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Costume Craze is dressed for success

LINDON — The Maloney family had a great entrepreneurial idea: create a software program to help Internet companies have greater sales success.

Who wouldn't want greater success?

CEO Kate Maloney, her mother, Kathleen, and brother, Matthew, all believed in the software so much they formulated a product test to demonstrate the software's advantages — a small online business that sold costumes.

"It started with two-to-three orders a week," Kate said. "Then we had 22 packages in one day. I was so excited, the car trunk was full."

That was in September 2001.

Today, the Maloney's Lindon-based company, Costume Craze, is the world's second largest Internet retailer of costumes and is on the Inc. 500 list. With a current inventory of more than 8,500 costumes, the company ships to nearly every country in the world.

Costume Craze offers theatrical and movie costumes, period clothing, accessories and, of course, Halloween costumes for all sizes of humans and their pets. Prices range from $10-$1,000.

According to Jeff Wiseman, marketing director, Costume Craze averages about 100 costume orders in a normal day. That amount can be handled by the 15 current warehouse employees. However, Halloween is a whole different matter. The warehouse needs about 90 employees to handle the rush.

"Our biggest time is Halloween, " Wiseman said. "In 2006 our highest day was Oct. 23. We had 3,000 new orders and 5,000 packaged (for delivery) that day. UPS trucks were camped out all over."

The sales couldn't be more welcome.

"Every year we've grown and outdo our projections," Wiseman said.

The buyers start ordering in January for Halloween hoping they have caught on to the latest, newest thing. Hollywood is a huge influence on what will be "the costume" that year. Next year's movies will include "Batman" and "Star Trek."

"What's popular is what is in the movies that year," Wiseman said. This year's costume biggies include TV series star Hannah Montana and "High School Musical" costumes, along with Harry Potter, Shrek, Spider-Man and pirates.

Oddly enough, the most-sold costumes are "Ghostbusters" costumes and accessories. These are group favorites. Dorothy, Toto and the original "The Wizard of Oz" gang are also a perennial favorite.

If your pet is looking for a costume, you'll most likely find just what you need online. Wiseman says the most popular costume is the Superman dog.

After Halloween, the next biggest season for costume sales is Christmas.

"It is our second largest selling time," Wiseman said. "Costumes are used for presents for the kids, and, of course, we sell Santa outfits, elves, angels and Mrs. Claus."

The most popular Christmas costume isn't Santa, according to Wiseman. It's Donkey from the "Shrek" series. Evidently, the donkey costume is popular for nativity scenes.

Perhaps the biggest question for the Maloneys is, when will locals get to shop at the warehouse?

"Our current warehouse is 23,000 square feet," said Kate Maloney. "We just bought a building and land that will double the size to 57,000 square feet on 4 1/2 acres."

A grand opening will be held in the near future for the new Pleasant Grove location.

Until then local customers can get their costumes online. For those in Utah, orders are taken until Oct. 30. For a $5.99 shipping fee, delivery is guaranteed next day.

See or call toll-free 888-922-7293.