Off-the-shelf vs Custom Mascots: What’s the Difference?
There are lots of factors to consider when getting a mascot costume for your school or company. How often will the costume be used? How long does it need to last? Who will be wearing the costume and lastly, what kind of budget do you have? Whatever the factors involved, here are some of the main differences between off-the-shelf mascots and professionally made custom mascots.
Often with mass-produced costumes, what you see is what you get. There are no options to create a custom mascot character that is unique to your school or brand. With custom costumes, everything about the design can be individualized to suit your needs – colors, facial expressions, body shape, accessories & clothing, branding, etc. A custom design means you don’t have to worry that your neighbor down the road has purchased the same mascot! There have even been instances where the mascot delivered is nothing like the picture of the one that was ordered.
When costumes are mass-produced, as with anything, workmanship ultimately suffers. Shortcuts are taken to maximize speed and minimize cost. For instance, things that should be hand-sewn such as seams are often simply glued down. Not only does this speed up normal wear and tear, but the finished look of the mascot can be messy. With custom mascots, there is a much higher standard of quality down to the smallest detail. This means your costume is built to withstand lots of regular use as well as making it easier to clean and keep it looking new.
Off-the-shelf costumes are typically constructed of lower quality materials which tend to degrade far more quickly than the specialty materials used by a custom maker. For instance, you may find things like thinner fabrics and faux furs in a stock costume. Also the quality of foam products used can be sub-standard. Styrofoam breaks easily and upholstery foam is prone to mold and mildew, which can be dangerous. A custom mascot shop will only use specialty foam products that are strong yet flexible, and that are resistant to moisture and bacteria. Faux furs tend to me a much denser pile and fabric components are built to withstand years of usage.
Safety and Comfort
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a custom mascot should always be designed and built with the safety and comfort of the performer in mind. A mass-produced costume will often not have proper vision or ventilation. The body suit may prevent mobility and flexibility and the materials used can potentially be dangerous if they get exposed to moisture or bacteria. A custom designed mascot by a reputable company will ensure that safety is not compromised while maintaining the integrity of the character design. A custom mascot costume should be easy to put on, take off, and move around in. And if performing best practices are followed, it should generally be a safe and comfortable experience.
If you opt for a professional mascot costume maker, you are making a smarter long-term investment. Contact the mascot professionals at Hogtown Mascots to get your mascot idea started today.