Kate Maloney

Kate Maloney's grasp of an opportunity and her determination to make it a success built her business, Costume Craze, into one of the world's largest online retailers.

Maloney's challenge, now that her costume business is established, is using that entrepreneurial spirit to keep the business stable and thriving.

In 2001, Matthew Maloney, Kate Maloney's brother, had developed Static Advantage, search engine optimization technology that he was eager to test. As a test site, he started Matthew's Robes, a website that sold, of all things, monks' robes.

Matthew Maloney brought in Kate Maloney, a recent BYU business school graduate, to run the robe business while he tested his "real" product.

But Kate Maloney realized the business could tap into a huge, year-round market for costumes. A name change, a massive expansion of product lines and a few years later, Lindon-based Costume Craze is dominant in its field.

Costume Craze was among the first, but the online costume industry is now highly competitive. To stay ahead of the pack, Costume Craze continually updates both its product mix — this year, the company plans to introduce about 2,000 new products — and its business practices.

For example, the company has developed a proprietary technology that uses internal and external data, plugged into complex algorithms, to determine what products, and how many, the company should order. With a website offering more than 14,000 items, this process is a real advantage.

Costume Craze also operates a network of related websites to optimize search-engine hits. The company sells mascots as well as costumes and manufactures exclusive costume lines. The company scored a licensing agreement with Disney to sell exclusively the adult costume of Princess Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog," and similar agreements are in the works. And unlike many of its competitors, Costume Craze ships worldwide.

However, some things remain the same: Costume Craze continues to sell monk's robes. And it still uses patent-pending Static Advantage, the "real" product that started it all.