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Shelby Stranger: A big part of being an active person in the outdoors is gear and what we wear. You don't have to have the newest pack or the most expensive boots to go on adventures, but it's kind of nice to have clothes that help you move to the best of your abilities. Clothes that breathe and support and function, and just look good. Today on the show, I'm talking to two women. Founders of apparel companies whose mission it is to make clothes that function and perform really well, and look good while keeping the environment in mind. When we hit the trails, the waves, the road, we feel great doing what we love.
This podcast is a little about their journey into creating their respective apparel companies, and why they're so passionate about creating clothes that not only let you move and look good, but can give you a mental edge and help you feel empowered. I'm Shelby Stanger, and this is Wild Ideas Worth Living.
Shelby: Sally Bergesen is the founder of Oiselle. It's a woman's running apparel company spelled O-I-S-E-L-L-E. Sally got into running in college and she found herself wanting higher-quality, more flattering clothes for her runs. She had a really deep background in design and branding, but then she got into the history of woman's apparel and how our relationship with clothes has evolved over the years.
I actually met Sally a speaker's series I was hosting in Hood River in Oregon a few years ago. She gave an incredible talk about the relationship we all, especially as women, have with clothing and how that relationship led her to create her own company. She talked specifically about this concept called enclothed cognition which she defines as the social and psychological science of understanding how apparel can give us a mental edge. Before you started this amazing company, what were you doing?
Sally: Gosh, I mean. I like to say I've just tried so many different things. I really dabbled in a bunch of different pursuits. Then I went and worked for a design agency and that's really where my creativity got woken up.
Shelby: While you're at one of your creative branding agencies, I heard you created a really well-known name for a woman's pill.
Sally: Yes, so while I was working at, as I mentioned, this first job that I absolutely loved, we did a lot of company and product naming. We would get hired to name who knows what. Whether it was a new shoe or a new internet company or what not. A project came along where we were asked to come up with a name for a new over-the-counter emergency contraception product that had yet to have a name. Ultimately, that became Plan B.
Shelby: That's a great name for that product.
Sally: I know, I know. You know what's interesting about naming is that it's a super challenging pursuit in part because so many names have already been trademarked. It's really difficult to own any words that you might want, that are available in the English language. The rest is history.
Shelby: You've done a lot of talks around women's clothing and the history of design in athletic apparel. Can you tell me more about that? I know you said we started naked, and you cited a lot of points in history where clothing either restricted us or helped propel us forward. I'd also love for you to tell us how you became so interested in this topic.
Sally: Yes, it's sort of become my life's work in a way. Not just clothing, but understanding that relationship between women and clothing. I think one thing I wanted to just say upfront is that, that relationship is really complicated.
Shelby: That should be the Facebook thing. If clothing and women had a Facebook page. It's complicated.
Sally: It's very complicated. Another caveat or disclaimer I like to make upfront is that, I think the most important thing for women and their relationship to clothing is to understand and embrace this notion of agency. Which is just that, whatever is in you and your desire for what you want to wear and what feels good to wear, is absolutely what you should wear. The talk that I gave around enclothed cognition was multi-level. One was a little bit around my professional background and being the CEO and a designer for women who want to wear athletic apparel. Not only to feel good, but for world-class athletes who want to win medals at the Olympics, who want to place at the top of their events in the world.
Then there was also my personal journey with clothing, and my own evolution as a women who wears clothes and how I discovered that I had this troubled relationship with shoes. Specifically, heels. In that, I don't think any woman who has spent any significant time wearing heels can tell you that they feel good. They just don't. [laughs]
Now, you might argue that they make you feel fantastic. Maybe you feel sexy or top-of-the-world, and all that. That's all valid. That goes back to that agency idea, but the fact of the matter is is that heels are-- They're painful to wear. They do things to your body that are physically contorting. They can hurt your back, your hips, your legs. I think once I started to think more deeply on that, I was just like, "Wow. There's just--" As I said, it's complicated and there's a lot to unpack here. There's these cross-sections of feminism and women in their bodies. I like to say there's this tyranny of objectification that you can trace through the history of women and their relationship with clothing. That's taken a lot of forms.
