Meet Kathe Sheehan – The Costumer!
**Editor’s Note: Last year we interviewed Kathe Sheehan “The Costumer”…she has such a unique business we wanted to share it again! Happy Halloween!!
Kathe Sheehan has dressed Prince William and Kate Middleton, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck! (Well, sort of.) From a small costume shop called The Costumer, Sheehan and her husband created a thriving business in an Upstate NY community that now supplies costumes nationally and internationally for theater company productions, high profile glossy magazine shoots, glitzy events, but is still committed to providing plain old affordable Halloween costumes for kids. This successful baby boomer entrepreneur has her priorities in order!
Q. How did you get into the costume business?
A. My husband and I were both teachers and ran theatre programs in our schools. Normally we rented our costumes in NY city. One day my husband needed to rent a policeman uniform for a one act Tennessee Williams play “The Case of the Lost Petunia” and one of the teachers at school said there was a costume shop in Schenectady. He went there after work and got the costume and said to the guy when leaving, “if this place is ever for sale give me a ring”. That night at dinner I told him some crazy guy called and said it was for sale. We bought it the next week with US Savings bonds we had been saving in our school retirement fund.
Q. Your business looks like so much fun….what do you like the best?
A. Every day is different and none are boring. It is a true problem solving puzzle trying to help our customers each day.
Q. Are there many baby boomer women in this unique industry as successful as you have been?
A. There are very few people in this business to begin with because the profits are very low. No one is going to get rich making costumes for Scholastic Theatre as you want them to be really nice but must keep the rental price low so your average kid can afford their costume.
A. Last year we provided costumes for the Time Magazine “Person of the Year” cover. We did the number 2 choice which was the Tea Party and was featured as a double page spread in that magazine. We also provided the Prince costume for the March issue of Brides Magazine which featured the Royal Wedding in London.
Q. What is your most requested Halloween costume this year?
A. Each year it is a reflection of Pop culture, but there are no real stand outs this season. Lots of super heroes – maybe people are looking for some “heroes” to escape from the realities of the present.
Q. Have you reached all the goals you set for yourself?
A. Whenever one goal is achieved I think of 10 more things I would like to accomplish. As much as possible I try and enjoy the journey even with all the roadblocks, and hopefully take some time to laugh with those on the ride – but it is challenging to do.
Bonus Question: Who was/is your favorite costume client?
A. Your average school kid who gets a part in a play and surprises everyone with their hidden talents! (Sometimes the costume helps gives them the courage to be someone else for a day) Being in a school play can be transformational!