Partying is paying off

AT times of recession it seems that people like to party.

Wednesday, 30th November 2011, 2:30 pm

At least that’s the conclusion to be drawn from the rise and rise of a Gainsborough fancy dress company.

Pam’s, on Corringham Road Industrial Estate, is celebrating 25 years in business and has taken on six new staff this year.

It has also just had its best Halloween sales ever.

As well as costumes, they also supply party decorations and are already gearing up for what promises to be a bumper 2012 with the Olympics and Queen’s Jubilee giving us all reason to celebrate.

Carolyn Lyden, who owns the business with her husband John, said: “Whereas people might have celebrated a birthday or special event by going out to a hotel, they are now having a party at home and are looking for decorations to make it special.”

“People aren’t going to stop celebrating special occasions, they are just doing it differently. A lot of our products are lower value as well and it’s a bit of light relief when times are tough.”

“We see the business continuing to grow and are almost at the point where we need more storage space again. We are looking at widening our product range and adapting to customer needs and changing trends.”

Pam’s was set up in October 1986 by John and Carolyn’s mum Pam Holmes, who had worked in the fancy dress industry for 10 years.

Carolyn was working part-time at a hotel but gave up to help get the company off the ground. She planned on staying for three to six months but 25 years later is still there.

“John and I are still involved in the business and go in two or three times a week to look at forward planning, but we leave the day-to-day management to directors.”

Pam retired in 1997 but still takes an interest in what is going on and took part in the 25th anniversary party.

The business began in one small unit of 2,500 sq ft with just four staff, and later moved to Primrose Street.

In 1992 it moved back to Corringham Road into Unit 30 which was then extended three times. Now the company employs 60 people and has Unit Six as well, bringing the total size to 80,000 sq ft.

Pam’s sells to the trade and sales director Carl Taylor said they had 6,500 customers on the high street.

He said: “Fancy dress has changed over the years, you’ve now got the supermarkets involved and it’s not just children but adults as well who are dressing up for Halloween and Christmas.”

“We have 600 styles of costumes and about 22,000 lines. There are more tailored and fitted sexy styles as well.”

“We take account of what’s happening in the media when we’re ordering, such as looking at films coming out so we know if people are going to be wanting pirate costumes or Star Wars or whatever.”

Carl said for parties they stocked 8,000 different styles of balloon, along with paper tablecloths, cups and plates and every other decoration someone might need.

He said: “We focus on customer service and reacting to what customers want. We are growing year on year and increasing our stock by keeping very close to what our customers want.”