I started making custom suits back in 2008 and did my first rental in 2009. A very common question that we receive is “Why rent a suit? Allow me to share some of the key points about why we offer rentals and what to look for so you can decide if the rental option is for you. I added the rental option to tackle the two reoccurring hurdles of price and production time.
Price is self-explanatory and something just about every athlete encounters. Very early on I was flooded with gals doing multiple shows looking for ways to “cut cost”. Let’s be honest, athletes encounter a lot of cost paying for airline tickets, hotels, make-up, hair, suits, tanning, jewelry, shoes, registration fees, and even tickets for our family to come watch. UGHHHHHH! ! As an athlete I can totally relate and I feel your pain. In 2009 a gal emailed me and offered to pay a fraction of suit cost to “borrow” a premade suit to save money a little light bulb went off and my rental program began!
What about time? Well I don’t think there is one person out there that would appreciate a little more time. Whether you are looking to work a little longer or maybe sleep in a little longer the missing element is TIME. It’s common for competitors to add shows last minute or run into a suit emergency for a variety of reasons. I have heard simple things like a judge told me my color or cut wasn’t flattering, I lost my suit in with my luggage, or even the ole dog ate my suit. (yes that’s happened & more than once) Regardless of the reason athletes often need suits NOW and with stack of orders keeping me busy for 10-12 weeks I had no way to accommodate last minute request. That was the case until rentals were offered.
So that’s how rentals started. Now let’s go over what I’m asked and what you should be asking.
How much will I save renting? The best thing about renting is obviously the price! Some companies will list their rentals as ¼ of the suit price. My premade/rentals are discounted right off the bat regardless if they are a brand new premade or a previously worn suit. The previously worn suits will reflect a higher discount than the brand new ones but ALL premades are marked down. That means you can grace the stage in a high end suit that shines like Swarovski disco ball for 70% -80% off the custom price.
What about adding a second, third, or even more show? It’s not uncommon to miss something like a national qualification or pro card by one placing. In these scenarios competitors try to get back out there ASAP for another show for that second chance. However just because you are ready doesn’t mean your rental will be as many rental companies don’t have this option. With our suits each rental is for one show but you can add an extension to accommodate your next show. Each extension is 50% off the posted rental price and adds “up to” three weeks to your rental reservation. If your shows are more than 3 weeks apart multiple extensions may be necessary to cover the time between shows.
How long is the rental period? I’ve seen other rental companies sending out suits seven days prior to your show. Your suits should be sent out early enough that you can try on the suit to make sure it's a good fit however you also don't want the suit too early. Most girls aren't at show weight till a week or so before the show. Trying on a rental suit several weeks out can be quite the buzz kill! We schedule our rentals to ship out on Monday the week before your show and its due back to us on or before the Saturday after your show.
Can I get it earlier and what if its late?
We schedule rentals to ship out on Monday the week before you’re show. This typically gets them to you with about 10 days prior to your show depending on your location and shipping selections. Unfortunately early shipping is not an option with us. The suits are working inventory and often booked for those last minute reasons. If we ship suits out for fittings we miss those opportunities. We try to give every renter as much time as possible with the suit and strive to keep things consistent for all orders. Being late happens and those late returns can affect the next renter. For that reason we charge $25/day and while that may seem high we set that price for two reasons. First we look to discourage a late return and secondly we use those fees to cover overnight shipping cost that we occur when we need to get the rental off to the next renter ASAP. Overnight fees range from $60 the US up to $100-$150 for some international orders. I’m not unrealistic and understand courier delays are out of your control. In those sceneries we do take that into consideration.
If the suit is too big or too small how does the company fix the issue? As previously mentioned we ship them out early to give us time to address any unforeseen issues. Once we are notified of issues we work with you to find the best option within the same price point and express it out to you. We do require a tracking number for the return of the initial suit before another can be mailed out as we only allow one suit out at a time.
How does the company perform upkeep of their suit? Many companies ask that competitor return the rental suit back unwashed so they can make sure it is washed properly. However, this means that the sweat tan the body fluids etc all have time to settle into the fabric. Remember these suits are covering our most intimate areas so upkeep and cleaning is a top priority. We are concerned how the suit is cared for and want them to remain in brand new condition. We require all suits returned to us washed/cleaned and in the same condition it went out. We also take additional steps upon return to wash the suit a second time ourselves and clean /sanitized them. Another item of concern is the upkeep of the suit. There many rental companies that are not “designers” although they rent and sell many high end designer suits on their site. There are some companies that buy used suits off public sites to build their rental inventory and add stones them. They list them on their site and tag the designer with an increased price point under the assumption the designer mentioned did all of the work. Intricate designs require the same skilled hands to touch up the designs when rhinestones are lost or become loose. If you had a high end car would you allow anyone to work on your car vs a certified mechanic?
If you want to purchase the suit is that an option? Unfortunately with almost all the other rental companies out there, purchasing your rental suit and applying your rental monies to the purchase price is not an option. They make their money renting suits so selling them usually does not benefit them and is not an option. Many competitors use a rental suit to see if they want to do this more than once. If you rent a suit and you want to purchase the suit you can apply all of the rental monies to the purchase as long as its available and the balance is paid before the due date.
What if my suit is lost or damaged, who is charged and for how much? Thank goodness this doesn’t happen that often but it DOES happen. You need to find out who is responsible if anything happens to the suit? Since most of these rental companies are not the original manufacturers they are unable to make a replacement suit. If you are a pending renter and the suit you reserved is lost or damaged from the previous renter what will happen? If you have you suit listed on a site how do you get reimbursed if your suit is lost or damaged? Since we manufacture and maintain all our rental suits we have the ability to make a replacement quickly. Make sure your rental company discloses your options before you are left without suit! You can see all of my rentals on my website at the link below!