Things I Can't Live Without: Jalem Getz
BY Liz Welch
Why Jalem Getz, who founded the $30 million Web retailer BuyCostumes.com, wouldn't mind living like Magnum, P.I.
Jalem Getz, the 35-year-old CEO of BuyCostumes.com, put little thought into his Halloween costumes as a kid. Now he thinks about costumes all year long. His online costume shop in New Berlin, Wisconsin, actually started as a novelty necktie store. He added seasonal wares, like Christmas ornaments and Halloween costumes, to boost sales.
Eventually, Getz decided to focus on costumes and, in 1999, he moved the enterprise to the Web. Last year, the company sold $29.5 million worth of getups, from $2 mustaches to $750 mascot suits. Along with 70 full-timers, BuyCostumes.com employs 300 seasonal workers in autumn, when it earns half of its annual revenue.
In July, Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LINTA) announced plans to acquire BuyCostumes.com, a two-time Inc. 500 company, for an undisclosed sum. Getz will stay on as CEO. Still up in the air, however, is what he will wear this October 31.
American Express (NYSE:AXP) Centurion card, $2,500 annual fee
"You can get this only by invitation. The fee is outrageous but it gets you VIP access and a personal concierge."
Mountain Dew (NYSE:PEP), $3 for six cans
"Our website engineers drink it nonstop, and they got me hooked. It has a ton of caffeine. It is terrible for you I am sure, but I can't start my day without a frosty can of Mountain Dew."
MouseCart scooter, $795
"We have a fleet of 10. Our warehouse is 81,000 square feet. To walk the whole building would take me 15 minutes. With this, it takes three to five."
Darth Vader FX Lightsaber, $119
"I sell wacky costumes. My business is fun. The lightsaber is symbolic of that. It sits on my desk. I play with it while I'm on the phone or use it to terrorize my employees."
…and What I Covet
2006 Ferrari F430 Spider, $295,000
"I grew up watching Tom Selleck zip around Hawaii in his Ferrari in Magnum, P.I. Even though you're supposed to have a red one, I would get black."
Last updated: Oct 1, 2006
LIZ WELCH is a National Magazine Award-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times, Real Simple, Glamour, and Inc., among other publications. She is the co-author with her siblings of the recent book The Kids Are All Right, a highly regarded memoir of her childhood. @lizmwelch