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Running a fancy dress business: Costume Boutique

Tamar costume2 copy

Halloween is here and what better business to run than a costume shop. spoke to the fabulous Tamar Zaig about her fancy dress and bespoke service business Costume Boutique .

It goes without saying that Halloween is a busy time of year for anyone in the fancy dress trade and a costume hire business can be a fun and unique business opportunity with good returns.

The market varies depending on the time of the year. Halloween, for example, tends to generate single customers looking for the best outfit, whereas other calendar dates can draw in larger groups of people and provide repeat custom from the likes of events agencies, stylists, costume designers, photographers and production companies.

Before running her own business, Tamar designed costumes for adverts and television programmes such as Spitting Image and this experience has helped her carve a niche for herself in the industry.

Her passion for design and her talent for creating costumes allows her to offer a more tailored service to her clients. She told us:

I’ve been interested in costumes ever since I can remember. I’ve always enjoyed dressing up, making my own clothes and adapting things. I naturally wanted to do costume and it just fell into place really - it was the perfect job for me to do.



She told us one of the main reasons for taking on the business was a desire for independence:

‘I wanted to be my own boss. Working in film and TV takes you all over the place and it’s very difficult to organise your life.’

For Tamar it all started five years ago when someone she knew offered her their small fancy dress business. Combining her bought catalogue with her own unique collection of costumes (many of which she had designed and made herself) she now has a collection of high quality costumes to hire.

With a wide choice of vintage, handmade and one off pieces Tamar’s collection is as diverse as her list of star studded clients - from Alan Carr to Lord Sugar and Jamie Oliver.

To an outsider, running a costume shop may seem like it’s all fun and games but Tamar is keen to emphasise that it is a lot of hard work too and you have to be willing to put in the hours.  



She describes becoming a business owner and the start-up process as ‘taxing and very difficult as it takes a long time to sort everything out’.

Tamar claims that one of the most important parts of running the business is an online presence:

‘I had to get a decent website together, start doing photo shoots of all the costumes and get some nice models, photographers and makeup artists.’

Often when you think of fancy dress, images of plastic, tacky supermarket chic costumes spring to mind. However, Costume Boutique’s unique selling point is providing customers with costumes that don’t look as ‘overtly fancy dress as everywhere else' and their 'whole ethos is to make the customer feel stylish in them not just silly'.

Tamar describes her typical day as ‘quite hectic’ and ‘very varied’ due to the bespoke nature of the service they offer, but the fun element is when she gets ‘to meet lots of people, dress them and up transform them into different characters’.

Her favourite thing about her business?

People come in happy and they leave happy … they’ve come in as a business man and they leave as a hippy with long hair and a bandanna, thinking yeah I look the part. That’s what makes me happy about working here.


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