by Alison Conway August 08, 2019

Let me catch up with you:
As you may have seen I have been traveling a lot this Summer. I think some time in the Spring I got bit hard by the travel bug. I have been home more this year since having a baby so I got a little trigger happy on the Southwest website and went crazy booking business events and things that I could technically write off, but still have a good time. I mean, that’s how I do everything nowadays, if it’s a write off, it’s yes.
I started the Summer down in San Diego. I flew in to the O.C. so I could scout a new factory. I think it’s part of the process of growing, always looking for ways to streamline or get a better product or price. I heard of a new factory through a friend and they made the introduction. If you didn’t know already, factories are very tight lipped and don’t just let any old stranger (ha) through the front door.
I was so excited to tour a new place and see what my options were for growth. I was equally excited when the factory manager called me “dude” just like what evs and seemed to be sups cas. *super casual*.
There are a lot of logistics to decide if I'm going to work with them, but overall it was great to see more options and have a plan B. As you might be aware, I have had some major meetings with some big name brands and if I land one of them, I will need to have complete faith in my factory. Fingers crossed for that!
While in San Diego I also got to catch up with all my best friends from Fashion School. This was a much needed weekend with my ladies and girls that have the same interests as me. I always feel fueled after a weekend like that, I think we all need to remember how it important these girls trips are... I encourage you to take one and find a way to write it off (Haha).
Next trip I planned was to Miami. Yes. Dreams achieved. I mean it. Miami has been on my dream or goal list since day one. I was pretty excited. I was a little confused with what I was doing there, but that was OK as I'm always over prepared and have no problem going with the flow. The opportunity presented itself and I said to myself, "Is this a write off? Because if it is it's a YES!"
So what did I do in Miami? Good question, I was asked to host a Pop-Up shop and was told that buyers (from boutiques) would be there shopping for immediate delivery. This is great because I have stock and can ship small orders out right away. Sadly, I think the company I booked this through did not so cool thing and didn’t have any buyers lined up, not even single suit purchases-like customer. So, I went to Miami and did what I do best. I TALKED TO STRANGERS. I tried to tell everyone and anyone about Strange Bikinis, because guess what guys…. Strange Bikinis didn’t look, feel or fit like any of the competition!
I was pretty disappointed to fly across the country to only have a little exposure and no sales, but I also look at everything as a lesson. I knew it wasn't going to be the Miami trip I had been dreaming of, but I did know it was a way to get there one day. A way to see where I fit in the future. I will be going back full-force with the right branding, set up, and hype team accompanying me. You Betcha I Will!
I also went to RISE Co
nference in Dallas, TX. I don’t want to spend a whole bunch of time talking about it because I went and I learned some stuff that will last, but it wasn't really my thing (I know... I'm sorry Rachel Hollis fanatics). I am pretty motivated and have always DREAMT BIG so a lot of what she spoke about didn’t move me like it does others. The best way I can describe it is…. I am a “Rachel Hollis” ya know? I’m hoping to discuss this in a blog post later, stay tuned!
For my last destination, I flew back across the country to our nation's capital to present in D.C. Swim Week. This was a straight up fashion show and I was pretty excited to be a part of a runway event since I barely get the chance to do them in Reno! It was nice too because all I had to do was show up.
Wrong. Next time someone asks me to “just show up” I know that isn’t going to work for me. I mean, it makes sense. I have a specific vision. I like things to look a certain way and what I do is very different from what anyone else in the swimwear community is doing.
I was worried the models wouldn't fit the size suits I had sent. I was worried that they would have intense makeup on (Strange Bikinis is more au-naturale), wear high heels, and not fit my branding at all. Pretty much all those things happened. I was pretty disappointed with the show itself and I didn’t think it represented my brand and felt like they didn’t get it either. I NO JOKE went back stage and half the girls had the swimsuits on backwards (laugh it up if you have ever put a Strange Bikini on backwards- it’s fine!) I was let down that the people styling the show didn’t pay attention to my style sheets and requests. Again, I try to learn something from every situation, so I don’t feel like it was a complete failure and I still had a good time!
This is me in the Hoosier suit
Lastly, I want to tell you about a few other designers I met, I truly liked them and their collections and I'm going to post that in a blog soon.
Thanks for reading and catching up with me, I always have intentions to write more blogs but time seems to always slip away before I can make them a priority! Now that Calvin takes bad ass big boy naps, I'm hoping I can use that time to write. Have a great August you guys. xx-Ali

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