Before she could even drive a car Melissa Gee was already helping out with her mom’s bikini business. Melissa says it was in middle school that she learned how to use the cutter and started helping cut out bikini patterns for her mom. But it was just less than a year ago that Melissa decided to officially go into the bikini business with her mother Renee Schulz. Renee started her swimwear line 15 years ago in a little town south of Austin called McQueeney. With Melissa living in East Austin and Renee’s growing need for an actual retail space, they together decided to open up East Side Bikinis in Austin back in December. Melissa says she loves the East side and is happy to have a shop in that part of town. ”Everything you need is close and it’s growing and changing so much, I’m really excited to see what pops up next.”
Not only is East Side Bikins a retail space, but it is also a studio. The girls at East Side Bikinis are right there in the store cutting and sewing bikinis. Everything is customizable! Right up there with jeans, swimsuits are definitely one of the hardest and most annoying things that women can shop for due to fit. Being able to customize the fit and style of your swimsuit is a dream come true for any girl looking for a flattering swimsuit (i.e. all girls looking for a swimsuit.) Also, the ability to make a one-of-a-kind swimsuit is a big draw for anyone not wanting to look like everyone else at the pool. Whether it be a basic bikini with a custom handset nailhead pattern or a wild multi color one piece, Melissa says she loves working with customers on something that no one else will have.
Melissa custom made the swimsuits for our photo shoot after I showed her a few pictures and discussed the style we wanted. It was such a fun experience that I am definitely going to have to get her to make me a bikini for myself! Check out our photos from our photo shoot and keep reading to get more info about East Side Bikinis:
Art direction and styling: Joanna Wilkinson, assistant Tyler Neal
Photography: Patrick Meredith
Model: Holly Watson
Makeup: Avery Allen
Hair: Andrea Juarez
A basic size & style, custom fit bikini from East Side Bikinins starts at $59. You choose a front and back bottom size, a top style from their basic designs, and any fabric. If you have a photo or drawing of a suit you’d like them to create, custom designed work starts at $85. Their turn over time is around 2 weeks, but they do offer a rush option for an additional fee.
East Side Bikinis is located at 2502 Webberville Rd.
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