A story of digital transformation at Rubie’s Costume Company

A story of digital transformation at Rubie’s Costume Company

“Rubie's has been, and still is a family owned company,” reveals Greg Tsirulnik, Chief Information Officer. The three principles of the Beige family continue to be intimately involved in the day to day operations and the growth of the company.

“They’ve created an environment that allows the employees to be creative and come up with a variety of interesting and out of the box ideas, designs for the products, as well as ways to improve already an excellent customer service. It’s clear that they put their heart and soul into everything that they do. They don't just create a product for the sake of creating a product,” Tsirulnik states. “They take pride in what they do. It's not just about the bottom line but also about the customer.”

This sense of pride and family involvement is seen throughout Rubie’s, which today employs over 2,000 people worldwide. “What I find remarkable is that there are several generations working in the company. It is not uncommon to see an individual with the company for 25, 30 years, and their offspring continue the tradition working for the company in various areas of business. It's kind of cool and refreshing to see that type of love for the brand. Today there are several next-generation Beige family members that work in various departments: production, sourcing, sales, marketing and ecommerce. The company is still young and growing and it’s evident of the younger generation impact on its growth.”

Embracing ecommerce

Despite being nearly 70 years old, Rubie’s has moved with the times and embraced modern technology and industry trends to stay ahead of the competition. “I believe that the online industry is going to continue its growth. We'll have to adapt to that to stay competitive. The industry is taking its direction from the online consumer. We are seeing more and more sales by marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay which we are actively working with,” explains Tsirulnik. “Ecommerce shopping is becoming more of a standard.”

The popularity of online shopping has also changed the way that consumers purchase products from Rubie’s. “People usually try to order as far ahead as possible using the online sites,” Tsirulnik reveals. “The trend has been that in the retail stores – whether it’s the several of our flagship stores located in New York or the customer stores throughout the world – it seems that customers order online and go to the store when it’s much closer to Halloween time so they can see the product, touch the product and buy costumes when online stores can’t offer the shipping methods to get it in time.”

Enhancing its hardware is also key to keeping Rubie’s ahead of the competition. “We are working on advancing our business continuity planning as well as disaster recovery. A lot of solutions have already been implemented, but as you know technology's always evolving,” acknowledges Tsirulnik. “We're now looking to the cloud and outsourcing to partners like Microsoft to better enhance the solutions that are already in place.”

Partnering prowess

Rubie’s has already collaborated with some key software partners to more effectively manage the company’s operations. “One of the partners that we work with is NCG. We utilize their web PLM [Product Lifecycle Management] system. Through the partnership that we have developed, we use the system to create designs. It's an entire lifecycle, so from the concept to the actual design, to style adaptation, through different technical specifications, license approvals, timelines and more,” details Tsirulnik.

All that information is entered into the collaborative PLM system that is being utilized across all the Rubie's products – costumes, accessories, wigs, masks, hats – and across multiple brands as well. “The PLM system allows us to control the production approval process, designs, and standardize, as well as centralize, all that in one particular system,” comments Tsirulnik.

“The second partner that we utilize is Simparel. Simparel provides us with an enterprise resource planning system, an ERP.” Through that system, Rubie’s is able to control and track the entire sales, production, purchasing, and financial aspects of the business. Sales orders go into that system and production orders are placed against the demand or as part of replenishment, allowing orders to be tracked.

“We're able to see what state the sales orders are in, what the demand is, what the top sellers are, and then respond to those demands accordingly,” Tsirulnik remarks. “We're able to forecast and plan certain lines ahead of time and create the production orders against those and in a specific manner. It's an intelligent tool that allows us to run our business much more effectively.”

Exploring new territories

While much of the company’s business occurs in the run-up to 31 October, Rubie’s offers a vast selection of products that extends well beyond Halloween, helping people around the world celebrate holidays and special occasions from Easter to Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day to Christmas, New Year’s Eve to bachelorette parties and everything in between. As an exclusive license holder in the US, Rubie’s has many of the most popular collections within its portfolio, including Star Wars and Harry Potter.

But what does the future hold? “We will continue exploring new territories, partnering with different businesses and seeing which markets we can penetrate, creating different partnerships with a variety of different companies, and just accumulating in the industry. We're not going anywhere,” advises Tsirulnik. “We've been here for 66 years, and I don't really see us slowing down. Rubie's is Halloween, we are the trend and the pace setters.”