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March 04, 2017

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Betts Fit Sports Bra Development Process (Part 7 of 7)

Thus far in this series I have talked about how my personal experiences as a soccer player and trainer are what lead me to creating a new and improved sports bra.

Having an idea is one thing.  Actually creating, selling and perfecting it is another.  As discussed in my prior post it has been 4 years since I moved out of my room in Mill Valley, CA and embarked upon this entrepreneurial journey.  

I never could have predicted the highs and lows that would come with taking this leap of faith.  Great article on how perseverance is key from the master of inventions!

Over the past 4 years I have tested every sports bra known to mankind in every type of activity, met with top bra designers from around the country, traveled to factories around the world & researched & researched and researched. 

This has by far been the greatest and riskiest undertaking of my life. My goal is to share with you the process I went through in developing the Betts Fit Sports Bra to get to where I am today. It is important to me to inform my potential customers the lengths I went through to make my vision a reality. 

Step 1- Prototyping/Development

It all began with some old sports bras, scissors, ribbon, some creativity & inspiration. In 4 years we have created over 200 prototypes. To save on cost I have always been the one to sew the sports bras. I have estimated a total of 750 hours on my sewing machine. Having to learn the in’s and out’s of sewing has allowed me to innovate our sports bra in the ways I would have never known how to without this skill set. I truly feel that without the hands on experience it never would have become what it has today. Ever thought about developing your own product? Here is a great resource from Maker’s Row for understanding how to go about it!

STEP 2 - STUDY COMPETITION

In addition to testing your own product I find it equally as important to study your competition if you want to be sure you are offering something innovative and original.

I have literally tried on every sports bra on this planet and studied how they were developed from the construction to materials, sizing systems, and level of support each has to offer. I prefer never find out how many hours I have spent in dressing rooms around the US bouncing around.

Every sports bra I have tried on and tested has lead to the creation of the Betts Fit Sports Bra. The whole time I am thinking what will make this sports bra more comfortable, more supportive, easier to put on and take off, more attractive and easier to transition from one activity to another. Great article on how every inventor stands on the shoulders of giants.

STEP 3 - Pattern Makers

I hired professional pattern makers so I could develop my idea from scratch.  If I was ever going to make this product a reality I needed to use fresh materials and develop it in a way that we could recreate.

Over 4 years I have worked with 11 different pattern makers & bra designers from around world. Each of these individuals brought different skills and perspectives to the table. I traveled to New Jersey & NYC to meet with 2 seasoned bra experts, as well as, worked with one of the top corset experts in the world.

Learn more about pattern making here!

STEP 4- Sourcing Materials

If I was going to start building the Betts Fit Sports Bra from raw materials I needed to find the right types of fabric and components to make our sports bra a reality.

I took two trips to LA to source fabric from trade shows and networked like crazy to find the top sports bra fabric suppliers. What worked best was asking other bra designers where they were sourcing their materials from and then shipping bras with fabrics I wanted to these suppliers to see if they had similar fabrics in stock.  Sadly it took me 2 years to figure this out.

However, in all honesty the fabric has been the least of my worries.  Because we have developed such a unique product the amount of components involved is about 3 times what you see on your average sports bra. I have gone through hundreds of samples of elastics, boning, boning tapes, eyelets, cording and lock solution to get to where we are today.
Learn more about sourcing materials here!

STEP 5- Manufacturing

Again due to the complexity of the Betts Fit Sports Bra & the range of sizes we are offering finding a reliable manufacture has been virtually impossible.  

In two years time I met with over 20 factories around the US.  Unfortunately due to the complexity of our sports bra we weren’t a suitable product for any of these factories unless we were to pay over $40 per unit just for cut and sew.

I quickly learned very few lingerie companies have production set up in the USA because of the complex equipment and sewing machines, as well as, wide size ranges.

So I began to research my options for production overseas. As it turns out the minimums overseas are way too high due to our wide size range and being able to oversea production for quality control was just too much of a challenge.  

Long story short after 4 years of going back and forth we have taken matters into our own hands and set up our own operation & purchased all the necessary machines to make the Betts Fit Sports Bra’s the way we see best fit here in the USA. I have worked with local sewers and we have dialed in the order of operations and construction methods.  HALLELUIA
Learn more about manufacturing a product here!

