Spring Newsletter – USITT !

USITT 2014 – Fort Worth, TX – March 26th – 29th   USITT is this week !! Stop by Booth 1540 to try the desktop and online database applications and pick up sample custom printed tags for costumes and labels for props, lighting and other equipment. New this year we will have samples of a heat-tolerant label. We also have a small model of the “Stage-In-A-Box” set-design tool.

 10% off coupon – just for stopping by

$25 off coupon for trying either database application

 April Keith, of Sam Houston State University, and I will be giving a presentation on Wednesday, March 26th on “The Advantages of Creating a Costume/Prop Inventory”, It will be in Room 200 (near the Ballroom) at 2:30pm. The presentation will include a hands-on session photographing costumes, applying tags, and entering data.

If you are in the Fort Worth / Dallas area and just want to visit the Stage Expo – click here  and enter my Code: CI1540 to get a free pass for all 3 days to the Stage Expo.   Contact me if you have any questions.

Friday morning I will be doing a demo at 10:00 am during the PowerHour session.  Stop by the booth on Thursday for an invitation or register with the link above for the free Expo Pass and get an invitation automatically. (The PowerHour is an invitation-only time 1 hour before the Expo Opens).

All the handouts that I will be giving out during the presentation and the Powerhour will be on my website on the USITT page for you to download.

I hope you will stop by the booth or attend one of the presentations.

The Costume Inventory Database – Standard has been updated and renamed to the Costume Inventory Database – Standard/Rental.  The database has been updated and streamlined for use by costume houses that want to rent individual costume pieces – rather than ensembles.  It still includes the Props module for adding Props/Sets records, doing searches and rentals.

New Inventory Tag Printer !

I have upgraded my Inventory Tag printer for Iron-on tags which will allow me to print higher quality graphics and barcodes.  If you would like to see a sample, please let me know.

EdTA – Educational Theatre Association National Conference “Theatre at the Core” is in July this year.  I will be in Cincinnati on July 24th – 26th.

Costume Inventory Resources will be closed  the following dates:

Tuesday – Friday, March 25th – 28th – USITT Conference.  I will be available by EMail.  I will try to return calls as I am able.

Thanks !

Margaret

Online Costume Inventory Database !!

Online Costume Inventory Database project !!!  Finally !

After working for over a year trying many different approaches to creating an online / internet available application we have a working sample.  The Online Costume Inventory Database is created in a web database application generator from Zoho.com.  This is a work-in-progress so many features from the desktop version of the Costume Inventory Database are not included in the Online version yet.  The sample Online version is linked to my website but customers who purchase the application will embed a link in their own website to the Zoho.com site where their application will reside.  Each customer will have their own copy of the application in their own account on Zoho.

The Online Costume Inventory Database includes these features:

1)  Online access from any computer (PC or Mac), smartphone or tablet (note some smartphones will not display the entire screen as the webpages are rather wide).  No additional software is needed.

2)  Add, edit, copy, delete Costume Piece records with photos.

3)  Photos can be linked to database from DropBox.com.

4)  Search for costume records on any field and print results.

5)  Costume Rentals – this module needs a lot of work but we have the basic parts of the Rental transaction working.

6)  Reports of All Costumes, Costumes by Costume Type, Costumes by Storage Location, Costumes that Need Repair.

7) Utilities – you can update any of the lookup tables to customize your database.

A brief User Guide is available from the website for you to download as well as a Resource Guide which outlines the differences between the Desktop and Online versions.  Click here to take look. 

Also – if you are interested in the Online Costume Inventory Database – please take the online survey here.  It will help me keep in touch with everyone who is interested in putting their data on the web!

 

Thanks !

 

Inventory Databases updated to Version 4-0

The Costume Inventory Database (Pro and Elite), the Properties Inventory Database (Pro and Elite), the Scripts Inventory Database and the Sound/Media Equipment Inventory Database have all been updated to version 4-0.

