Company: Chameleon Costumes
For most people, impulsive decisions do not greatly affect their lives. They may choose to have a different sandwich at lunchtime, or to watch an extra episode of a box set. However, people who run their own businesses are not most people and that goes for Andy, whose impulsive decision to buy 600 hire quality costumes one day totally changed his life.
So, what does someone do when they find themselves with 600 costumes overnight? Andy says that this was his first challenge. He had a significant list of criteria that didn’t leave many options. The premises had to be affordable and available on a short or flexible lease term. In addition, it had to cater for customer parking and varied working hours. Time was also of the essence as they needed somewhere quickly, to store and sort through all of the costumes.
After ruling out many of the established conventional options, they approached Corner House in Braintree town centre for advice, who directed them toward Braintree Enterprise Centre, now known as Ignite Business.
Andy said: “Ignite was certainly the right choice for us. I would recommend other small businesses to talk to Ignite for business support, advice and premises requirements before entering into any long term lease agreements.”
After a chat through with an Ignite advisor, where they were provided with help and support with their business plan, Andy was offered an initial six-month lease agreement for a property at Braintree Enterprise Centre located on Springwood Industrial Estate. The contract came with a monthly termination policy from either party, which suited everyone involved.
Things haven’t been the same since those rapid first few weeks and Chameleon Costumes certainly haven’t stood still since. Four and a half years in and they are still growing, both with their customer database and in having purchased stock from a further three companies who ceased trading. Andy has also built relationships with other trades supplying specifically for the fancy dress hire industry. In addition, this year they have taken a role in community activities and will be working closely with Braintree town groups for the Christmas event. Doing what? Well, it involves costumes and will not only see them supply the expected, but costumes throughout the town for the whole Christmas light switch on day.
And there are more exciting times ahead beyond Christmas. In the next couple of months their premises will be expanding to accommodate the development of the company. They now have over 2500 costumes and as Andy says, it is proof that they must be doing something right.
Andy’s case is an interesting one for the fact that it stands out from the crowd. It proves things sometimes happen quickly and you need to adapt and take your opportunities. Though he does offer some advice to those seeking to emulate his beginning.
He said: “Don’t run before you can walk and start small!! We are probably the exception to the rule when it comes to starting a business. Most people plan for months, but I think we have proven the fact that it is possible for a new business to evolve overnight and be successful if you are prepared to put in the hard work.”
Now that Chameleon Costumes has grown to a larger premises and hundreds more costumes, there are plenty of options for his customer base to act on impulse whenever the occasions arise. These people may not be changing their lives for more than a night, but their rising numbers indicate that they are having a lot of fun.
Unit 29, 46 Springwood Drive
Springwood Industrial Estate
Braintree, Essex, CM7 2YN
01376 619143 or 07963 508887
Facebook: Chameleon Costumes (UK)