STEP 6- Design Feedback - Refining the Betts Fit Sports Bra For Market

Although the final design was achieved over a year ago there have been a handful of tweaks we needed to make after some initial consumer feedback and before bringing our sports bra to market.  

Great article on the importance of beta testing!

STEP 7- Intellectual Property Protection

After filing over 3 years ago we finally were granted a utility patent for our three way front-facing adjustability and corset compression system. We have two additional patents pending to protect our design and custom lock system. Ever thought about patenting your own idea?  USPTO has tons of information and ways in which to search for your idea before investing too much time and money.

Learn more about the basics of patent protection here!

STEP 8- Production

I am thrilled to announce production is underway and as of May 1st the Betts Fit Sports Bra will be in stock in sizes B-G cup and will ship directly from our production facility.

If you have read through this 7 post series you understand what a journey this has been for me.  Now more than ever we need your support in spreading the word wide and far about our revolutionary, patented sports bra technology.  

If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to share below!  We are here to support you!

 

February 28, 2017

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Neuroscience Education Leads To Revolutionary & Patented Sports Bra Technology (Part 6 of 7)

Thus far in this series I have talked about how my personal experiences as a soccer player and trainer are what lead me to creating a new and improved sports bra.

This post is about my decision to step up to the plate and do something about it.

Upon returning from my Z Health course in 2013 as discussed in my previous post, I felt a new level of excitement I hadn’t experienced in quite some time.

On top of this education I was receiving, I had taken a leap of faith and moved to out of San Francisco to beautiful Marin to slow life down a bit. Great article from Scientific America on the brain benefits of slowing things down.

I realized living in San Francisco was no longer in line with what I wanted in life. I wanted to be closer to nature, have more living space and get out of the hustle bustle.

I never in a million years could have predicted how much of a positive impact this would have on my life. It gave me time to rest my brain a bit and ultimately find a creative side to me that had always been there but was getting lost in the fast paced city life.

Now that I had identified where my pain was coming from it was time to put my neuroscience education to the test and explore exactly what it was about my sports bras that weren’t getting the job done properly. I needed to identify how I could improve my breathing mechanics, reduce the bounce and find a place where the straps are still supportive but don’t put undue stress on the muscles and nerve endings in my neck and shoulders.

Additionally I needed to find a way to transition this bra from a supportive mode to a relaxed mode.  So I gathered a bunch of my old sports bras, a pair of scissors and some elastic and start experimenting with the fit of my bras.  My brain started going mad with ideas and I took a quick trip to Walgreens to grab an ace bandage and saran wrap. I played with every which way I could compress my girls and then put it to the test.  Next were my initial findings.

Problem: Shoulder Straps 

As it turns out most sports bras are designed RACER BACK style.  Many designers believe it assists in supporting the breasts.  However what I have found is that for a larger breasted athlete this is your worst nightmare.  If the rest of the bra is not doing it’s job the force from your breast bouncing is directed right to your neck and shoulders.

SOLUTION:

Needed wider straps with less elasticity and that were adjustable.

Problem: Compression 

Compression is a double edged sword.  Too much and you can’t breathe but not enough and you can’t find the support you need.  

SOLUTION:

Adjustable and adaptable compression.  The ability to use it when you need it.

Problem: Bottom Band 

My trouble with the bottom band has always been it is too tight and uncomfortable or too loose and unsupportive.  All sports bras bottom bands are designed essentially the same way.  I decided it is time to mix it up and try something new.  I wanted to have a band that is tight yet comfortable and supportive but without keeping me from being able to breathe.

SOLUTION:

An adjustable bottom band with a specific amount of tension built to be supportive yet expand with one’s rib cage when we breathe.  It adapts to weight gain and loss and is easy to loosen after a workout for a more relaxed hang out fit.

As I started to tinker with a better solution my mind, body and soul were feeling ignited and I knew I was onto something.  13 Signs you are on the right track!

This initial prototyping, research & testing phase went on for months.  I did a lot of soul searching during this time and before I knew it I was packing up my bags to move in with my parents to save money and pursue my idea to the fullest.

This was just the beginning of what would become the next 4 years of my life & lead to the creation of my bra lab. I haven’t looked back since!!!

In my next post I share what it has taken over the past 4 years to finally bring my sports bra to life!  I hope you enjoy!

