It’s the end of an era here at Bristol Novelty, as the company bids farewell to Chris and Kevin Bater – who have been at the helm since 1994.

Building on the success of their late father John Bater, the brothers have created a powerhouse in the fancy dress world, growing Bristol Novelty from a local novelty shop to a respected international brand.

In their time as joint MDs, the much admired and respected pair have survived a warehouse fire, the credit crunch and overseen several moves over the years, with Bristol Novelty finally finding its home in Universal House, Bristol with a team of over 40 staff.

Their tremendous work was recognised by global giants Rubie’s in 2014, who saw the vast potential of Bristol Novelty and welcomed them into the family business. The acquisition secured the future of the business as one of the industry’s leading wholesalers and has led to the continued evolution of the business.

As Chris and Kevin depart, Bristol Novelty has been placed in the experienced hands of Michael O’Connell, whose affiliation with Bristol dates back to 1980s. As chief operating officer, Mike has implemented a number of radical changes as the plan evolves to make Bristol Novelty fit for the future.

A fresh new management team will also be working on the exciting projects ahead, including business development manager Hannah Sparrow, product and buying manager Richard Wall and marketing manager Fran Hales – all bringing a wealth of talent, creative thinking, drive and ambition to the business.

“It’s going to be an emotional day for us all when Chris and Kevin leave at the end of June,” said Mike. “They are two great men and I certainly admire all they have achieved. I’d like to thank them for everything they have done for Bristol Novelty and the entire costume industry. I wish them the very best in their retirement, it is thoroughly deserved.”

Chris Isitt, Rubie’s EMEA vice-president also commented on the news, saying: “On behalf of everybody at Rubie’s, in the US as well as Europe, I’d like to congratulate Chris and Kevin on their achievements at Bristol Novelty and wish them all the best for the future.”