Costume specialist Rubie’s Masquerade is currently celebrating. In September, it walked away from the second Licensing Awards with the accolade for Best Licensed Children’s Apparel Range, beating off competition from Marks & Spencer, A&J Carter for Mothercare and Cooneen & Misirli.
“Awards are always nice to win,” says advertising and promotions manager, Holly Davies. “It is a thanks to all the hard work the designers put in, as well as the rest of the team who promote it and produce it.”
Rubie’s has certainly enjoyed a productive past 12 months. To start with it has added a trio of significant licences: “The last 12 months have been very exciting for Rubie’s regarding licensing,” Davies continues. “We have signed a three-year exclusive worldwide licence for Star Wars and Indiana Jones. We also signed for Batman, The Dark Knight which is out in 2008. We have some very exciting deals in their final stages, which will be announced in the next few weeks, too.”
Rubie’s list of licenses is certainly impressive. As well as key film properties such as Superman, Harry Potter, Shrek, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, The Wizard of Oz, Friday The 13th and Ghostbusters (to name just a few), it also boasts the likes of Power Rangers, Fireman Sam, Angelina Ballerina, Pink Panther, Scooby-Doo, Dennis the Menace, The Flintstones, Looney Tunes, Dr Seuss, High School Musical, The Phantom of the Opera and Miami Vice in its wide ranging portfolio.
“Rubie’s licensed portfolio is second to none and is very important to the business,” confirms Davies. “It makes up about 25 per cent of the total product range, but this is growing year-on-year as licensed costumes get more popular. We believe having licensed products opens doors for you, particularly the exclusive deals, which most of Rubie’s are.”
Particular big sellers for the company include the super heroes, with Mr Incredible and Buzz Lightyear also proving popular more recently. Star Wars is also a consistent top seller.
Looking into next year, and Rubie’s will be launching its new catalogue at Spring Fair, which will include all of its new ranges and licences, such as Batman, Indiana Jones and Disney, as well as some surprises which Davies is keen to keep under wraps for the moment.
So, if she could work with any licence what would it be? “Disney Princess for kids,” she says, “because it is such a classic brand that works so well in the UK. And Spider-Man to complete our super heroes portfolio.”
The licensed dress up and accessories sector is certainly very competitive, but Rubie’s seems to have all bases covered. “There are some very good companies with very good ideas,” Davies admits. “This is also a good thing as it is forcing companies to up their game, which in the end benefits the consumer. There are some very exciting products on the market this year and that will no doubt be improved upon next year.
“The market still seems to be growing and particularly the licensed side. It is an extremely exciting time to be within the costume market.”