It's taken forms of-- Foot-binding is a really good example. It's a very traditional practice. It certainly had parts of it that were ritual and that were important to the women that participated in it, but when you look at it factually, it's taking feet and binding them, and twisting them, and hurting the bones, and making it so that women can't walk. That's a very extreme example, but through various cultures, whether it's corsets, whether it's neck-rings, whether it's-- In the modern times, there's shape-wear. By the way, men aren't exempt from all, many, many strains of body pressure, body image, but I would say that it's a different game.
Shelby: The thing I thought was most interesting is you talked about clothing as it lets you move. One problem with heels is you can't run.
Sally: No. You can't run. Quite frankly, if you look at it just on a primal level of how we are in the world, and that, at any moment, we need to be able to call on our bodies to do a couple of things. That's fight or flight. If you're in heels, can you do either of those things? You can't.
Shelby: In addition to Sally's design background, the other thing that triggered her to desire to create Oiselle was becoming a runner herself. Why running?
Sally: Running is magic. It's pure magic, but part of that magic is that people come to it from so many different directions. In many ways, I feel lucky that I found it. I think it goes back to my dad. He got caught up in the jogging boom in the '70s. I think just getting a little taste of it, I realized that I was actually pretty good at it, but it didn't stick in high school.
I went to college where I basically just spent a lot of time reading books and drinking beer, and then, didn't get really hooked on running again until the end of college, but it really was because I was a little bit bored with the drinking beer and the just not having a direction. Even though I didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up, I was like, "This running thing is at least providing me some sanity and some direction that I'd like to go in."
Shelby: For me, when I run, it's like a drug. I just feel good. All of my problems get worked out. I can write books in my head. I can write entire podcast scripts. What happens-
Sally: That's it.
Shelby: -imagine you run a huge company. Do a lot of things get work done on runs?
Sally: That's it. We're a drug company, Shelby. That's what it is.
Shelby: Running is drugs. It's a healthy drug.
Sally: If you think about it, I talked about the dark side of having no boundaries or doing things to the extreme, but I think there's a lot of truth to the fact that athletes, and people that enjoy sports, are another form of-- It's like a healthy addiction or an extreme application or a discovery that this thing makes you feel good, therefore you keep doing it and you stay connected to it. I think there might be something to be said for the fact that running is, or any sport where you're obsessed with it is a healthy application of those same urges.
Shelby: What was missing from women's running apparel that you wanted?
Sally: I think what's interesting to-- Continuing our conversation about movement, and women's apparel, and through history, and this is a little bit apropos of what we've been thinking about right now because we're actually designing this 2020 season. The theme that we're really exploring for 2020 is what we're calling "the movement." We're looking at the movement from a women's historical women's movement, but also, the physical movement of the body.
In that research, we're looking at what women's athletic apparel looked like historically. It was very simple silhouettes. A lot of it borrowed from what was happening in men's athletic apparel. Changed a little bit, but not much, but it was all very functional. What I think is really interesting is that, even in the early days, I actually think, in some ways, the clothing was almost more feminist because
it was really just truly created to deal with the function of moving in your body.
Today as we fast forward like 30, 40 years later, unfortunately, I think the fashion world has sunken its teeth into the whole trend that we know as athleisure. There's a big part of me that just really wants for everybody to just think about that.
Shelby: This is great because I'm also thinking as a kid I used to run to my Umbro soccer shorts.
Sally: Those are awesome.
Shelby: It's all I had. [crosstalk] They're hideous, and then I had to surf in them because there wasn't Roxy yet, but you know the clothes that were out there for running apparel, were there dorky short shorts. What did you want?
Sally: Well, I think there's still this gap between the product that's on the market and who's creating the product. I know it's come a long way. I think there are a lot more women designers designing for women and that's a huge improvement. I think there's been significant improvement in fabrics, which is fantastic. Cuts and fit and tailoring, but still, when I had that entrepreneurial moment of like, "Why can't I find what I'm looking for?" What it was was that I had this deep passion and love for the sport of running and when I went shopping for running shorts, there's just complete crap. Sure they were functional but they didn't have any of that quality that you were looking for, the fit you were looking for. Just like that feeling good while you were wearing them.
