How To Start a Costume Character Business: Everything You Need to Know
Knowing how to start a costume character business is, on the fundamental level, little different from knowing how to start most other kinds of service businesses. 3 min read
Starting a Costume Character Business Overview
Knowing how to start a costume character business is, on the fundamental level, little different from knowing how to start most other kinds of service businesses. Like most businesses, superior advertising, word-of-mouth, and user experience will all be key to your success. However, unlike some service businesses, your costume character business can be either part-time or full-time, depending on how much time and work you wish to invest in it.
Basic Steps to Starting a Costume Character Business
When starting a costume character business, the following steps will help you achieve your goal:
- Acquire a local business license and learn the business rules. Some states will collect sales tax on your business and require disability insurance if you hire employees. You should also learn about local insurance, reporting, and licensing requirements.
- Acquire costumes or find rental resources. Once you register your business, you should obtain costumes for it or secure a means to rent them. Ebay and costume stores after holidays can be great sources of discount costumes if you would like to keep your initial expenses down. Or, if you do not plan to purchase costumes, find a costume rental business to meet your needs. It may be advisable to make sure their costumes fit correctly, and are at a price point you find acceptable.
- Advertise. You may consider posting fliers in public places like schools, church bulletin boards, dance studios, libraries, gyms, and post offices, or even dress up in character to pass out fliers. A website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed could also be very effective.
- Stay in touch. Repeat business is very important for a costume character business. If you get hired to entertain at a birthday party, that gig could result in repeat business every year for many years to come, so you will want to make sure the client remembers your business. A month or two prior to the party, you can send them a friendly reminder in a postcard in case they want to schedule you again.
Advertising Your Costume Character Business
Because a costume character business is not about selling a product, but rather an experience, advertising is even more important than it would otherwise be. It is of the utmost importance that the fact of your business’s existence reaches your key business demographic, which will be parents, party planning groups, children’s groups, and children’s activity centers. Some ways for doing this include:
- Using effective marketing materials. Fliers, brochures, and business cards are still effective ways to get the word out about a business. For a costume character business, bright colors and bold graphics would be appropriate. However, you must be careful that none of your imagery or wording infringes on others’ copyrighted materials. Bring your business cards to all events to spread the word about your business.
- Attend local events. Becoming a fixture at local community events can be a very effective way to grow your business. Craft shows, community festivals, and back-to-school fairs offer the opportunity for you to get your face known to the public and spread the word about your business. Having give-away items like balloons with your business card attached can also be an effective means of marketing.
- Advertise selectively. Because a costume character business is a niche business, you will want to focus your attention on those most likely to use it and advertise where they are most likely to see it. Some ideas include magazines, newsletters, or websites targeted at parents; local television ads during children’s programs; and a website that includes games, downloadable coloring pages, and other interactive features that will appeal to children.
- Increase word-of-mouth. Much of your business will also be dependent on effective word-of-mouth. Aside from offering a superior experience to those who hire you, you can also offer discounts to those who refer other parties to your business or who are repeat customers. Creating a mailing list to provide regular updates on new characters, features, or other details may also be helpful.
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