure, but people were still interested in the art of costumes and accessories almost 90 years ago. In 1923, the National Costumers Association (NCA) was organized to bring together those dedicated to promoting the industry. Today, the NCA’s membership consists of independent store owners, wholesalers/manufacturers, affiliates, honorary members and retired store owners working to encourage and promote the use of costumes in all fields of human activity. NCA President Nancy Cox, owner of Acme Costumes in Savannah, Ga., took the time to talk with Party & Paper about the NCA and the industry in general. What is your retail background? I started my business in 1992 after getting great responses over costumes I’d made for my family and me. I started out in a 1,200-square-foot space and have grown, 17 years later, into a rental/retail space…  » Read more