Shelby: Tell me more about clothes and why it's so important for women to have clothes specifically made for them?
Sally: Part of it just gets back to that what we were talking earlier about being in your body and how the relationship with clothing. My hope is that by embracing the sport and by embracing clothing for sport that-- it's happened to me and I've seen it happen with so many other women, whether it's involved Oiselle or not, is that they do make a transition from clothing being about presenting themselves in their appearance to the world to going to a place where they're wearing their clothing to move and to build health and value that they feel from the inside out. Changing that locus of control going from the outside in, to the inside out.
Designing clothing for movement is where we start, but we also love design. We love beautiful, simple lines. We love it when both the form and the function come together to deliver something truly exceptional that a woman wants to wear because one of the big things for us is our fabrics. We really embrace high-quality fabrics. I can't tell you how many times we've had, we launched new fabrics-- For example, this fall we launched a new fabric called Bird Hug, which is a silly name, but when you feel the fabric, it's so exceptionally soft that when women put it on their bodies or when they feel it, you just see that they get transformed by that experience.
Then it's a compression fabric as well. It's great for leggings or bras, et cetera. When you wear it in that compacity where it's literally the softest thing you've ever felt and it's hugging your body. Now I'm cooking with gas here, this just feels amazing. It looks amazing and then, by the way, you can go for a 12 mile run in it and it'll do all the things that you need to do to accomplish that physical fit. That's what we are looking for. It's that Trifecta of amazingness.
Shelby: Oiselle isn't just supporting women by making close to propel their adventures. The company also created a community for runners, encouraging not only physical health but also emotional health as well through building relationships with fellow runners of all backgrounds. When we come back, we'll hear more from Sally. Plus we'll chat with another talented woman with a similar vision to Sally's. More on that after this message from our sponsor.
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Sensi Graves is a professional kiteboarding instructor turned designer. Similar to Sally, Sensi wanted better clothes to pursue the sport she loved most. In this case, there are limited options for women's swimsuits. Sensi needed something that was going to function really well while flying through the water, didn't fall off or give her a wedgie. I can relate to that. She also wanted to look good and feel strong. How did you get into kiteboarding because that's a sport I've always wanted to get into and just haven't been able to figure it out yet.
Sensi: I actually got into it because of my dad. My dad learned to kite the year before I did and the next summer he was like, "Okay, guys, we're going out to North Carolina to learn to kite." We took a week's worth of lessons with this company called Real Water Sports and I completely loved it. It was awesome. I kept in touch with the school over the next two years and in 2009 Real was actually hiring coaches. I was like, "Yes, sign me up. I want to do it." I moved out to kiteboard and from that point on it was live, eat, sleep, dream kiteboarding and then I chased the wind ever since.
Shelby: It's such an interesting sport. The women I meet who kiteboard are such studs. You're so badass and you are literally flying. What an incredible sport to participate in and you can get totally worked as well so you have to be careful. How did you transition from being a kiteboard coach to starting a business, because these are two different worlds?
Sensi: There are two different worlds but I definitely draw parallels between both of them. You have to have a lot of resilience in kiteboarding because in the beginning, you're swallowing a ton of water and you're trying to learn this crazy sport when there's so many different things going on. Then in business, you're always overcoming obstacles and so you're continually having to adjust and grow and see those obstacles as opportunities so you don't get too bogged down in the weeds.
I first thought of the idea for my business while I was kiteboarding and I was working as a kiteboarding instructor. I was in the water every single day and I couldn't find swimwear that actually stayed put and that I didn't have to constantly adjust but that also looked really good, that felt really good to wear, that was super comfortable and that made me feel really empowered. I wanted something that not only looked really great but also performed really well. When I couldn't find that fusion, I thought, "Okay, this is ridiculous."
Shelby: You said that your line of clothing is actually pretty sustainable?
