Many costume stores operate only during the Halloween season. San Jose’s Natasha’s Attic (www.natashasattic.com, 1238 S. Bascom Ave.) is a 40-year-old family run costume store that’s open year-round. The big well-stocked store offers endless costume ideas for adults and kids. One area of the store hosts a wig bar showcasing various hairstyles of all colors of the rainbow. Behind glass cases are ornately decorated Venetian masks. Whether one’s looking to dress themselves in a form-fitting corset, a mobster suit, a flapper dress or a pirate’s shirt or accessorize themselves with a Steampunk style watch, a bowler hat or a goth choker, Natasha’s Attic is here to help.
Katie Ramirez, store manager and niece of store owner Kathy Bell, explained that before Natasha’s Attic established itself at its current San Jose location, the store had a location in Saratoga. During the 1980s, Bell moved the store to her garage when she had children to care for and worked from home for a while.
“Kathy and her mother Dolores (Dolly) opened the store,” said Ramirez, revealing that there is no “Natasha.” “How the store started was that Kathy was working for another company and someone asked if she could rent her sister’s tutu because Kathy’s sister was a dancer. Kathy said, ‘This is a great idea. I can let someone borrow this tutu and make money off of it.’ And that’s how the store started. It started with a single tutu and we still have that tutu in stock for rent today.”
In addition to the merchandise offered on the sales floor, Natasha’s Attic also manages a rental department of over 50,000 items which include but are not limited to decades fashion, superhero gear, Disney costumes, and attire for masquerade balls, colonial dances, toga parties and renaissance fairs.
The store can also help with requests for costume alterations and customized costume designs.
“A lot of the costumes in the store are hand-made,” Ramirez said. “Kathy and Dolores go shopping a lot and check out what is in high-end stores for ideas. They would be inspired in their costume design by what they saw when going shopping.”
The store’s professional makeup artists can assist customers with makeup needs. Students, such as cast members of the Santa Clara Parks and Recreation Department’s Roberta Jones Junior Theatre, get discounts on makeup kits here.
“We’re really excited about this being our business’s 40th anniversary,” Ramirez said. “We have customers who have been with us since day one who still come to see us every year.”
When asked to share the secret behind running a successful business with family members, Ramirez replied, “We laugh a lot! Also because we are family, come thick or thin we are in it together.”