Quality costumes for the sophisticated retail consumer
InCharacter Costumes was established in 2003 by Chuck Martinez and Bob Pickens, the guys who originally brought you one of the largest costume companies in the world. The owners saw a growing trend in the market of bad service and poor quality. The smaller, independent retailers seemed to be getting the brunt of this problem as they had been placed last in line behind the mass market giants.
We are dedicated to providing unmatched customer service and quality to the specialty retailer. Our product line was created specifically with your sophisticated retail costume customer in mind. We combine exquisite designs with superior fabrics, premium finishing, and the best graphics in the industry at a price that allows you to offer your customer a remarkable value. We have low minimums and aggressive discounts making it easy for you to carry just what you need. Our goal is to have product available year-round as we know that you sell costumes all year long.
InCharacter Costumes is made up of a successful team of management that collaborates to push industry limits with its premium costume offerings.
Chuck Martinez Chief Executive Officer
Chuck is acknowledged by the masquerade industry as the pioneer and founding father of the mass market Halloween industry, having successfully fostered two separate start-up masquerade companies to great success.
In 1978, Chuck began an association with Sears, Roebuck creating The Halloween Shop at Sears. The temporary leased Halloween departments located within Sears stores revolutionized the masquerade industry. Chuck started with a single San Diego Sears store location that generated around $89,000 of retail costume sales during a 35-day selling period. By 1984, he had built a national chain with over 360 locations at Sears that produced almost multi-million dollars of retail revenue during the month of October.
During this period, Chuck and his management team significantly improved the design, presentation and quality of masquerade products while creating a national presence through a marketing campaign that encompassed an award-winning series of television and radio advertisements.
Sensing a new and greater opportunity in the masquerade business, Chuck joined forces in 1987 with Bob Pickens (a member of one of The Halloween Shop's previous senior management teams) and Jerome Berko (one of Chuck's former suppliers) and together they created Disguise, Inc. Disguise's mission was to bring an improved level of masquerade and Halloween merchandise to a new breed of quickly expanding retail merchants. Disguise's initial product line consisted of 25 items and was successful from the start. Disguise continues under new ownership as one of the world's largest costume distributors.
Bob Pickens-Keskinen Chief Operating Officer
Bob started his career in the masquerade costume industry in 1980 by working for Chuck Martinez managing a Halloween Shop located within the Buena Park Sears store. Over the next few years, Bob quickly worked his way up the Halloween Shop at Sears management ladder, eventually assuming responsibility for the operations of over 50 locations.
But Bob's true talent was in the design and creation of masquerade costume products and by 1983 he had become the merchandising manager for The Halloween Place at JCPenney, a competitive operation which was inspired by The Halloween Shop at Sears. In 1985, after Chuck had sold his interest in The Halloween Shop at Sears, the Halloween Store at JCPenney merged with The Halloween Shop at Sears to become National Theme Productions. Bob served as Director of Design and Development for NTP through 1987.
Impressed with Bob's merchandising achievements, Chuck invited him to co-found Disguise, Inc. in 1987. The experience Bob gained from managing the Sears and JCPenney programs, was good training for managing all Disguise operations and creative processes. From 1987 through 1998, Bob was the General Manager of Disguise, Inc. and ran all manufacturing and distribution activities. In addition, he was responsible for all creative, design and development functions. Bob sold his interest in Disguise in 1995 though he continued to work for the new ownership through 1998. During his years at Disguise, Bob's design talents and manufacturing management skills created a new standard for the masquerade costume business and was integral to Disguise's growth in becoming the second largest participant in the industry.