AN Edinburgh costume maker is taking timeless classics like pirates and fairytale creatures and putting them on sale across its fastest growing market, North America.

It is hoped the move by MorphCostumes will trend-proof its designs, which have included outfits linked to blockbusters like Deadpool and Star Wars, such as a Stormtrooper costume that helped it to a record surge.

The firm, which has said it generates around 60 per cent of its annual sales in the weeks running up to October 31, plans to export classic designs through its existing channels after buying Yorkshire-based rival Fun Shack.

Fraser Smeaton, chief executive at MorphCostumes, said: “What it helps us do is broaden our range out of the trend-led designs that we’ve got and gives us more classic costumes so that we balance our range and reduce our exposure to trends.”

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He said this includes “your pirates, your lederhosen, your fairytale creatures, all that kind of stuff”.

He added: “The way we describe them is that they are never out of fashion.

“The majority of our revenue is abroad, particularly North America, and that is the main focus of this.

“We are taking a UK company who don’t currently do anything in the US and we have well-established distribution channels through our website, through Amazon and eBay marketplaces and major retailers.

“The core of the growth plan is to take those good proven products and expose them to a much bigger market.”


MorphCostumes plans to export Fun Shack’s costumes, which are primarily available in the UK, through its current international routes, also targeting countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, as well as the US.

Fun Shack was founded in Leeds by Jeffrey Fearnley and Harvey Felstone in 2008 and has grown its annual revenues to £3m and its headcount to 12 staff.

It was acquired in what MorphCostumes said was a “win-win” situation.

Mr Smeaton said: “They had run a business that suited their lifestyle and hadn’t ever built the distributions channels in other countries.

“They are also coming up retirement age, and that [broaden distribution channels] wasn’t something that they wanted to do, so it was a good win-win, for us to be able to give them the exit they were looking for, whereas we get an asset that we can build on.”

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The firm hit the acquisition trail, taking what it said would be the first step in a plan that will “continue their strong growth”, from a base of over £12m in 2018, which is up from £9m in 2017.

Brothers Fraser and Ali Smeaton founded AFG Media, MorphCostumes’ parent company, in 2009 with Gregor Lawson after a night out that inspired the invention of the first Morphsuit, a head-to-toe spandex fancy dress outfit.

Some of its most popular costumes include characters from films such as Deadpool, Spider-man and Power Rangers, alongside official WWE wrestling outfits.

BGF, the UK’s most active investor in growing companies, bought a minority stake in AFG Media for £4.2m in 2012 to accelerate the company’s expansion.

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Fun Shack, which designs, makes and sells a range of costumes through Amazon and other online retailers, as well as through a network of over 200 shops, is based in Leeds.

Mr Smeaton added: “Fun Shack has been on our radar for the past couple of years thanks to its range of good-quality costumes. They make outfits that are classics – they never go out of style.

“We believe its ranges of historical, storybook and many other classic costume designs will appeal to an overseas audience just as much as they have done to customers here in the UK.

“We already have the sales channels in place to take this business to the next level and we’re looking forward to integrating its products into our range.”