Areli dresses the Oxy Girls

A Gladstone woman has cracked the intense fitness fashion market, with her bespoke bikinis dressing this year’s “Oxy Girls” – the contestants for the 2017 Cover Girl Competition issue of Oxygen magazine.

Rikki Lee Ibbotson is the designer behind Areli, a range of women’s and kids’ activewear, and luxe sportswear, but her real speciality is competition wear, tailor-made for competitors in bodybuilding and fitness competitions.

This is what got her the gig to dress the Oxy Girls: “A few years ago when I was first establishing myself and my brand, I approached several magazines in regards to providing activewear for their models.”

“When I saw that the 2017 Oxygen Magazine Cover Girl Competition had launched, I immediately contacted the Editors/Assistants to offer my services,” Rikki Lee said.

“They loved the vibe of my label and the bespoke outfits that I was capable of producing.”

She sent samples for them to photograph, and from there, custom made a variety of outfits for their Top 10 Finalists to wear at the exclusive cover media shoot for the issue, which will be coming out at the end of October.

Areli (pronounced R-L-I) the label will also be showcased in a product review in the same issue.

Rikki Lee combines Areli with parenting her three children, together with partner Joel. They are also co-owners of the two Australian Sports Nutrition (ASN) stores in Gladstone and Rockhampton.

Marketing in the tough “athleisure” wear can be tricky and getting opinion leaders to promote your products on social media is key: Rikki Lee’s home-grown Gladstone product had already been featured on the social media feeds of fitness/lifestyle bloggers Sophie Guidolin (356,000 followers) and Brittany Noonan (40,000 followers)

“From the beginning, it was in my mind to get into the wardrobe department of fitness publications,” she said.

“This is a career highlight, now that that’s done, I will have to think of another goal,” said Rikki Lee, in the achievement-oriented style that has seen her succeed in this ultra-competitive market.

Areli is only available on-line which enables Rikki Lee to work from her home studio and to have a wider reach: ‘I think having an online presence is the most convenient way because I have clients all over Australia. It’s more manageable,”

“You can reach a whole lot more people and my demographic is so wide,” she said.
Each of her ranges of athletic wear is limited edition, with only small amounts of each garment made: “I’ve had opportunities to stock it in gyms but I like to keep it exclusive. I thought if I could develop a brand where I can make limited amounts of a garment so people have something a little bit unique, a little bit special,” she said.

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