Sensi: Yes. Sustainability is a huge part of my brand. I had a lot of internal struggle with it because I thought, do we need another bikini brand? No, but then I thought, if I can do this in a way that can influence other business owners, and if we can make a product in the most sustainable fashion, then this is something I should do.
Shelby: What does that look like?
Sensi: To us, it's chunking out every single portion of how the suits are made, and analyzing where can we reduce waste. For instance, we don't use plastic on any parts of the swim product. The bags that we use, the polybags are compostable. The hang tags that I put on, the string that we use is a organic cotton string. The labels that we use are organic cotton labels. We're also a 1% for the planet member. Then currently about 60% on the line uses materials, fabrics from recycled plastic bottles and reclaimed fishing nets. We have pledged to go 100% recycled fabrics by 2020.
Shelby: Another amazing thing about these two women in their companies, they're not just making clothes to empower women to get outside, both Sally and Sensi are also focusing on building communities around their respective sports, encouraging women to connect with and support each other in their athletic endeavors, and hopefully make lasting friendships along the way. One of the things I like about running is it's free, it's easy, and it's accessible. Why do you think running brings people together so well?
Sally: I love all those things, too. I think it's the people's sport. There's like a meritocracy and openness to running. When I talk to people about the sport, in general, you get a lot of those like, "Oh, I'm not a runner." That's 50% of the time people trot that out and I just like to gently remind them that's totally cool. You don't have to be a runner but just as a little reminder that if you think about it running is really the only sport your body was born to do. You have running in you. Whether or not you decide to answer the bell, it's there. I think if anything what I've hoped through was all through the Volée, through just espousing the sport, in general, is to really let the world know that you are invited.
Shelby: You said the word Volée.
Shelby: This is your running community. What's the Volée community?
Sensi: The Volée really just evolved very organically through our love of sports. When I started was all I was like, how do we get the word out about? I'm a runner, I love all my running friends, we're all here in Seattle, how do we get this? It's like, "Oh, yes, we'll pass the clothes around and get them on our friends and their friends will go and join races and then we'll have the singlet with the name on it." Out of that, we realized that although creating great apparel for Oiselle is definitely the core of what we do, what's also equally at the core of what we do is the beauty of the community of running, and that connection that we have through the sport. There's really so few other sports that engender friendship so well. The Volée is really it's our running team and anybody can join.
We have an annual membership fee, and with that fee, you get a singlet and basically get entree into the community and ways to connect with each other no matter where you live, and we have about 4000 women around the US that are part of the team. One other thing I'll say about the Volée that's really cool that I didn't see coming was that it is a cross-generational team. You will have women in there that are in their 40s, you will have a lot of women that are just out of college, and then you will have everything in between.
Shelby: What's the expertise level of these runners? Is it all levels?
Sally: It's all levels, all paces. I think that was one of the really the most important things in the creating of the Volée. We do sponsor pro athletes and we do sponsor elite athletes and those women are fast as hell. They are among the best in the world, and that's awesome, and I find that so inspiring. You know what else is inspiring? Somebody doing their first marathon ever? That's super cool.
I would just like to point out that as a women's brand I have been asked over time, "Well, you are for elites and you're for any pacers? You really should choose." I'm like, "Why?" Why should I choose? There's women doing amazing things at all levels of the sport.
Shelby: Are you creating a community in any way?
Sensi: Yes, I think that's the biggest part of it, and that's so cool is that when industry leaders and brand leaders are actually like, "Okay, how can I create a community that has a positive impact?" Within Sensi Bikinis we have a team of athletes that I sponsor ranging from kiteboarders to weight borders, to surf instructors and yoga teachers, and those are our core group of influencers.
Now, we can't support them as much as I would like to, but I sponsor different competitions that they're in and they get suits, and we spread the love on our newsletter and through all of our social networks. The biggest community that we're trying to create is through our Sensi Bikinis Rock Stars Facebook page, which is a group of women that are maybe kiteboarders, maybe weight borders, but really just living the active lifestyle and wanting to learn tips and tricks to feel empowered, to feel healthy, to fuel their bodies right, and to really have a big, beautiful, awesome lifestyle.