The main improvements to the Costume and Props Inventory Databases are:

  • All have been upgraded to dbPix 3-0 – the latest version of the image processing software.  The advantages of DBPix 3-0 is that in the Elite version long reports with lots of photos will print better.  Also a toolbar appears above the photo image field that can be used in the Professional (not Elite) to load or copy a photo.  The Elite version shows the toolbar but it will not save the link to the photos.  For the Elite version you need to use the “Load Image” button like before.
  • New search features for costumes and props – You can search for costumes and Props by the date the item was entered in the database.  This is good to track how many costumes were entered on a work day or to find something you remember entering but can’t seem to find it.  Also the Search screen allows you to search with or without the Production information showing.  If an item is linked to more than one Production then the record would show up once for each Production causing some confusion.  If you want to include the Production name (and role) you can but if you want to display the records only once then you can exclude that field.
  • New Discard fields and reports to track costumes and props that are removed from the collection.  The Discard field has been expanded to include Date of Discard, Discard Reason, Value at the time of Discard.  A new report is available to print all items discarded during a selected time period.
  • The Checkout/Rental screens have had a slight re-design.  The forms to view/edit the Individuals and Organizations who rent costumes and props are on their own tab.
  • New fields for the Checkout and Rental which include Time due back, taxes, late fees and damage fees.  The Payment Info tab now has a full accounting of all fees to make it easier to see how the Balance Due is calculated.
  • New summary reports for Check-outs and Rentals which list the customers who still have items check-out and those customers with a Balance Due.
  • The Lighting Inventory Database will be updated in February.

Contact me if you have any questions or would like to upgrade to the latest version.

Costume Inventory Database Pro/Elite 3-11 Available

The latest version – 3-11 – of the Costume Inventory Database – Professional and Elite is now available for download from the website (www.costumeinventory.com).

The new features in this version are:

1)  There are new ‘GoTo’ buttons on the Costume Pieces, Ensembles, Props screens. The screens have a “First” and “Last” buttons to move to the first and last records in the collection.  If the records are sorted by “Name” – the “Last” button will take you to the last record in alphabetical order.  If the records are sorted by “ID”, it will take you to the highest number.

2)  The Copy feature on the Costume Pieces and Props form will now check the number of copies you are making.  If you enter 50 or more for the number of copies it will stop you and ask if you really want to make that many copies.  If you say “Yes”, you will get the requested number of copies.  If you say “No” because you really didn’t want to make that many copies it will take you back to the “Copy” form to let you enter a different number.  If you do make too many copies you can delete the extras but it can take a lot of time.

3)  The forms and reports for the Check-out / Rentals screens have be modified so that the fields and the layout are more similar.  I realized that there was enough difference between the two screens that it was a bit confusing.  I hope the screens will be easier to work with now.  There are a few new reports as well.

4)  New fields have been added to the Check-out / Rentals screens.  You can now calculate sales tax (if you enter the Sales Tax % on the Company Info screen).  The new fields are:

  • Sales Tax
  • Late Fee
  • Cleaning or Damage Fee
  • Return Due Time
  • an “On Approval” check box
  • Shop Staff (to enter the name of the person checking out the costumes).

5)  On the Check-out / Rental screen there is also a new tab to show all the fees and calculations for the Balance Due.

6)  The Checkout/Rental receipts now have the new fields plus a footer which allows you to write a “Rental Agreement” phrase and have a place for the customer to sign the receipt.  You can update the text in the Rental Agreement from the Utilities menu.  If you wish to not have any Rental Agreement text at the bottom of the receipts – just delete the text from the “Rental Agreement” form.

7)  The Props module has been renamed to be Props / Scenery.  The forms and reports have been modified slightly to allow you to enter data and print report for flats and drops.

8)  There were some other minor bug fixes and form enhancements.

The Costume Inventory Database – Inventory Owner, the Properties Inventory Databases and the Costume Inventory Database – Standard will be updated soon to bring in these enhancements.  The User Guide will be updated in a few weeks.

As always, if you have any questions about updating to the new version or concerns – please give me a call or email.

Thanks,

Margaret

855-468-8247 – margaret@costumeinventory.com

 

Costume Inventory Resources’ Customers are all over the world !

CustomerMap11-2013Ok – not quite all over the world but we now have customers in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, France, and Switzerland. 

Click here to see where the databases are used.

Click here to see where all our customers are – whether they have databases, tags, rack dividers or tutu coats!.

Stage-In-A-Box – Great idea for teaching set design

While I was at the AATE conference last month I got to see a new product called  “Stage-In-A-Box”.  It is a box with a scale-model stage and performance area designed to help teach students about theatre set design.

I met the designers, Richard Catmore and Keith Hudson who are from Lancashire, UK, at the conference.   Richard developed this fantastic idea after years of teaching theatre and trying to help students visualize what the stage might look like in different configurations. To quote their site: “Our product is a robust metal box which transforms into a stage area. It contains scale model rostra blocks, ramps, steps, cylinders, ‘flats’, a lighting gantry with working lights, and posable ‘actors’. All the 68 components are magnetic so that they can be readily and securely fixed into place.”

