Pierre's Costumes

Costume shops and costumers

Costume shop management is an ongoing fight against chaos!


Costume shops are a haven for “artistic” types.  Many of these people are brilliant, can create spectacular costumes, and design amazing outfits.  However there seems to be one common trait among most costumers (you reading this, are probably the exception).  They are often very scattered, easily distracted, and quite messy.  They are often so focused on the job at hand, that they forget to deal with the “little things” like picking up after themselves.  At least that’s the case in our shop.

These kind of people who costume, often need to get distracted by a fun activity.  Having a pizza party, playing with remote control toys, or having a BBQ (we have ours on our loading dock – we refer to it as “urban BBQ Fridays”).  Playing music loudly (as we often do in the warehouse), helps blow off some steam.  These kind of things, help the creative focused mind recharge.  Many times (especially theatre season), costumers have tough timelines thrust upon them, that can lead to stress and long hours.

We like to decorate our shop with pictures of past costumes that we have made.  We have design sketches hanging, and pictures from previous photo shoots.  We framed them to make the place more “classy”.  We also have posters in the workroom to perk the place up, many of them are funny, and enormous.  One of the funny things we have hanging is a newspaper clipping from Thailand (we imported some authentic headpieces for a production, they were wrapped in this newspaper).  It has lots of funny images and writing in a language none of us understand.  For all we know they could be instructions on how to launch a rocket.


We also try to make things idiot proof, or at least costumer proof.  We have forms for everything, so no details are lost.  We use many computers, and have a network drive full of resources.  We get all of the trade journals and have literally every costume and makeup book that has been printed for reference.  Over the many years, we have accumulated several large binders full of plots for costuming well known to obscure theatrical plays and musicals.



To keep us organized and on track we have several cork and white boards to keep track of ongoing projects.  We are a very Mac centric shop, so using iCal and sharing the several schedules with everyone on their computers keeps people up to speed.  One of the items we like to use when pulling a show from our warehouse, is oversized clipboards with a storage box on them.  This way we can put all of the production pulling tickets (to be put on the hanger with the costume when pulled), inside the boxes, and prevent losing them in the chaos that is our warehouse.



We have tons of labeled boxes so we can find everything from whopper poppers to sequin trim.  The only area that can get really cluttered is our laundry area.  We have so many bottles of diverse chemicals and cleaners for removing all sorts of stains from clothing.  Our laundry area is literally like a mad scientists workshop.






Files, clipboards, notice boards, and morning meetings keep our costumers on track, and out of trouble.  These kind of methods, keep the scattered creative mind that is part of a costumer on track for us.


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