Rose Costumes has been designing and renting out costumes to Dallas-Fort Worth theater companies, schools, and seasonal events for the last 44 years. And unless it raises a significant amount of money soon, it will be closing its doors forever.
Current owner Annemarie Aldrich started a GoFundMe on December 1, imploring the communities it has served over the past four decades to now help continue the "legacy of creativity, love, passion, and service" by raising $100,000.
In the fundraiser's description, Aldrich details how despite selling vintage clothing, costumes, makeup, and gift cards through its website, she has had to start paying the remaining employees from her own savings.
"They are my family, and I will always do what is best for them," she writes. "But my reserves have run out ... We are in the final hour. We are at the breaking point. If we do not receive help, our doors will close forever."
Rose Costumes was founded in 1976 on Denton's Fry Street by Judy Smith, originally operating as a resale and blue jeans-repair store called Secondhand Rose. It shared the same building as Jim's Diner, operated by Smith's husband.
Customers began asking Smith if they could rent the vintage clothing for Halloween and other costumed events, so she changed her business model to renting clothing as well as selling it. This also prompted her to lean into her passion for making costumes by hand. With that, the name was changed to Rose Costumes.
Aldrich joined the team in 2010, eventually buying the business in 2018. Under her leadership, the focus shifted primarily to theatrical costumes, with schools and local theaters becoming the main patrons.
Rose Costumes' show manager Kayly Nesser notes that in addition to working closely with schools and theaters that are local to the DFW area, "we provide costumes every year to schools from Amarillo to Houston. In 2018, we began to ship our costumes, so we have costumed tens of thousands of productions across the country, as well as Canada."
The company has costumed everything from dramas such as The Diary of Anne Frank and The Girl in the White Pinafore to family favorites such as Beauty and the Beast and Frozen. Last year's production of Seussical the Musical by Forney High School even won the Dallas Summer Musical High School Musical Theatre Award for Best Costumes.
Rose Costumes also collects children's Halloween costumes every year to donate to a local women's shelter, as well as donates costumes to a local assisted living center for adults with physical and mental disabilities for their annual prom.
"Our mission has always been to inspire creativity, passion, and confidence in every person who reaches out to us," says Nesser.
At the start of the pandemic, Rose Costumes launched Project Mask Makers to protect the police department, National Guard, nurses, letter carriers, and other essential and vulnerable members of the community. So far, it has donated more than 15,000 masks.
"They are some of the kindest individuals I've ever worked with," says Mikey Abrams, a former theater teacher at North Garland High School. "They are original and unique and they completely understand the needs for teachers in the arts. And they always put their clients first and help them come up with creative solutions, both artistically and financially."
As of December 7, the GoFundMe has raised more than $12,000.
"We are touched by the warmth and support we have received so far, and it gives us hope for the future," says Nesser. The GoFundMe echoes that sentiment: "This is our final leap of faith; we trust that the good we have given to the world will be given back to us in our darkest hour."