Stage in action

To read more and see photos and videos of the stage please visit their website; http://www.theatreinabox.co.uk/index.html

The Stage-In-A-Box is available from Richard and Keith in the UK for $456 plus $88 for shipping to the USA.

Contact me or Richard and Keith if you have any questions.

Margaret@costumeinventory.com

Richard & Keith (sales@theatreinabox.co.uk)

Summer Newsletter

Summer is here and we are looking forward to the fall.  There are many new things to announce:

  • AATE Conference – July 25th – 27th
  • New version of the Costume Inventory Database
  • New Databases – Equipment and Scripts
  • MS Access 2013
  • Office 64 bit news
  • Results of the Tag Durability test
  • Worksheet for Inventory Project Planning
  • Accessory/Jewelry Cards

AATE Conference – July 25th – 27th

I will be attending the AATE (American Alliance for Theatre & Education) conference in Bethesda, MD.  I will have a booth there and will be providing demonstrations of all the Inventory Databases.  Please stop by if you will be attending.

My next conference will be the EdTA (Educational Theatre Association) conference in late September in Minneapolis, MN.

The Costume & Theatre Inventory Resources office will be closed July 23rd – 27th and Sept 25th – 28th.  I will be checking email and voice mail while I am gone but will not be filling orders.

New version of the Costume Inventory Database

The latest version of the Costume Inventory Database – Professional and Elite is 3-6.  If you would like to update your current version to the new one – please let me know so we can discuss importing your data.  There are several new features (since 3-5) including:

  • Accessory/Jewelry Card (see below)
  • Scripts module (see below)
  • Search by Special Effects
  • Search by selected Costume /Prop ID numbers
  • Storage Location sorting issue resolved.  (Versions 3-3 -> 3-5 had a sorting issue when Storage Location names had numbers embedded between text (i.e. Box 1 (Boys shirts) ).   I have removed the sorting code so it should resolved any issues. Some Storage Location records will not sort as you might want them to but you will not receive any errors.

New features since 3-3:

  • Update Utility to Update/modify the Storage and Current Location data for selected Costumes and Props
  • New Search Results Summary report
  • New report to view Costume Pieces by the number of times it has been used in a Production or Checked Out / Rented

New Databases – Equipment and Scripts

New Media/Sound Equipment database - We are beta testing a new database to track your media or sound equipment.  One of the great features of this database is that you can decide what type of equipment you are cataloging and change the database title.  Like the other Inventory Database – you create an equipment record, enter descriptive data (and a photo is you want).  The features include Searching for Equipment, Reports (based on several different selections) and Checking out data.  If you would like to test the database please let me know so I can give you the link to download it.  A Quick Start Guide is available on the website:  http://costumeinventory.com/Quick_Start_Guides.html .

Scripts database – The Scripts database made it’s debut at USITT in March.  This database allows you to track scripts and score, check them out to students and staff, and run reports of who has not returned their copy.  The Scripts database is available as a module in the Costume Inventory Database – Professional & Elite and as a stand-alone database.  The stand-alone version is not in the webstore yet but you can download a 30-day free trial from the website.   A Quick Start Guide is available on the website:  http://costumeinventory.com/Quick_Start_Guides.html .

MS Access 2013

Office / MS Access 2013 has arrived and we have tested the Inventory Databases with this new version.  The database works just fine but the colors are a little different.  Office 2013 has very specific colors (Red for Access, Blue for Word, Green for Excel, etc) so you may notice that the top of some tabs will be red – when they weren’t before.  So far it seems that there is very little that can be changed with the colors but I am hopeful that in the next Service Release we will have a little more flexibility.  If you have any issues to report in Access 2013 – please let us know.

Office 64 bit news

We are in the process of testing the Costume Inventory Database Pro on Office 2010 64 bit.  There is always some confusion on the 64 bit question.  Windows 7 (except for the Home version) and 8 is a 64 bit operating system but you do not need to have the Office as a 64 version.  The 32 bit version of Office /MS Access is designed to work in the 64 bit Windows environment.  Office 2010 can be installed as a 32 bit version (the most common) or the 64 bit.  The 64 bit version is usually installed for organizations who need really huge spreadsheets or projects but very few desktop users need that version.  The coding in the Costume Inventory Database needs to be changed to work on the 64 bit version and the image processing software, dbPix, needs to be upgraded.  If you are interested in testing the Professional version in the 64 bit Office environment, please let me know.  Note:  The Elite version is not ready for testing yet but we hope it will be soon.

