Jennifer Emm, 35, Street Characters Inc., Calgary, Alberta
By Interview by Matthew Boyle

(FORTUNE Magazine) – WE MAKE THE MASCOTS FOR FOOTBALL TEAMS like the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, and Denver Broncos. Last year we had both mascots in the Super Bowl. We also do a ton of pro hockey mascots, like Harvey the Hound for the Calgary Flames, and a bunch of local stuff. I don't know much about sports. I did technical theater in college, so anything I can do with my hands, I just love. From the time I get a drawing from the art department, it takes about a week to build a costume. We use faux fur, foam, Lycra for stretchiness, plus CoolMax mesh for breathability. It gets really hot in there. These are not Halloween costumes--they're as indestructible as we can make them. The costumes cost between $4,000 and $7,000, depending on the complexity of the character. One of the more bizarre ones I did years ago for a zoo was a character that was all different animals smushed together--a tiger body with wings and a lion snout with horns on it. I can't even explain what it was. Sports teams are really hard on the costumes. They come back really dirty and covered in lipstick. Kids in high school can be cruel, and they take their frustrations out on the mascot. They don't even think about how there's a person in there. It's just, "Let's get him!"