Founded by the Maloney family, Costume Craze is one of the first companies in the world to sell costumes online. With over 8,500 costumes, and shipping to nearly every country in the world, the company has had the chance to see the evolution of costumes and cosplay first-hand.
We had the opportunity to interview the founders of Costume Craze on the evolution of cosplay, new trends, and their plans for Halloween 2016, among other things.
Costume Craze was born from a software idea fifteen years ago now. Were you already aware of the potential cosplay had when you switched to the costume industry?
Costume Craze was one of the very first companies to sell costumes online. We were pleasantly surprised by the surge of interest we received from shoppers. Back in 2001, cosplay had not yet become mainstream in the U.S., and nobody really expected it to become as popular as it is today. At first, most costume manufacturers frowned upon the idea of selling online. They didn’t think it would work. But it didn’t take long for everyone to come on board, and online sales of costumes grew at a rapid pace.
Have you seen an increase in demand for costumes outside of special holidays due to the growth in popularity of cosplay for other events like comic conventions?
Yes, absolutely. Costumes are not just for Halloween anymore. Isn’t it great? There is always a comic or pop culture convention happening these days. We often provide costumes for entire families, from grandparents to toddlers, who are attending a local convention in a group theme. Many of the more serious cosplayers enjoy making their own costumes, but we provide a lot of support for them as well, in the form of costume accessories like wigs, makeup and shoes. And a lot of cosplayers will purchase our premium, high-end theatrical costumes. It’s such a fun experience, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.
In the last years, there’s been a growing debate on the separation of “boy costumes” and “girl costumes”. Costume Craze offers the same type of superhero costumes regardless of gender. What’s your stance on the matter and have you ever encountered any problems with such demands from parents?
We’ve never encountered any problems. Our main goal is to help customers find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. We organize our costumes based on themes and characters, and let the customers search however they wish. And we also have our costumes grouped like a traditional department store, as many shoppers enjoy the ease of browsing by their age and gender. We’re constantly evaluating our website and shopping trends, and adapting in whatever way best helps our customers.
We are entering the final months of 2016, a year full of new movies and TV shows. What have been the most successful costumes of 2016?
As you can expect, costume trends do tend to follow the popular Hollywood movies. So yes, this has been a big year for Star Wars, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Ghostbusters, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Somewhat surprisingly, the breakout star of this year is definitely Harley Quinn. She is an absolute fan favorite.
That said, popular costumes are not always movie costumes. Classic costumes such as pirates, princesses, hippies, disco, and 1920’s flappers are always very successful. And we’ve also had tremendous success with our Day of the Dead costumes. This Mexican holiday is celebrated the day after Halloween, and has become extremely popular. The costumes really are amazing, and people love the combination of skeletons and colorful, festive outfits.
Fall is often the busiest time of the year for costume retailers. Are you planning anything special for Halloween 2016?
Yay, it’s Halloween! This is certainly our favorite time of year. To celebrate, we’re running a store-wide sale through October and everything is discounted. We’ve also expanded our successful Deal of the Day program to now offer five deals each day instead of just one. You have to be quick, though. New deals start at midnight and sell out quickly.
Our business hours have also been extended, so we can provide helpful phone support to our customers from early morning until late into the evening.
How did the idea of adding costumes for dogs come about and are you planning on adding more pet options like costumes for cats?
Our pet costumes have been doing well for many years. They are just so fun and adorable, great for family photos and trick-or-treating. While the primary focus has been on dogs, we do like to inform shoppers that the smaller sizes fit cats, too. And we are seeing a shift in the industry to include more cat costumes. In fact, this year we’ve added an adorable Puss n Boots cat costume, complete with cape and feathered hat.
Costume Craze is open all year long, providing costumes for parties, playtime fun, comic conventions, sporting events, theatrical performances and, of course, Halloween!