Deep in the dark heart of a neighborhood in Reno you probably haven’t heard of, lives a little shop full of Strange Bikinis (2115 Dickerson Road) What becomes of West 2nd St., after some twists, turns and time travel, is Dickerson Road, a long lost side street that runs along the Truckee River. This area is full of excellent businesses that could almost all qualify for a “Reno As Fuck” Business of the Month. You may have seen some t-shirts rolling around poking fun at this, boldly asking with a rat cartoon “Where’s Dickerson Road?” Fear not, fellow travelers. There is a lot to be had here.
In 2012 Strange Bikinis Founder Ali Conway started a swimsuit company whose goal is to make women of all sizes look good in a swimsuit. “If you know anything about Strange Bikinis you know that I’m a huge advocate for value positiveness. Anything to make women and young girls feel great.” The Idea formed when Ali was attending UNR in 2005, and made a bikini for herself and took it to the lake. “I got a bajillion questions about it, and so I was like, maybe I have something here.” So she moved to Los Angeles and attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising before moving back to Reno with her husband.
“Right when i first moved here i didn’t know what the hell I was going to do” Conway said, She worked at Junkie Clothing for a while, but wasn’t feeling fulfilled there. Conway says the business really started to spark when her Mom told her about a new store in her hometown of Mesquite, NV that wanted to order some swimsuits from her. “And that basically just started it all.” Ali said.
The Strange Bikinis Showroom, Warehouse and Factory opened in 2016, and are all located in one building with a naturally funky feeling. Pink corrugated metal walls with a brick entryway, and an eccentric mix of desert, forest and beach themes. It’s clear there is some Los Angeles couture style mixed with that Nevada pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps attitude we all love and respect.
“Ever since I was a little kid I just dressed really unique”. Conway said about the name ‘Strange Bikinis’. “I got beat up in the 5th grade for wearing bell bottoms.” The swimsuit designs are definitely something you haven’t seen before. Strappy and undeniably sexy, a perfect fit for the Reno-ites who love them.
Conway is one of the many Super-entrepreneurs in Reno that make this city such a wonderful place to pursue a passion. She’s a one-woman shop with just one other person who helps out part time. “Because I’m in Reno it’s been a success. I don’t think Strange Bikinis would have happened, at least not as fast, if I was in LA” Conway said. “About 60% of my sales are from Reno.” Be sure to give this a visit, strangebikinis.com.
Written by Tyson Schroeder & Anthony Lee
Photos By Anthony Lee