I don't think 2020 turned out to be the year that any of us were expecting.
We started the year by moving to new premises in the centre of Bristol. This move vastly increased our space and allowed us to bring everything in to one place. It also allows you to come and visit us!
This move and improved picking and packing procedures means that we can get bookings out even faster, so we are even better placed to deal with those last-minute bookings. Our new barcode readers also don't break when you drop them, which has come in handy...
More space means more costumes, and again we have invested heavily! Many are specially made just for us and to our designs, so you won't find them anywhere else.
But what started out being our busiest year to date, changed literally overnight in March with the start of the national lock-down.
I'm not going to dwell on this for too long, but the pandemic has devastated the arts in the UK and it has been heartbreaking to see so many (including some of our customers) going out of business.
The arts again seems to have been at the bottom of the list when it comes to government priorities (not that we wouldn't welcome things like better NHS funding), despite being such a positive contribution to not only the nation's well-being, but also the economy.
Like many other businesses, we have fallen through the net. Because of the way various grants were focused we have not received any government support even though we were essentially unable to trade (even at reduced levels) for many months.
We are certainly not alone.
Luckily though we have been able to weather this storm and we are now seeing an increase in people holding virtual or pre-recorded shows with a view to holding live performances in 2021.
We are ready to fulfil your dance costume needs, however you choose to perform!
When we first started, we made the decision to send our costumes out in costume bags and have done this ever since. Not only are our distinctive red costume bags a familiar site in dressing rooms up and down the country, but this has meant that we were already well-placed to deal with Covid-secure procedures.
Our costumes are already individually bagged and labelled before arriving with our customers, so that's one less thing they need to think about.
Another decision we made right at the start was to minimise our environmental impact as much as possible and this is still at the heart of what we do.
This year we have taken another step forward.
Working with Eden Reforestation Projects, we now plant trees for every single costume hire we send out. At the time of writing we have already planted over 3200 trees, and this is increasing every day.
The great thing about Eden Projects is that they employ local villagers in each project location to plant, maintain and nurture the trees. This way of working starts by giving villagers a decent income and as healthy forests begin to emerge, the negative effects of deforestation start to disappear.
Communities benefit both in the long and the short term.
There is no extra cost to our customers and we plant trees for every single booking - large or small.
Although this year has been strange, we look to the future and all that it brings.
We look forward to sharing that future with you.
All that leaves is for me to wish you a very happy, peaceful and safe Christmas and we’ll see you in the new year.
Founder, Costume Source
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