Two of my very favorite days of the year as a dance studio owner are when I unveil the recital “Costume Preview Book” before our winter recital and our spring recital. Dancers and parents alike get so excited to see what costumes have been selected. Over the course of my studio ownership, I have improved my costume preview book from taping pictures that I cut out of the catalog to a piece of paper and hand-writing the class info on it (yikes, I did that), to producing a full color printed booklet branded with the theme and logo of the recital.
Students start asking when the costume preview book will be out pretty much the first day back to class. Kids want to get to the studio early to sit and flip through it. They never get tired of it. They will grab it from the front desk and look through it week after week. Moms love to see it too. And moms love to see their dancers get excited about what they are doing.
There are several other benefits that I have realized come with the costume preview book as well.
When the costume preview is published in conjunction with a special week of classes that allow students to try additional class styles for free, some students end up enrolling in additional classes because they love the costume.
Increases perceived value
I used to roll my costume preview book out later, but realized that parents feel much better about paying for something that they have seen. I now put the costume book out before costume fees are collected. Parents are happy to pay the costume fees after they see that their dancers are getting something awesome.
Makes your studio look top-notch
A beautifully designed and organized costume preview book, complete with your show logo on the front and a splash of your selected theme throughout, looks professional and makes your studio stand out.
Communicates important information
I include all of the information that each class needs regarding what tights and shoes to wear, how their hair and accessories will be worn, and any other costuming notes on the same page with each class’s costume.
Saves time answering questions
In addition to putting a hard copy book on the front desk, I put a link to the costume recital book on my studio website along with all other information about the coming recital. When questions arise my front desk staff can kindly remind parents and students that all of the details are at their fingertips on the website.
How to get around changes
Even before the great costume shortage of 2022, there’s always been a costume or 2 that was available when I picked it, and then turned out not to be when it was time to place the orders. That is just part of studio life. I include a large disclaimer page at the front and back of my costume preview book that all selections are pending availability. Whenever I have had to select a different costume, my studio families have been completely understanding. I must say that there have been many times when we all ended up liking the new selection even more than the original. I present the change in a positive light and my students and parents tend to follow my lead.
Consider creating a beautiful costume preview book for your studio families to enjoy for your next recital.
If you would like to up your costume reveal game, you can the Studio Planner Pro Costume Preview Book Template here. If you would like a stress free guide to planning 2 profitable recitals per year plus templates and tools to make it happen, read more here.