Bootlegging....not just for Moonshiners!

Ok, I need to talk about something. I knowI am going to make some people uncomfortable, maybe even a little mad. BUT it needs to be said.  Its about this topic of "bootlegging". First of all let me define. Bootlegging in the fitness industry is when a tanning person or makeup/hair person simply promote their services for a show, book a hotel room and serve clients out of their room. 

FOR CLIENTS - this sounds awesome! You get to go to a room, in usually the host hotel and most likely you are getting the service $25 (maybe even more) cheaper than the show promoted artist. 

FOR Makeup artists (or tanning company)- THIS IS OUR WORST NIGHTMARE!!!

Why? Well first off lets talk about the "history" of makeup artistry in the fitness world.  About 10 years ago (if not longer), there were a small group of artists in the industry who decided that makeup and hair shouldn't look REDICULOUS the way that women's BB had made it.  The makeup was entirely over dramatic and the hair looked like 1980 PROM hair. SO, these talented ladies decided to start offering their services to competitors to redefine the way women should look on stage.  I am "newer" in the industry only have been in it for about 7 years.  These women started connecting with promoters and started PAYING SPONSORSHIPS.  When I came into the scene I met with Marilyn the owner of Liquid Sun Rayz Tanning and she specifically told me that if I wanted to "play in this game" I needed to PLAY THE RIGHT WAY.  So I spent a LOT of my own money to pay the sponsorships and build relationships with the promoters. Pay my "dues" and get into the industry through a way of legitimacy and honor.

THIS IS WHERE YOU THE CLIENT COME IN.....When a makeup artist pays a sponsorship fee (or tanning company) WE are the ones PAYING FOR THE SHOW.  Yes, you pay an entry fee BUT with all that goes into a show there needs to be a LOT more money that gets put out to make the show happen.  Did you know convention centers can cost 10,000.00 or MORE to rent for a day? Do you really know how much money goes into the venue, hotel meeting rooms, paying judges, vendor set up, marketing, t shirts, fliers, bags...I could go on. LOTS of money it takes to promote and run a successful show.  WE PAY THE BILLS.  As a show sponsor, we are the ones that make the shows happen.   So when you decide to take the $25 discount you aren't "saving" $25, you are creating a loss from the people that support your show and essentially taking money out of our pockets. You are basically sending the message that although you enjoy competing in the show you aren't fully supporting the show by supporting us, the sponsors.

Why can't we control the bootleggers? Well especially for makeup artists we all know that you have to be ready really early so its super easy for makeup artists to post for FREE on Facebook, Instagram and other social media people early in the morning and check out of the hotel room by 9:00am.  Meanwhile, we the sponsors are booking people in our own room, then packing up and heading to the venue to accommodate more clients then hanging out at the show all day, then doing afternoon touch ups...working HARD FOR YOU all and supporting the show meanwhile makeup/hair style X is back at their Salon making MORE money or doing enjoying there day.


Now, I will admit sometimes WE DO Bootleg. HOWEVER if one were to bootleg there is a certain way to do it where you aren't completely stealing the clients of the sponsor.  MOST of the time are the show sponsor but some shows like the Arnold or some national shows we are not the sponsor and we still do them. MOSTLY because we have been working in the industry for years now, paying the sponsorship fees and gaining loyal clients who we still want to service for important opportunities for them to get their Pro Cards.  At these shows are aren't "stealing" the clients from the sponsor, we are servicing OUR current clients who have used us for shows we paid sponsorships to time and time again.  After all we DID sponsor 3 National shows last year and had full intention on paying the hefty fee to do so again this year until the promoter decided to go a different direction.

As a show sponsor, I KNOW that sometimes there are other makeup artists that "Bootleg" at certain shows. But a lot of the big named makeup artists that have worked in the industry a long time all network together.  We all communicate with each other and we let each other know that they are around. We have an understanding that they are going to be there but in a respectful way where they DO NOT PROMOTE their services to gain new clients, they are just serving their personal clients and this is ok.  We have also been able to use this network to send our clients when we can't be there, to bounce ideas off of, to plan as a whole how to support the industry, shows and each other in the best way possible so because of this relationship network we have established we show each other grace if one or another is going to serve their clients at "our" show. 

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT....that's the deal with bootlegging.  That's WHY its so important for you as the competitor to support the people who are supporting your sport, your show and who have committed our business to serve the industry...NOT just make some$ on the side in a sneaky way and slink off with money in their pockets.  So seriously consider the "discount" you are getting next time you decide to go with COMPANY X and get the discount they are offering. I UNDERSTAND how expensive this sport is. I used to be like "Why in the world is that company charging $100 for makeup" when I first started in the industry and was bootlegging out of my hotel room for a show or two only charging $50. I had NO IDEA the expenses that went into running an actual BUSINESS in this industry.  The cost of travel, the cost of sponsorships, meeting rooms, supplies, promotional materials, fliers, websites, online scheduling and then on top of it, splitting the fee 60% to the actual artist doing the work. ON MY GOODNESS I never imagined.  As a competitor, I COMPETELY understand cutting costs where you need to or can. However, you have trained LONG AND HARD to get to the point of waling on stage, so the time to cut costs shouldn't be on going with a discounted bootlegger for tanning or makeup. Here are a few areas you can cut costs in competing without sacrificing the business to the show sponsors.....

1. Parking - there are usually alternatives to parking at a show other than the garage at the venue that will save you at least $5 or $10

2. Booking Hotel Early - Booking hotel on a website like or will allow you to book early at a reasonable rate and cancel if need be before a fee is due.

3. Don't book at the host hotel - Sometimes the host is more expensive if you have missed the cut off date of the hotel block, so research what other hotels are in the area

4. Shoes - Out of your "attire" shoes are the LEAST important part, look online to find an alternative shoe source than a pageant or stripper store.  You can even get used ones online that would be just fine. 

5. Food Service vs Eating Out - There are a lot of great meal prep companies these days that can prepare you foods and deliver it in a foam cooler with cooling packs. This can be WAY more inexpensive than eating the "specially prepared meal" at the host hotel or room service

6. Jewelry - You can find some GREAT deals online or at FOREVER 21 believe it or not. So before you pay an outrageous amount on your bling check out some alternative sources!

There are 6 ways to SAVE money to compensate spending a little extra on supporting the show sponsors. 

HOPE TO SEE YOU at your next show, I PROMISE you won't be disappointed!