Shelby: Body image is a big part of the apparel industry. I wanted to know how both of these women address body image of their companies in both the creation of their clothes and what they want women to think about when they're trying clothes on? You have this really great take on body image that I found refreshing. Do you mind just sharing it?
Sally: Yes, no, of course. One thing you learn by being in a women's athletic apparel company is that body image is a topic that comes up a lot. It's understandable, right? We're pursuing a sport that's all about the use of the body, you're in a community that's almost all women, and so, body image naturally comes up in conversation. I think it's a worthy topic, and even some of our athletes like Alley Kieffer and Lauren Fleischmann and have really kind of tackled it head on and talked about it in refreshing new ways, in the sense of, it's not about having a skinny body or a lean body, it's about having a strong body.
If there were one word that I would want women to feel when they wear Oilselle, it would be strong. That's also a word that comes back to us from our community in terms of what they what they aspire to.
Shelby: Sometimes it's better just to be a rad human in whatever body you have, and just own it. Be you. Keep going.
Sally: That's a super difficult thing to do. I can't say that I've arrived in that place where I don't think about my body image or I don't think about my body but it's just this idea of honoring what your body can do, pushing it if you want to, to see if it can do more, whether that's running or any other sport and then really like celebrating those efforts, whatever that looks like.
Shelby: I like that. The conversation about the body as a vehicle that lets you get to do these amazing things. How does body image play a role, especially in swimwear for you and for your company?
Sensi: As a swimwear designer and an owner of the swimwear company, I'm looking at images of women in swimwear constantly and a lot of what is put out there, especially with the bigger bikini brands are a certain type of body of drop-dead gorgeous person but it oftentimes makes you feel bad about yourself and I've had to take a step back and be like, "Okay, what is this imagery really doing into my psyche and is this what we want to perpetuate in our brand?" Oftentimes, the answer is no. I want to show more body types. I want to show women actually doing things because that's what makes you feel good when you're actually doing something.
I fit so many different women that when they put on the bikini it doesn't always make them feel good. It's a vulnerable thing. It's a hard thing to fit and that's why our mission is really to empower women because I know how hard it is to always feel good in your body and I know how vulnerable it is to put on a swimsuit and go out there and rock it. We really want our bikinis to be that piece of equipment that when you do put it on your like, "Yes, I got this. I'm looking great. I'm going to go out there and I'm going to kill it."
Shelby: What questions can we ask ourselves when trying on apparel just to know if it's even good?
Sensi: When we're trying on swimwear I think in general it's, "Does this fit well," and the hardest part I see women struggle with is where they feel-- they're either have a harsh perception that's wrong about themselves and what they're actually looking at is not how they're feeling. When they try something on that's revealing such as a swimsuit, you don't actually always get the proper perception and women are really hard on themselves and when things are tight in some areas they're very, very conscious of that. When you're putting on the swimsuit and you're trying to decide if it's something that works for you, try out a couple of different pieces for sure because swimsuits are so tough.
We make quarter-inch adjustments on the pieces to allow for different fits, different places. When you have a small and medium and seen seeing sometimes the difference between those two sizes it's actually not that much and so don't get caught up in the size label. Go with, "How does this fit around my waist? Do I feel like it's pinching anywhere," and if I'm comfortable, then that's the number one thing.
Shelby: Does it support you and make you feel like a badass?
Shelby: Which we ask ourselves when we buy our clothes because you've studied this so much?
Sally: I do think it's really important to close your eyes and feel the clothing and to consider how you're going to feel in it. Like your mindset. I think dressing with clothing, being able to help enable a mindset is a good way to look at it. It's a little bit like the elite athlete for everyone. There's been a lot of studies that show how what elite athletes were in competition can completely transform how they're able to perform and why can't you or I also borrow some of those philosophies to our everyday lives?
