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How to become a sponsored athlete?

Competing is an expensive hobby, especially for female athletes. Expenses such a Make-up, hairstyling, manicure and of course the bikini can add up to over a thousand euros. No wonder a lot of athletes want to cut down on these expenses by looking for sponsors. Each year I get dozens of requests asking me if I am interested in sponsoring. Although I do sponsor athletes I don’t call it a sponsorship. My sponsored athletes are called ‘Muzes’ and the sponsorship is called ‘collaboration’. I am really picky on who I collaborate with and I have a certain way how I pick my muzes. I understand that it sounds really amazing to get a free bikini or other products, but brands use the collaboration as a way to make money, so instead of asking for a sponsorship, try to see it as a business proposal.

First time competing?

For me as a company owner it's not really interesting to spend money on an athlete who has not competed before. Not only do I know nothing of her stage performance, she probably doesn’t have a valuable network that I could benefit from. Being in this sport for almost 10 years and visiting big competitions myself, I have built muself a huge network of well known athletes, coaches, judges, makeup artists and other valuable people in this sport. As a debuting athlete you also don't know if competing is something you want or can continue to do, so as a brand I am taking quite some risks here.

TIP! Start a go fund me or something similar.

Ask friends and family to help you achieve your goals and dreams and start a crowdfunding. Maybe your gym wants to help you by giving you a free membership for a few months so you can use that saved money on your competition expenses. Ask your friends and family for a donation on your birthday. A few donations can easily result in a few hundred euros that will cover some of your expenses. Also when you ask a company like mine for a collaboration in the future you can tell them about your fundraising, which shows that you are willing to put effort in order to accomplish your goals.

"If you pay me, I’ll promote you".

Every week I get messages on Instagram or an email from athletes who I never spoke to before or who sometimes don't even follow me on Instagram. They introduce themselves briefly before asking me for a sponsorship or collaboration. Some even have the confidence to already list what bikinis they want and also ask for jewellery, shoes and other items. Why would I consider spending a lot of money on someone I don't know and who doesn't even know my products? I am sure you’ll tell your followers about my brand once I start sponsoring you, but that doesn’t give me any guarantee that I will actually sell extra bikinis.

Tip! Become a friend of the brand.

I have so many valuable clients that are true ambassadors for my brand. Returning customers that tag me in every relevant post, who recommend me to their teammates and who actively promote my business online and offline without asking anything in return. These clients sure don’t go unnoticed and they are top of mind when I go looking for new muzes. I want athletes that are genuinely fans of my products, who would choose my products even when they had to pay for it. So before I consider any of the emails of random strangers promising me they would tell everyone how amazing my brand is as long as I give them free stuff in return, I have a list I can pick from full of potential muzes who genuinely love my bikinis.

You are the showpiece of the brand.

I made this mistake too many times. I agreed on a collaboration with an athlete and then she wanted a bikini in a design we (or another brand) already sold a lot, or bikinis that really don't represent our brand’s creativity. If you pick a design that doesn't really stand out, it won’t have the ‘audience’ talking about it or getting curious about who made the design.

My investment as a brand stays the same, whether you pick out a best selling design or if we make you something unique. So me putting a lot of money in a design that is already out there numerous times or is even a direct copy of a design another brand made, isn't the smartest thing to do. The main thing that I get out of this collaboration is content and exposure. So I want to use it as an opportunity to show off our most beautiful work and display new designs. Understand that you are the mannequin on the runway promoting my work. I need bikinis that are conversation starters, designs that make other athletes want to save the photos as inspiration and to contact me to make them a show stopping bikini too!

What do you bring to the table?

A lot of athletes would like to get sponsored, because who doesn't want to get a free competition bikini, free jewellery and other items? Not to mention that telling everyone and their mother, that you are a sponsored athlete gives you quite the status. But what do you bring to the table? I had athletes who told me they would compete at least 3 times that season, they would compete at the European Championship and at least one Diamond cup, but ended up competing at one small local competition and ended their season there and then. Can you imagine that you invested hundreds or even over a thousand euros in someone thinking they would compete a whole season and you would get so much content and exposure from it, just to have them drop out of the whole scene and stop posting on social media. What a waste.

Although I have a relatively big budget I spent on marketing, I can only spend it once. So why would I spend it on you and not on targeted advertisements on social media? Who are you going to tell about my brand that I can’t reach myself? Athletes that have my interest are:

  • Athletes who give posing lessons.

  • Athletes that are in a big team of competitors and who attend team meetings/trainings.

  • Athletes that coach other female competitors.

  • Athletes whose social media is about competing (and not only in competition season), this way I know her followers are more likely to be interested in everything competition related and not 50% of her followers being friends, family and old classmates who have 0 potential to become a future client of mine.

I also expect good quality content of you wearing/using my products, e.g. high quality stage photo’s, videos, representative photos from you in your bikini off stage etc. In other words, content I can use for my own marketing.

Do you have what it takes?

I signed all my muzes for 2024 but I am already keeping an eye out who would be a potential muze for 2025 and even reached out to one athlete who I would love to collaborate with. So if you want to become one of my muzes, consider all the information I mentioned above. For 2025 I am interested in athletes competing within the following federations:

- NPC (amateur)

- IFBB (amateur)


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