February 18, 2017

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Neuroscience Education Sparks a Breakthrough in Sports Bra Technology (Part 5 of 7)

In this series I have talked about my negative experiences with sports bra in relation to my life as a youth soccer player, D-1 college soccer player & personal trainer. In the previous post I shared the trials and tribulations that I have faced with a condition called Hypothyroidism and how it added to my hatred of sports bras.

In this post I discuss the greatest breakthrough in my life.  My neuroscience education through a company called Z Health.  Not only has it lead me to creating the best sports bra in the world it has changed my life for the better when it comes to my health and outlook on healing.

In early 2013 while attending a course through Z Health titled, “T Phase,” which stands for Therapy and Threat, I had the most profound epiphany of my life.  By manipulating a scar from an old soccer injury (a compounded ulna and radius) I was able to release old range of motion in my body that I hadn’t experienced in years.  I could all of a sudden do a full splits again, as well as, perform a very deep squat. Now you might be thinking this is voodoo-science. We manipulate a scar on my forearm and now I can do the splits.  Well trust me that’s exactly what I was thinking at first too. 

One thing I know for sure about myself is I am a seeker of knowledge.  I love to ask questions and seek answers!  With that being said as a trainer I took every cert under the sun. I started out receiving a mentorship at the most renowned performance center in the country Athletes Performance (EXOS) under Mark Verstegen.  I became certified by NASM, NSCA, TRX, CHEK Institute, & CST to name a few.

It wasn’t until I came across Z health that I could start to put the pieces together.  Although the full Z Health education cost is literally a hundred times what any of these certs cost, to me this education is priceless.

For the first time in my life I felt a sense of HOPE!  

However over four 12 hour days of training I continued to play with strange and eye opening methods to improving my performance and healing my body, as well as, my classmates. I was utterly shocked and excited by not only my improvements but those of my classmates as well. For the first time I understood the profound potential to heal one’s body based off of not just addressing the area of discomfort or pain, but by breaking down the individual's unique experiences and history to detect in their special situation where their problems could be stemming from.

Z Health T Phase

We explored different types pain such as visceral, neuropathic, somatic. In short my take away was that pain can come from a wide range of areas and always alters how we move.  When we are in pain we are under threat. Which means we can go into a sympathetic nervous system response, know as a fight or flight.  

Ever heard of the SAID Principle?  It say’s “The body always adapts to exactly what it does.”  

When we are in pain we can become inefficient and our movement can become compromised.  Do it for long enough and we begin to wire the movement into our nervous system.  

This brought to me the following conclusions with the pain I was experiencing from my ergonomically incorrect sports bras:

  1. When I put my disadvantageous sports bra on my body it is the tension from the placement of the straps on my neck and shoulders that creates pain.  
  2. When I start running it was the excessive bounce/force being created in my chest that added additional tension on the straps on my neck and shoulders.
  3. This increased pressure from the straps and excessive movement in my chest were creating pain by pulling & tearing on my breast tissue, as well as, on the muscles, ligaments and nerves in my neck, shoulders & chest.
  4. When I am in pain my movement and gait mechanics, as well as, breathing become compromised making me operate less efficiently.  
  5. Less efficiency means my body has to work on overdrive.
  6. If I were to do this for long enough the pain and poor movement would become wired into my body and continually exhaust me faster than it should.  
  7. Instead of focusing just on relieving the site of pain I needed to get down to the root of the problem. Which in this case for me was “THE SPORTS BRA.”

              These conclusions are what lead to my exploration for a better solution.  Without my neuroscience education I would not have been able to understand what was needed to improve sports bras from an ergonomic and bio-mechanical standpoint.

              And so the development journey began!

              Read on to learn about how a little fate & some scissors, ribbon and old sports bras lead to the creation of the Betts Fit Sports Bra.  

              February 17, 2017

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              Sports Bra Struggles with Hypothyroidism (Part 4 of 7)

              In this series I have talked about my negative experiences with sports bras as a youth soccer player, D-1 college soccer player & personal trainer.   

              Aside from my competitive sports experiences and working as a trainer another battle I have faced regarding “boob problems” is managing a condition called Hashimoto’s disease, also known as Hypothyroidism, a condition I developed at 16 years old.  

