When I went to the Houston Halloween & Party Expo, one of the teachers at the education center said something that made me seriously ponder my job. She said “everyone thinks you have a glamorous life,” and at the time, I chuckled like everyone else there, but I suppose it does make sense. Most retail businesses sell everyday items and clothing, while we sell the fantastic. We sell imagination and fun, rather than toothbrushes and winter coats.
Truthfully, my job is not all glitz and glam, its a lot of time, energy, and research into finding the best in a wide variety, because you never can tell when someone will walk through the door needing a gorilla suit, a flapper wig, or a million things in between. The Halloween & Party Expo was exactly what I needed to do my job, because I was able to inspect the products that end up on my shelves. About 15% of my job on a daily basis is inspecting costumes we’ve received, and repairing them to a certain degree, so seeing items first-hand, before they are shipped to the store, is key to saving time and money on products that don’t live up to our standards.
When we went to the expo we recognized labels and items from the temporary Halloween stores and the big stores that have costume items only one time a year. No offense to those items and those stores, but low-end is not what Lakewood Costumes is going to sell. You could always find them from someone else if you really wanted to, but when you walk through our door, we want to offer quality. It keeps people coming back, year after year.
From Cosplay to Murder Mystery dinners, folks want to look as authentic as possible with a costume that might even be reused for many years, so with that goal in mind, we spent a solid 3.5 days going over products, talking to vendors, and learning as much as possible about everything we wanted to stock. If the costume is expensive enough that it can be considered a rental, it needs to be sturdy enough to be worn at least half a dozen times, not to mention, we better be able to clean it! Being able to inspect everything saves me hours of time that may be spent on repairing cheaply made items.
The average customer isn’t going to know the difference between high and low quality unless I know it, so that is what I aim to do. I promise to spend hours learning all I can, so that you don’t have to. You’ll look your best when you come to my store, because I’ve spent the time making sure you will before you even open my door.
You know, in the end, I can see why people see what I do as glamorous. I do work with a lot of rhinestones and glitter! Ha!