Shelby: Sensi mentioned starting a business and being an athlete have some parallels. Just as kiteboarding and running are challenging physically and mentally starting your own company, especially an apparel company it's no small fit. These endeavors require resilience. They teach you to not be discouraged when you fail and to learn from your mistakes. Starting a huge company is like a big, big endeavor. What was the biggest opportunity when you started?
Sally: The biggest opportunity was probably to fail.
Shelby: That's good.
Sally: I've gone to this entrepreneur class at the University of Washington and talked to groups of students that are basically there in the process of deciding whether they want to start an apparel line and it's not necessarily athletic, it can be fashion line, et cetera. I always encourage them a, keep your day job and b, save up way more money than you think you're going to need. You're going to need about three times as much money. Quite frankly there's a lot of risks in being a product company because it's a tough nut to crack. Just start small and iterate as best possible and that's essentially the story of Oiselle.
Shelby: You have this big design background that obviously helped you a lot creating the clothes you created but I think there are other skills you brought to the table that helped you with Oiselle and one of those is not being afraid to fail. Can you tell us maybe an early failure and what you learned from it?
Sally: Which one to choose from? [laughs]
Shelby: It sounds like you're okay with failure now which is huge.
Sally: Yes and no. Failure fricking hurts, man. You have to go through all the like The Seven Stages of Grief and the feeling like you weren't good enough in the first place to pull it off and you have all the shame and the sorrow. One thing that-- Failure is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot like, "Fail quickly. Learn to fail. Love to fail." Yet talking specifically about what those failures are is a little bit-- You don't hear it as much.
I'll just say one of the things that I did early on in starting a company was that-- I think you're just-- As an entrepreneur, you're so in love with your own idea that you just don't think failure is an option or could happen. One of the things I did, which is classic for the product or apparel industry, is just that my first design, I way over-inventoried. I took a second mortgage out of my home and like $60,000 for running a big shipment of running shorts like, "Of course everybody's going to try these on. They're going to be amazing." You quickly realize that at the speed that your brain might be going in terms of getting the word out there and having people embraced your designs, it just takes time. Unless you are a company that starting with 30, 40, 50 million dollars and VC backing and investments, et cetera, which some companies do, then I think that's just a classic entrepreneur mistake.
Shelby: Oh God, you said that and that's impressive that you mortgaged part of your house for the first line of shorts. That shows how dedicated you are.
Sally: Or foolish. I don't know. You could look at it both ways.
Shelby: I appreciate you also saying how in love entrepreneurs are with their own product. Any failure moments that you've had to learn from in running a business for women?
Sensi: Oh yes. A couple of years ago we had our whole production run of bikinis came out a whole size smaller than they should have been. Everything that was a size small was actually fit more like an extra small what you can imagine what problems that caused. Anybody that bought a bikini that was a large, it was actually fitting more like a medium and anything that was a medium fit more like a small.
Everything with size down and that was a huge headache. Being a bootstrapping brand we just had to send out a disclaimer to all our customers, put the literature on our website, put little notes on everything that went out that said, "Order a size bigger." That was one big failure for sure.
Shelby: What's the biggest thing you've learned on your journey?
Sally: Gosh. We have this camp cup that says, and this is not an Oiselleism because we've heard it before, but "There is no secret keep going". I think you learn that again and again in building a business that it's really. It's why maybe it's been good to be a marathoner. You've got to keep showing up and you've got to keep training hard and you've got to keep putting the work in, but good things happen out of that work.
Shelby: Any advice to people who want to run a 5K, a 10K, a marathon for the first time?
Sally: You can do more than you think you can. I think it's pretty simple. If you want to do it your body can also do it. The thing is not to get fooled by that first effort out there where because-- I actually had this happen to me recently. I think you experienced 'runner's no' that when you start running you immediately feel anaerobic and like shit and like you're just like breathing hard and everything feels really difficult.
Then you get into it and the end of the run feels better, but I think people that don't know running or maybe are trying it for the first time they experience that and they're like, "Well Jesus Christ. This is terrible, I'm terrible at this." It's pushing past that initial pain period and really sticking with it and knowing that that's not a unique experience to you, experienced runners and fast runners even go through that couple minutes of sucking wind.