              At the time this was a relatively odd condition for a 16 year old to develop.  I was sure I had cancer or some life threatening illness after seeing tons of doctors who were unable to diagnose what was wrong with me.  Then one day we finally met with an endocrinologist who recommended I have my thyroid tested.  What they found was unheard of.  My results showed that I basically had no thyroid function so they ran the tests 3 more times to be sure. I was quickly referred to a world renowned specialist Dr. Nathan Becker who was likely to have seen it all. However, he couldn’t believe it.  Dr. Becker wondered how I could even muster the energy to get out of bed each day let alone be playing soccer.

              What I learned in this appointment was that I was going to be put on a medication for my entire life.  There was no cure for Hashimoto’s disease and medication was my only option, especially due to the nature of how far my condition had progressed.  

              FACT: 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid condition in her lifetime!

              In my case my symptoms included weight gain, unrelenting fatigue, extreme joint and muscular pain and bringing us back to the point of a better sports bra, SWOLLEN & TENDER BREASTS.  

              Now that I am pregnant I can honestly say it was as if you were in a constant pregnant state. It took approximately 10 years for my thyroid numbers to balance themselves.  

              During that time my breasts were terribly heavy, tender and large and in charge. Making it excruciating to sprint in soccer without proper support.  In addition to my “boob problems,” our training sessions would leave me with such significant joint pain & muscular pain that I would go overkill on my icing methods by sitting for way to long periods of time in trashcans filled with ice. At times I ended up with mild burns all over my body from overdoing the recommended time.

              It was terribly frustrating trying to compete at the D1 with thyroid condition.  The rigorous nature of the sport and level at which I was playing was not allowing my body to heal and leaving me with a consistently low thyroid.

              Roomie, Best Friend & bridesmaid, Lauren and I in Costa Rica for pre-season training.

              I eventually began seeking further medical attention and tried all sorts of alternative methods from acupuncture to going gluten free and for the first time I was seeing a significant change.  No one at the time knew what a gluten free diet was though.  People were so annoyed by me all the time asking what was in my food.  Going out to eat was near to impossible.  Turns out though there is a big connection between thyroid disease and gluten.

              By the time I became a trainer I was running into a similar problem.  The hours I was working and on the go nature of my job left me feeling stressed, anxious and unable to take care of myself the way I wanted and needed to.

              My struggle managing my thyroid and the pain I experienced from playing college soccer with a poor functioning system and ergonomically incorrect bra lead me to where I am today.  It is from these trials and tribulations with my health and performance that I committed myself to a lifelong exploration to better understanding the human body.

              If you have any lady friends with a thyroid condition, here are a few thyroid resources that changed my life that I highly recommend sharing.

              My Discovery of the Root Cause Approach

              Chris Kresser Thyroid EBook

              Dr. Datis Kharrazian Thyroid Book

              Underground Wellness Thyroid Podcasts

              It is truly amazing to me how our life experiences can lead us to what we are meant to do on this planet. In a way I feel like I have experienced everything that can go wrong and learned everything that can go right.

              In my next post I discuss my neuroscience education which completely changed my life and ultimately lead to me pursuing my sports bra invention.

              February 16, 2017

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              Betts Fit ›   Blog ›   Mommy Blog ›   sports bra ›  


              Business & Babies On Our Mind

              Well looks like there is a new baby in town. We have a new addition on its way for the Betts Fit team! I am 15 weeks pregnant with a little girl, who will be arriving around mid-August. To all the ladies out there who are balancing full time jobs or are entrepreneurs and moms, I feel for you. These are very new waters I am navigating, so I will be sharing my experiences as I go and I look forward to interacting with you all along the way. View full article →
              February 11, 2017

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              Sports Bra Struggles As a Personal Trainer (Part 3 of 7)

              In the previous two blog posts I discuss the sports bra struggles I faced as a competitive youth soccer player and D1 collegiate soccer player

              This post brings my message home by sharing my experiences and practical knowledge from being a personal trainer from 2008-2015 after half a lifetime of sports bra struggles.

              I launched my health and fitness company CBetts Fitness in 2008 after a few years of working for a start-up at the time TRX, also known as Fitness Anywhere.   




              At TRX I had the opportunity to work with fitness and health professionals from around the world.  I was so inspired by what they were doing and the impact they were having on people’s lives that I quit my job and jumped on the fitness bandwagon.  I knew if I was ever going to work in the startup world again I wanted it to be for a product I created and for a problem I solved.  I realized working for someone else was not for me.

              So I took a leap of faith even though everyone around me thought I was crazy and I went for it. Being a personal trainer for me was a love/hate relationship.

