“From the very beginning, we bucked tradition. When the experts said that something was “always done” in a certain way, we’d do it our way, which was sometimes the very opposite.”– Paul Newman
The first time I ordered leotards for our gymnastics program, I Googled “design your own leotard.” A few companies popped up and I checked out their websites. I decided to use the company Go for the Gold Leotards. They offered affordable leotards, and they have a simple and streamlined design process.
For a startup gym, the leotards worked well. They are inexpensive for students and easy to order. However, as our program expanded, we realized we needed more variety. We wanted leotards for our boys’ classes and we also wanted to find some unique options for our team.
At our gym, the parents value giving their children freedom of choice and expression. Therefore, giving our students the option to customize the leotard style and shape helps drive our business model and philosophy. With that in mind, we started our search for a leotard company that would be “kid tested and parent approved.”
Finding a Boys’ Leotard Supplier
It was difficult finding a new leotard supplier who could deliver on everything we wanted. Most leotard companies only designed traditional gymnastics outfits that catered to the very traditional female gymnastic competition clothing.
We found a company in California called Arisbeth Leotards. Their girl leotards were pretty traditional, but, we loved their boy leotards. They are super comfy and feature adorable Batman and Spiderman designs that the kids loved. We ordered several sizes and styles from them. In the end, we discovered that their boy leotards actually fit very well as a unisex leotard for both girls and boys.
We liked the way Arisbeth Leotards streamlined different colors and patterns to cater to many tastes. They were a great leotard option for comfortable leotards. However, we still wanted to find a unique leotard for our team and older students that were both comfortable and feminine.
Finding Leotards for our Rec Team
Our fun Go for the Gold leotards worked really well for our younger students. The price point appealed to the parents and the bright, bold designs excited the students. The comfortable Arisbeth leotards worked great for our boys and as a unisex leotard for some of our tween girls. Now we just needed one more option: something affordable, comfortable and pretty for our recreational team students.
Our younger, newer students were excited about the shiny and fun leotards. However, our older students didn’t want shiny – they wanted to move comfortably and still look good.
Some of our adolescents and tween athletes also expressed discomfort with the traditional leotard cut. Especially as they started going through puberty, they wanted a little more coverage of their thighs. Back to the drawing board we went!
National Congress Trade Show
When my staff and I went to the 2018 USAG National Congress, one of our goals was to find and vet a new leotard supplier. We spoke to almost every company and took down the information of the few that were willing to try something new for us.
We began by asking for sample designs and price quotes from half a dozen companies. There were competition leotard companies that offered more customizable designs, but they did not customize the leotard cut, and cost more than what our recreation team’s parents would be willing to pay.
And then, we found Hamilton’s Theatrical Supply. Their company has been making dance leotards for over two decades and had found a way to make affordable, customizable and innovative leotards using breathable, sublimated fabrics. The price was right, and they were open to customizing both the cut of the fabric and the materials we used.
We worked with Tonya and her team at Hamilton’s Theatrical Supply over several months to design our perfect leotard and had a wonderful experience. They were patient and creative. Most importantly, our kids and their parents love the final results – leotards that were both comfortable and pretty!
When we first started searching for the right leotards for our program, we looked for a company that could meet all of our needs. In the end, we realized that we needed a combination of options to serve all of our customers.
We use the unique custom leotards from Hamilton’s Theatrical Supply for our team. At the same time, we still use Arisbeth Leotards for comfortable and creative unisex options. And for our younger students that want bold, shiny patterns we offer the affordable leotards from Go for the Gold.
Each option provides a unique experience and answers a different need. Together, we are able to satisfy the diverse needs of our athletes and parents. We hope this article helps you find the right leotard option for your company!
Keep your eyes out for our next article on “How to Design Custom Leotards that Buck Tradition.” Learn more about designing and creating a custom leotard that is unique to your program and promotes your gym brand.