Shelby: And having massive pain.
Sally: Yes, and just being like, "Ugh, I don’t want to do this."
Shelby: Okay, it gives me something to look forward to.
Shelby: We used to ask all of our guests if you could go back and tell 15-year-old Sally one piece of advice what would you tell her?
Sally: I would say your value is not your appearance. I think that's a really great message for any woman, but try to get the girls when they're young.
Shelby: Those are good powerful words that I even need to hear. Just that your appearance isn't everything.
Sally: What's one way you can suggest our audience to live more wildly?
Sally: Well, my mom used to say about that song that goes, "The wild women never get the blues." She looked at me and she's like, "You know, honey, that ain't true." I always liked that take on it because I've heard that quote, "Wild women never get the blues." It's a fist pump like, "Yes, get after it." Devil-may-care kind of thing. I think it's great to take risks. It's also great to take care of yourself and keeping those two things in balance.
Shelby: That's good advice. I think sometimes we live loudly, we push ourselves. Sometimes we push ourselves too hard. Definitely not exempt from getting the blues.
Sally: Absolutely, and that's normal. Again, it's like another one of those false images of the person out there doing all the bold adventurous things that never looks back never has any regrets. That's probably not true so it's okay to let yourself have some of those moments.
Shelby: We should all feel empowered to pursue whatever endeavors we choose, whether out in nature or in the business world. I love it that there women in the world like Sally and Sensi, women not only making clothes that support us, move with us and give us a mental edge but who are using their platforms to create community around their sports. I also love that they're big proponents of trying new things, not letting failure stop us from trying again and they know that even wild woman get the blues. I really love that line. This week, I hope you grab a friend, grab your gear and get outside.
Thanks again to Sally Bergesen and Sensi Graves for coming on the show. Thank you, ladies. I love you. You can find out more about Sally and about Sensi Graves at their companies. Oiselle is spelled O-I-S-E-L-L-E and you can find Sensi at Sensi Graves Bikinis. This podcast is produced by Annie Fassler and Chelsea Davis and supported by RAI, a brand that helps us get outside, go on adventures and by the way, also sells awesome gear. Tune in the week after next for my interview with a well-known Hawaiian surfer, lifeguard, and waterman. If you like this show, please write us a review on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you're listening to the show. It really means a ton. Remember, some of the best adventures often happen when you follow your wildest ideas.
[00:37:46] [END OF AUDIO]
Here’s the Wild Idea
Today’s guests are two founders of athletic apparel companies whose goal is to make clothes that function well, feel good, and look good, so you can focus on your adventures. Sally Bergesen, the founder of Oiselle, fell in love with running in college but couldn’t find the kind of running clothes she wanted to wear, so she created her own company. As she learned more about women and their relationship with clothing, she started diving deeper into the history of women’s athletic apparel. Sensi Graves is a kiteboarder, who, after struggling with swimsuits that didn’t always stay in place when she rode, created a swimsuit company with suits that could keep up with athletes on the water, stay in place, look good, and be produced in a sustainable way.
In addition to making awesome gear to empower women to get outdoors, these two women are also building communities around their respective sports. By supporting female athletes in multiple ways – through their apparel and their communities, they’re encouraging us all to form friendships, support each other, and get outside.
Listen to this Episode if
- You’ve ever struggled to buy gear or clothes for your adventures.
- You want to feel empowered to pursue adventure.
- You are interested in women’s activewear and apparel.
- You love having a supportive community behind you.
- You want to hear from two badass female founders.
- 3:30 – Sally’s research into the relationship between women and clothing.
- 7:10 – How Sally discovered running and fell in love.
- 9:10 – What led Sally to found her apparel company, Oiselle.
- 15:05 – How Sensi became a kiteboarding coach and then started a swimwear company.
- 18:30 – How Sally and Sensi are both fostering community in their respective sports.
- 23:20 – How clothing designers think about body image.
- 28:45 – What to know before launching your own business.
- 33:15 – Sally’s advice for anyone who wants to start running.