When to Order Your Competition Bikini
When should I order my competition bikini? I get asked this question ALL the time. There's no secret answer, and every designer may have a different response... but here's my two cents.
What do you want in a suit?
Are you wanting a completely custom/unique design? Looking for a fabric that is not listed on the designer's website? For me, these customizations usually turn into some of my favorite suits, but they also take TIME! The biggest time constraints are these:
- Swatches - After a request for swatches is made, I do my best to get them in the mail within a day or two. They usually take about 3-5 days to be delivered (sent snail mail.) If you're looking for swatches of something that is not in stock, this can take 1-2 weeks depending on where I need to source the fabric from.
- Custom Fabric - Ordering custom fabric is something I love to do. You get a unique suit, and I get a new fabric "in stock." That said, there are shipping times associated with this. It's usually at least 5-7 business days after we order the custom fabric for it to arrive.
- Crystal Work - The number of crystals you want is directly proportional to the hours it will take to get your suit done. Although I've busted out some pro level bling overnight for a desperate client in need... not ideal. :)
So taking that into account, when do you order? I recommend 6-8 weeks out from your competition. Do I have a ton of clients who don't call until 2-5 weeks? Absolutely, but this can sometimes mean sacrificing some of the options available. The 6-8 week timeline allows for plenty of back and forth on design choices, and sourcing materials. I'm all about NOT adding stress to your prep.
Here's a few more things to think about.
Don't request your suit early because "I want to start posing in it." This is one of the BIGGEST mistakes competitors make. What happens during prep? YOU LOSE WEIGHT! I will always account for weight loss when measuring and shipping a suit... but the further out from the show you are, the more risk there is in getting it right. To ensure the BEST fit possible, I recommend that I not ship your suit until about 2 weeks out. Ok, did you just freak out? Are you DYING to have that sparkly little piece of magic in your hands and on your newly toned body as soon as possible? There's options. I can send your suit early with the back of the suit not sewn down to the connectors... but instead just held in place with safety pins. You can then either 1) Mail it back to me and I will sew them down at the 1-2 weeks out mark OR 2) Take it to someone who can sew (most dry cleaning establishments have someone who does alterations) and have them sew them in.
Now let's talk posing. I POSE IN A REGULAR BIKINI! Yes, I said it. I am a suit designer with a mountain of competition suits in my closet and I do NOT practice posing in a comp suit... not even when meeting with my coach. Why? Competition suits are fragile, and a good posing coach will know what they're looking at without the suit. Does the right cut make a difference when you're on stage? Abso-freaking-lutely. But believe me, your physique is a MILLION times more important. Are you nervous that the cut isn't exactly what you (or your coach) are looking for? No problem. I can send you a bikini with a similar cut for $20 quick turnaround rental. This means you get the suit, check the look, and send it back. All this said, I will make/ship/fit your suit whenever your heart desires... this is just my recommendation :)
PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT. Nothing breaks my little suit designer heart more than watching an athlete carelessly toss a gorgeous suit into a gym bag completely unprotected. Not even a ziplock. *TEARS* You spent GOOD money on that, and your designer put in some serious time. Would you throw Gucci sunglasses in there the same way? Every AmandaLouise suit comes with a soft plastic zipper bag. These are great, but not ideal if you're going to pile other stuff on top of the suit (such as at the bottom of gym bags or in luggage.) If you know you're going to be carting your suit around a lot, I HIGHLY recommend investing in a CupCase. These things are pretty genius. The shell is a hard case, so it completely protects against anything you may toss against it. (Ok, not a truck, but you get it.) Not to mention they are super freakin' cute. I already snagged a Camo one for my next competition!
Longer Lead Time means MORE TIME TO PAY! Competition bikinis are expensive. Why? They are all custom made and take tons of time and attention to detail. I, like many competitors, am constantly on a budget. Buying a $500 bikini was just NOT in the cards when I also had to think about entrance fees, and what I was paying my coach, and everything else that goes into this crazy sport. So when I started this business, I promised myself I would create ways for my clients to afford the suit of their dreams. The first way is Payment Plans. It only takes a $100 deposit for me to start your suit. The rest is due before I ship the suit to you. Need extra time? I can extend the due date for up to 90 days... just request an Extended Payment Plan. Another helpful option is the Referral Rewards Program. Once you become a client (have your $100 deposit in), you can earn 5% of the price of any suit that is to a customer that you referred!! All they have to do is tell me that you referred them (I always ask) and you get that credit towards your suit in progress. Example: Your friend buys a $500 suit... you get 5%, or $25 towards your suit. Doesn't seem like much, but it adds up fast!
So there you go... my long winded way to say "Order your suit early!" Finding ways to keep stress OUT of your prep is so dang important (I feel another blog topic coming on) that there's no excuse to put extra pressure on yourself by waiting until the last minute for the major competition component.
As always, if you have ANY questions, reach out to me! And make sure to subscribe using the little form on the page. I send out exclusive discounts and early releases of new product. There's LOTS of new things coming to AmandaLouise before 2016 hits, so you won't want to miss out!