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  • 5 Pro Tips for Buying Your First Mascot Costume

    Shopping around for the perfect mascot costume can be a fun, often overwhelming experience. Not only do you want a mascot costume that’s made with quality, durable materials, but you’ll also want to ensure the mascot is authentic and fits your wants, needs, and desires in a costume.
    Tips to Know Before You Buy
    Below are five tips to keep in mind prior to starting your search for the perfect mascot costume.
    1. Knockoff costumes might violate intellectual property rights
    Most mascot or character costumes made or designed in the US have some level of copyright or licensing covering intellectual property rights. Using a knockoff costume could make you subject to direct or indirect legal action to protect those intellectual property rights, so make sure you’re shopping for a product that is ethically and legally constructed.
    2. It’s better to purchase directly from a licensed manufacturer
    Though you might find cheaper prices from using a generic mascot company, you should always purchase a costume directly from a licensed manufacturer or distributor. By doing this you can be sure that you are getting authentic merchandise and that you will receive the quality product you need. Furthermore, several mascot manufacturers include a warranty with their products that can help to further solidify your confidence in the product.
    3. You get what you pay for
    Most knockoff costumes are not made in the US and can have serious quality issues. Though the price tag may be higher for authentic costumes, you will ultimately save yourself money, time, and stress in the long run, and it keeps you from having to shop again in the near future.
    4. The display photo of knockoff costumes might not be accurate
    Companies selling knockoff costumes typically display a photo taken from the internet of the original manufacturer's or the distributor’s website. Despite what’s displayed in the photos, these imitation costumes don’t usually have the patterns or molds to recreate the costume. This reduces your chances of receiving anything that looks similar to the image on the website and is almost a guarantee that the quality of products is far inferior.
    5. Non-US companies likely won’t offer a warranty or exchange policy
    Dealing with companies outside the US eliminates the possibility of any warranty, nor does it guarantee that any return or exchange policy is actually unenforceable. This means you have no credible warranty, no way of securing a refund, and no reliable possibility that repairs can be made.
    What to Look For When Buying
    Now that you have an idea of what to expect during your search for the perfect mascot costume, these tips can give you a direction on what to look for so you can seal the deal on your ideal costume.
    A really low price is a warning flag
    Like most things, price is always your first clue. As the saying goes, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” and this couldn’t ring truer when it comes to buying a mascot. As a rule of thumb, most quality mascots prices start around $1,000. So if you’re looking at a mascot costume that’s under $600, chances are it’s most likely not made in the US, not made with quality products, and will not have a warranty.
    Verify the costume is made in the US
    If you find a costume that sparks your interest, be sure to check the website, to verify that it is made in the US. If you cannot find a clear answer, contact the business to inquire about their location.
    Verify that you are buying from the copyright owner or licensed distributor
    Look carefully at the site and product reviews and make sure you are buying your costume from either the legitimate, copyright owner or one of their licensed distributors.
    Verify licensing agreement
    Remember that not all mascot manufacturers have licensing agreements. Be sure to look for one that clearly verifies their agreements. This not only protects them but also protects you as well.
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Mascot Interviews
  • Houston Rockets "Clutch" Comes Through in a Pinch

    Robert Boudwin has been "Clutch" the mascot of the Houston Rockets for more than 20 years. And it's easy tell.
    "I love doing this," he said in a recent interview with Mascotinsider.com. "A lot of people diss being a mascot, but I consider it an important role. There probably aren't many kids out there who say 'I'd like to grow up to be a mascot, but for me it's the ultimate."
    Boudwin started as a mascot for his high school, eventually moving on in the same role for his college, the University of Delaware. Finally, as a senior in college, he tried out for a mascot role for the Houston Rockets, which he started more than 20 seasons ago, and hasn't looked back yet.
    It's a good thing that he enjoys it since there's almost never a Rockets even of any sort that Clutch doesn't make an appearance. He calls it more than a job, it's a calling. And that calling has taken him across the country and around the world many times, entertaining for practically every kind of group, from the homeless to military troops.
    Boudwin is so serious about his craft that he teaches the "art" of mascoting every year at a "boot camp" for potential mascots from schools across the country, even though he calls it a means of paying back. "I've had a lot of great mentors in my time, and that inspires me," he added. "A lot of people have helped me along the way, so I think I owe them. I guess you could call it 'paying forward.'"
    "I hate to make it sound like it's a religious thing, but in a way it is," he explained. "In fact, if you think about it, it has to be since it's not easy to put on a character's suit, walk out onto a basketball court, and try to be funny or otherwise get an keep the fans attention. You have to be devoted to it or it doesn't work."
    Needless to say, Clutch does it, to the tune of hundreds of appearances every year. It doesn't matter whether it's an event for the city, parties, and anything else, Boudwin says that nobody gets shortchanged when it comes to his work. "I consider it an important job since when I'm out there, wherever there might happen to be, I'm representing the Rockets, and I consider that an important responsiblity."
    Boudwin explained that he doesn't see how he feels as a mascot much differently than with others. "I think that most mascots feel the same way I do," he said. "A mascot has to go out there and there's a mutual dependence between him and the crowd, and the team also. When I can get the crowd going, it gets the team going also. Everybody feels it, and that's a great feeling for me too. When I can get that mutual excitement going, everybody wins, and I can say I did my job."
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