Results of the Tag Durability test

I have been performing a lengthy test of the durability of the sew-in and iron-on inventory tags.  Last year I started using a new extra durable ribbon for printing the tags.  I sewed / ironed on tags on a large piece of cotton and subjected it to 20 washings (cold water, household washer, on Towels/Cotton setting with other towels or heavy items) plus the following treatments:  Acid/Salt – to mimic sweat, Bleach, Hairspray, Abrasion, Masking Tape and a Steam Iron.  The results you can see below.  The Sew-in material – which is a heavy nylon performed the best showing no loss of image.  The Iron-on material held up well through 18 washings but started to show a little deterioration at of the surface coating at 20 washings.  The image is still clearly readable and can be scanned with the barcode reader.  The tags that were subjected to the most abrasion suffered the most.  Note:  I have also run a test of tags inside a shirt for more than 20 washings and when it is protected from rubbing against other items there has been no loss of the surface – see small picture below.  If you would like a more detailed report of the test, please let me know.

What does that mean for your tags?  If you plan on washing your items quite a lot and they are subject to a lot of abrasion – I would recommend the sew-in material. If your costumes are cleaned a little more gently then the iron-on tags will last for many, many washes and wears.

Durability Test - Sew-In TagsDurability Test - Iron-on TagsSample of 2 tags washed more than 20 times

Worksheet for Inventory Project Planning

If you are planning to start inventorying your collection of costumes, props, lighting/media/sound equipment or patterns and are not sure where to start there is a new Resource Guide - Inventory Project Planning Guide  plus a worksheet in Excel that you can download from the website http://costumeinventory.com/Resource_Guides.html .  Using the Excel worksheet you can start the planning and budget process to get your inventory project off the ground.   Please let us know if you have any questions about starting up an inventory project – we are here to help.

Inventory Project Plan diagram
Accessory/Jewelry Cards

We have a new report available in the Costume Inventory Database – Professional from the Search Results screen - Results on Business Cards.  This report is designed to print a photo of the selected Costume or Prop, name and description and storage location on a standard business card (10 to a sheet).  These are especially helpful for small bags of jewelry and accessories..  You can print the card, tape it to a bag so that you know which piece of jewelry goes with the costume/prop inventory tag that was removed for use in a production.  Available in version 3.6.
Accessory Card for Bolo Tie

Thanks again for your interest in Costume & Theatre Inventory Resources.  Please contact us at margaret@costumeinventory.com if you have any questions.  We are here to help !

Margaret

Costume & Theatre Inventory Resources 

www.CostumeInventory.com

Call toll free (US and Canada) 1-855-468-8247
Hours: M – F, 9am – 4 pm Pacific Time

New Features in the Costume Inventory Database – Pro & Elite

There are always new features being added to the Costume Inventory Database – Pro & Elite.  Here is a quick summary.  The User Guide is almost updated with the new screens and features.  Check the User Guides section of the Support page on the website http://costumeinventory.com/User_Guides.html to download a copy soon.

Version 3-6:

New utilities to Update the Storage Location and Current Location data for a selected group of Costume or Props records.  You may select the group to update based on their Tag ID or a word in the Name or Description.  Such as you can search for “Nutcracker” and set the Storage Location to a new location off the list.

New Search Results Reports – There are 2 new reports for Costumes and Props: The Business Card and Summary.  The Business Card report is designed for small accessories and Jewelry that may have a string tag attached and are stored in a small plastic bag.  The Business card can be printed from the Search Results screen and has the item ID#, Name, Description, photo, and storage location.  The card can be taped to the storage bag so you will be able to recognize the item and reunite it with the storage bag and ID tag.

The Search Results Summary report is a report that groups like items together and displays a count of the items.  If you have searched for “black leotard” and you have a total of 132 but you really have 6 different types with 20 or more matching leotards (all with the same name) the report will group them together and display 6 records and count each group.

Storage Location sorting modified.  The Storage Location sorting code I used in version 3-5 did not always work for some record sets.  In some cases it would crash the database (Ouch !).  The storage location sorting code has be removed so it will have a simple alphabetical sort.  It may not sort numbers as you expect.