              LOVED

                1. Changing people’s lives for the better
                2. Being able to be outside most day
                3. Ability to be active all day
                4. Working with motivated individuals

              DISLIKED

              1. Working with unmotivated clients and I found it terribly draining, because for better or worse, I am someone who easily absorbs the energy of those around me. (If you are a trainer here are some ideas for helping with this issue we all face.)
              2. The hardest part I found was the schedule. Most of my clients wanted to train before or after work.  Which meant my workday would begin at 5:00 AM and end most days around 8:00 PM.  Let’s just say this lead yet again to many hours in my sports bras.   

              Right around the time I was reaching a breaking point and considering other work options, I had an epiphany. The funny thing is - these very long hours were a constant reminder of something I have always been frustrated with as an athlete. The struggle of living in a compressive sports bra day in and out!  

              Being a trainer took it to another level.  Not only was I looking for function (i.e. support) I wanted to look cute and needed something I could comfortably wear all day.  I was constantly demonstrating for clients how to perform certain exercises and because I trained outdoors most of the time, I was constantly on the go from one location to another.

              I found myself every morning asking the same question.  Who am I training today? Will I need to demo and have the ability to run with them?  If the answer was no, I would wear a “comfortable/cute sports bra.”  If the answer was yes, I would put on my high impact bra which would start to hurt after about 1 hour of wearing but at least I wasn’t awkwardly demo-ing exercises with my boobs bouncing everywhere.  Having both comfort and support just wasn’t an option for me. This bra just didn’t exist.  In her article “Understanding a Woman’s Most Essential Fitness Accessory: The Sports Bra, Ellen breaks down quite well many of the issues with sports bra today.

              My life as a trainer taught me so many wonderful things and led me to studying neuroscience, natural movement & alternative health all of which inspired the idea to create a more supportive yet comfortable sports bra for women on the go.

              In this next part of this series I discuss how a condition I developed at age 16, Hashimoto’s disease (Hypothyroidism), added a whole other layer of challenges to my experiences as a competitive athlete, personal trainer and need for a better sports bras.  (Click here to read on)



              February 04, 2017

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              Sports Bra Struggles - As A College Soccer Player ( Part 2 of 7)

              In my previous post from this series, I discussed the hardships I experienced as a youth soccer player and the connection to sports bras. In this post I discuss how the problem progressed into something much worse as a collegiate soccer player.  From continued harassment, severe nerve pain, abrasions under my breasts that would bleed down my belly, to breathing difficulties that forced me to come off the field.

              INTERESTING FACT:A third of women experience breast pain during exercise, a stat that increases in lockstep with cup size.”

              Additionally a “2013 study found that the average bra size has increased from a 34B to a 34DD over 20 years, and female college athletic participation has increased by 600 percent over the same period.”

              Pretty crazy right?  Well although the participation has increased drastically, the odds of making it from being a high school soccer player to to playing soccer at a D1 level is 1.3%.

              I worked like crazy my whole life for this opportunity and I was so grateful and excited to play in college, as soccer has always been my life.  I knew it was going to be one of the toughest challenges I ever took on but I felt more ready than ever for it.

              As a college soccer player for better or worse the game and your team are your life. The challenges you go through together bond you in a way you could never imagine.  

              “Pre-Season training in Costa Rica with Lauren and Stacey. Little break before the madness began!

              From waking up as early as 5:00 AM for fitness training and tests to scrimmages at 7:00 PM with practice in the afternoon you had little time for anything else.  There were months where double days were a regular thing and weeks in pre-season where 3 training sessions a day was the norm, which lead to a lot of time in sweaty soccer gear.  

              I found myself rolling out of bed half asleep on my way to our early morning fitness sessions and then then rushing to my first class of the day with little time to change my clothes.  

              I lived in my sports bras and soccer gear as I was always in and out of training sessions. I saw little point in getting changed for the day to then just be changing back into my soccer gear an hour later, something most college athletes I think can relate to.

              Although it was hard to keep up with our rigorous schedule, I loved it.  Soccer was my outlet and way for me to express the best version of myself.  I have always found the game to be beautiful.  I could sit all day watching soccer without getting bored.  My friends and family will tell you that I would have made an amazing announcer, as I am always able to say what the broadcaster is about to say before he does.

              Now why am I telling you all this?  Well it’s because as much as I love soccer, I was up against some physical challenges.

