By Bianca Fortis
Lupe Jusino is something of a fairy godmother for Rego Park.
With seemingly just a swish and flick of a wand, Jusino has the ability to turn a child into a prince or princess.
Jusino, along with her husband Bill Robles, owns Sir Lance’s Lot, at 62-77 Woodhaven Blvd., which specializes in handmade costumes, formal wear and event clothing for children.
Jusino said many of the women in her family worked in the textile industry while she was growing up. She traveled to Colombia once a year and learned how to sew from her grandmother. As a child, she made clothing for her dolls. As a teenager, she would make her own clothing, she said. Sometimes she would employ the help of her brother, a commercial artist, to draw a sketch of an outfit she had designed in her mind. She would then make the outfit from scratch.
Both she and her husband had worked in the corporate world, she said. They decided to retire to run the business full-time.
The company was incorporated in 1986, the same year she gave birth to their son, Lance, the inspiration for the name of the business.
Jusino said what drives her passion for her work is the ability to use her knack for creativity.
“You can take a piece of fabric and create anything,” she said.
Jusino has served customers around the world, including some in Russia and Australia. Her Communion outfits are in high demand with customers in Ireland, she said.
First birthday outfits are also popular.
“Princesses, kings and princes abound,” she said.
Jusino said one of the best services she offers is custom designs for hard-to-fit children who need odd sizes.
“Sometimes the moms will cry when they see how pretty their daughter looks,” she said. “Before that, they couldn’t find an outfit that fit.”
Prices at the store range from off-the-rack costumes that start at about $40, while the most elaborate outfits might start at $750.
Her award-winning Halloween costumes are so popular that she begins taking orders in August and stops before Oct. 31.
The more unusual, kid-inspired costumes she has designed include a beluga whale, a cow-dog hybrid and a neon green alligator with a fuscia mouth.
“Kids always know exactly what they want,” Jusino said.
Parents sometimes take a little more time to work with, but if a customer cannot visualize what he or she wants, Jusino will sit with a sketch pad and design the outfit from scratch.
“They know what they want,” Jusino said about the parents. “They just sometimes don’t know it until they see it.”
Jusino and Robles said they pride themselves in the relationships they have established with their customers.
“The customer is everything,” Robles said. “Without them, you’ve got nothing.”
Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.