Updates in version 3-5

Screen Design:  The forms/screens have been redesigned to a 1366 x 768 resolution.  This matches the resolution of many of the newer screens.

Catalog Reports:  From the Search Results screen you can print a Catalog report of the items you found in the search.  The Catalog is better than a simple results with the photos because it contains more data fields than the simpler report plus it has a title page and an index.  It is designed to be printed or to be turned into a pdf file which can be emailed or placed on the website.

Storage Location – now 2 fields:  The Storage Location field is now 2 fields for both Costumes and Props:  Location and Detail.  So if you have 2 main areas for storage (Costumes Main, Attic) you can now have “Costumes Main” be the location and have many specific areas listed in the Details field (i.e. Rack 1, Box 12, etc).

Box Reports:  The Costume and Props Box reports allow you to print a 4″ x 6″ card or 8 1/2″ x 11″ page with the contents of a selected Storage Location with a list of the items at the location and a photo.  The Box Reports now include the option for a summary so if a box contains 30 Camo jackets you can have a single line listing the Camo Jackets with a count of the number of items in the box.

International Currency settings.  The database are now designed to use the Currency settings of your computer ($, Euro, etc.)

Data Audits and Statistics:  The Utilities Menu has new Data Audits – to help you find records with incorrect values.  The Data Statistics feature will tell you how many records and photos are in the tables of the database.

Check back here in the future for more updates to all the databases.  Thanks !

Scripts Database

A new database has been added to the Costume & Theatre Inventory Database family.  For universities and schools who loan out scripts or scores to students/faculty members you can now set up a Scripts record and check-out / check-in the scripts.

The features include:

Create a Scripts record – with script name, script type, author/composer, cost, replacement cost, etc.  You can enter the number of scripts in the collection.

Create a record for each student/staff/faculty member so they can check out scripts.

Create a checkout record for each script.

Print reports on list of scripts, list of scripts checked out, list of scripts over due and more.

The Scripts database is available as part of the Costume Inventory Database and as a stand-alone database ($30)

Costume Inventory Database – Version 3-6

The Costume Inventory Databases – Professional and Elite have been updated to version 3-6.  The new features include:

1)  Small Business Card report for printing information on jewelry or small accessories to be stored in the bag with the item.

2)  New Update options to update the Storage Location field (Main and Details) for a group of costumes and props all at once.  You may select a group of costumes by Tag ID or select by a key word in the name or description, select the new Storage Location and update.

3)  The sorting for Storage Locations has been simplified.  I created a complex sorting function that I thought would sort all text and number entries for the Storage Location but a few customers still had problems with the Storage Location form and lookups.  So I removed the complex sorts and put back a simple alphanumeric sort.  If you have Location or Detail – Box 1, Box 2,  Box 3 – it will sort beautifully.  But once you get to Box 10 and 11 then it sorts:  Box 1, Box 10, Box 11, Box 2, Box 3, etc.  I will continue to work on this.

4)  The Scripts module has been added to the database a month ago but not many people have noticed it.  It is designed to allow you to check out scripts and scores to students or faculty members.

5)  Option to install the database without the barcode font:  In some installations of Windows 7 or 8 the barcode font (FREE3Of9.ttf) will not install during the program installation.  I have not been able to figure out why it stalls on some machines and not others – but it does.  Now there is an option to download the database program without the barcode font.  See the Download screen – look for the link to the “No Font”.  If you want to install the font to print the Rental Receipts – contact me and I will send the free font file to you to manually install.

More updates are on the way this fall.  I am working on a version of the database that will work on MS Office 64 bit.  I am almost ready to release it.  If you have Office 64 bit and would like to test it – let me know.

 

 

 

Price Increases

As of March 4th I will be increasing prices of the Inventory Databases a bit.  The Costume Inventory Database – Pro/Elite will be priced at $300.  The Costume Inventory Database – Standard will be $225.  The Props Inventory Database – Pro/Elite is now $100.  The Lighting Inventory Database is $125.  The Pattern Inventory Database is $30.

Shipping for Tags and Labels is still free for orders of $50 or more.  Orders under $50 will be charged $5.50 for Priority Mail.  Orders for Rack Dividers, Adhesive Business Card Holders, Tutu Hangers and Tutu Coat Kits will still have free shipping.

I appreciate your business and realize that everyone is on a strict budget these days.  I felt I needed to increase my prices to cover my costs.

Any quotes sent to you in the last 6 months will be honored at the quote price. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks,

Margaret