              I did not have the typical physique for a college soccer player.  I was relatively petite yet with a large chest.  By the time I was in college my breasts were a 34DDD/F. Competing as often as we were, and with the level of intensity in which I was competing at, this excess weight in my chest began to take a toll on my body and was having an impact on my performance.  

              Due to the fact I was also wearing three sports bras on top of each other, known as “triple bagging,” I begun to develop severe neck and shoulder pain.  When I would rotate my head quickly in practice or a match it would often freeze and shoot pain to my brain like a brain freeze from drinking something cold to quickly.  This would happen pretty much everyday I was playing. There was a study that found breast discomfort is a leading reason women stop participating in sports. And in extreme cases, an ill-fitting bra can actually do nerve damage. Bra straps generally cross over the brachial plexus, the nerve bundle that sends impulses to and from the arm. Women who wear bras with too-tight straps can damage that bundle, causing pain and numbness.

              This is absolutely what was happening to me!  Additionally I developed severe burns under my breast from the abrasion & movement of the under band.  It would bleed so badly it oftentimes would start to show through our white jerseys or practice shirts and drip down my stomach.  

              I was already predisposed to being asthmatic and I quickly was realizing by wearing three compressive bras on top of each other it was exacerbating my breathing issues.  

              In this well researched article- Both Steele and White say there's a constant battle going on between controlling the bounce and making bras comfortable. You could squash the breasts tightly against the body, but that makes it hard to breathe.

               

              What is most discussed in sports bra articles is strain to the cooper’s ligament from excessive bounce in the chest. This strain can lead to pain & sagging of the breasts, turns out additional studies have found right sports bra can reduce this movement up to 83% and prevent damage to your breast, which can inevitably lead to sagging.

              These problems lasted all 4 years of college and as I went on to play semi-pro and compete for the Olympic Club in SF.  Then there was the challenge after games of actually being able to take off these compressive bras.  Once they were drenched in sweat they would stick to my body.  At times I would have to recruit teammates to help me take them off as the strain was too much for my fatigued body post training. 

              Olympic Club vs NYAC in NYC during our annual tournament

              Fast forward to 2008 when I began my personal training career and a new subset of problems arose.

              Keep reading to see where my experiences have led me to today

              February 03, 2017

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              Betts Fit ›   Blog ›   sports bra ›  


              Our Betts Fit EcoResolution

              At Betts Fit we believe that creating a product that offers a bona fide solution to a struggle that many women face can be accomplished while being environmentally conscious and socially responsible. View full article →
              January 28, 2017

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              Sports Bra Struggles- As A Youth Soccer Player (Part 1 of 7)

              The creation of the Betts Fit Sports Bra really came about due to 5 key experiences in my life! In this 7 part series I will be sharing with you my journey to creating our patented sports bra technology. I share this to inspire and educate!

              Imagine if you will it is the year 2000 just about 23 years after the first sports bra was developed which was made from 2 jockstraps sewn together. I am 16 years old and competing in a youth soccer tournament in Europe with my club team.   

              First Sports Bra ever created was in 1977

              Over that summer I went from being an B cup to a DD in no time. I barely even knew what a sports bra was or what boobs were. I was an athlete and to be honest a bit of a tomboy.  

              We had entered the finals of our youth soccer tournament an exciting feat as this was an elite tournament inviting top teams from all around the world. Nearing the end of the first half the game was neck and neck with about 10 minutes to go and parents on both sidelines were becoming very excited. I was running like a madwoman up and down the field in my usual right mid position, giving it my all. For a moment I thought I had gained a fan of one of the parents on the other team. He was yelling at me very loudly. At first I couldn’t make out what he was saying and then there it was, “boom cha, boom cha boom cha.”  I wondered, could he be yelling this at me because I am fat? What is this supposed to mean I wondered? And then I realized it. He was yelling boom cha because my breasts were not being supported properly. He was unrelenting! This continued until half time when I finally ran off the field in tears, completely embarrassed. My coach came to console me and took the time to run across the field and scold the dad (Mr Boom Cha) for humiliating me!  

              Sadly this was not an uncommon occurrence.  It even continued throughout college. I remember specifically a game against the university of Arizona. It was Halloween and the fraternity boys were out and about causing a raucous.  

