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Party items suit Scottish firm

Halloween dresses up figures for MorphCostumes

Morphsuits Halloween

MorphCostumes, the fancy dress and party fashion company behind the latex phenomenon is cashing in on the growing popularity of Halloween.

It is reporting a 43% increase in UK web sales on last year, with further significant revenues expected in the run-up to the eve of All Saints’ Day.

Halloween remains the key selling period for the Edinburgh-based business, with 60% of annual sales revenue generated during September and October.

MorphCostumes was founded by Edinburgh University graduates Gregor Lawson and brothers Fraser and Ali Smeaton.

They each gave up their day job to sell all-in-one skin-tight Morphsuit branded costumes after witnessing the dramatic reaction they generated at a fancy dress party.  The business now employs 29 staff and retails in 25 countries.

There has been a notable increase in spending over the Halloween period in recent years.  In 2002 the market was worth £12m. Now it is the third best-selling festival in the UK – after Christmas and Easter – generating in excess of £300m in revenue. This is in line with general figures for merchandise sales experienced by supermarkets and other retailers.

Morphsuit skeletonMr Lawson, said:  “Our business has always been seasonal. However, we’ve been seriously impressed with the momentous growth in our sales this Halloween.

“UK customers appear to be veering towards the more traditionally scary, horror costumes, with our Day of the Dead range being our best seller. In the US anything goes when it comes to Halloween dressing up.

“Quite rightly there has been considerable focus on the safety issues surrounding Halloween outfits this year. This was something highlighted most recently by Claudia Winkleman’s horrific experience when her daughter’s supermarket-bought costume became engulfed by flames.

“We are very proud that all our morphsuits passed the regulations not only for fancy dress but also the more stringent tests for kids’ nightwear.”

Famous MorphCostumes customers have included One Direction, Tom Daly, Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus and New Zealand All Black, Dan Carter.

“We’ve had visions of Dan wearing his MorphCostume to celebrate winning the Rugby World Cup Final which falls on the same day as Halloween this year.  How great would that be?!” says Mr Lawson.

In 2012, BGF (Business Growth Fund), the £2.5 billion investment vehicle set up in 2011 by five of the UK’s biggest banks, invested £4.2 million to enable the company to bring new product lines to market.

In 2013 the company acquired Digital Dudz, which brings multi-media interactivity to its product range.

BGF investor and MorphCostumes board member, Duncan Macrae, said:  “The founders of the business were keen to capitalise on their immediate success and could see the potential of their original idea.  Growth capital is ideal for growing companies concentrating on product development.

“BGF’s investment allowed the team to expand its range of products quickly with the development of Morphsuits for children and investments in licensed products, such as Power Rangers and Spiderman, which are huge but can require a financial commitment.

“The global market for retail party goods is estimated by operators within the industry as being worth $10bn per annum, so there is plenty of opportunity for future growth.”

In addition to funding, BGF contributes guidance and operational support to the company and introduced Ralph Kugler as chairman. Ralph has been a main board director at a number of global companies including InterContinental Hotels and Unilever.

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