              I guess being an outside midfielder didn’t help me much as I was always pinned close to the touchline and close to the fans on that side. It was deja vu all over.  But this time much worse. Together about 20-30 guys were yelling "boom cha" at me. My coach actually moved me to the play left mid to avoid the harassment. I actually was now used to wearing three sports bras on top of each other as I was a 34DDD/F. On this trip in particular, I forgot my extra sports bras and was just wearing one. Sigh.

              This has been an ongoing problem my whole life!  Turns out I am not alone.

              In a study issued by the University of Portsmouth, 46% of 2,000 young girls said their breasts were a barrier to participating in sport.

              Aimee Lewis discusses in article above how ten years ago it would have been difficult for women of cup sizes D and above to buy suitable sports bras, but there has since been an "explosion" in the market as manufacturers have grasped the need for good supportive, fashionable sports bras.

              I couldn’t agree more.  However it is clear there is still a problem. One researcher, Jenny White, conducted a study that used women runners from the 2013 London Marathon. Trying to get a more accurate read on bra performance and comfort level, Jenny White recruited 1,300 runners to participate in the study WHILE running the race—an obviously different simulation than simply running in a lab. The shocking reality? 75% of marathoners reported having issues during training with their sports bras.”

              It is clear to me after 16 years of struggles with sports bras and 5 years of in depth research that there was still a need for a better sports bra for athletic women.

              Continue on to my next post in this series to further understand my experience from youth sports to college sports, and why I have set out to create the most comfortable, supportive and adaptable sports bra ever made.

              December 31, 2016

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              Betts Fit ›   Blog ›   sports bra ›  


              Building A Business - Betts Fit 2016 Reflections

              Ever had one of those years that you look back on and think “wow what a ride, how did I possibly survive all of that”?  Well in reflecting on 2016, I can’t help but feel this way.

              Launching your own business is by no means all glitz and glamour. The stakes feel higher than you could ever imagine since in a way you are sharing a part of yourself with the world. Having thick skin is a must!

              On the business front, Betts Fit Sports Bra  launched our website for pre-orders in March. This was 3 years in the making from the start of the initial research and development phase, and finally came to fruition - a very exciting milestone for us.

              After much consideration and weighing the options, we moved production from Taiwan back to the US. Eventually setting up shop in Fresno, CA.

              Exciting news came in September when it was confirmed that our Utility Patent to protect our corset compression and three way adjustability was granted! This process began over 3 years ago and wasn’t a pleasant experience, so this news really meant the world to us.

              Soon after, Betts Fit Sports Bra was invited to audition for the show Shark Tank. Although we didn’t make it on the show this year (blessing in disguise), we will reapply next year with more knowledge, expertise and sales under our belt.

              In addition to creating a product, much effort goes into finalizing the materials that accompany it - selecting our labels, hang tags, shipping envelopes, etc. We made our final choices on materials (and couldn’t be happier), zippers, cord locks, cording, shoulder straps, bottom bands and corset tape. These all seem like minor things, but they take a lot of time and consideration. Many of these components had to be custom made, which took a lot of trial and error during development and testing.

              After all the materials were finalized, the most important item on the list of to dos was to perfect the fit of the Betts Fit Sports Bra. Our main goal above all is to deliver a product that is true to size. The majority of our time and effort towards the end of the year has been dedicated to fitting women of all sizes to ensure that the pattern cuts are accurate for each band and cup size.

              On a personal note I became engaged in late March, and married my husband in September. We moved to Tahoe, CA and bought a house. So much in so little time!

              Upon looking back, it was all positive stuff despite the chaos and stress of many moving parts. All in all, this was a wonderful and adventurous year.  

              The biggest lesson learned in 2016 was that you can’t go at anything in life alone. You are a product of who you spend the most time with, and your team is everything in business. For the past few years I have been riding this roller coaster of starting a new business mostly alone, yet always with the help of friends and family along the way.

              I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce I have a partner in crime now. Throughout this process, and especially post-launch, I realized I am too emotionally attached to my product and company. I am so fortunate to now have my dear friend (and former roommate), Lorin Suslow on board as a partner at Betts Fit. Lorin has been helping with social media, customer service requests, business plans and forecasting. Anyone who runs their own business knows the great importance of delegating to others in the areas you are most weak.

              New Year's Eve 2009!

              What are we looking forward to in 2017?

              When you operate a business that involves production, one word you become very familiar with in the process is... ROADBLOCKS! My hope is that after a year of managing and getting production underway, we will be able to limit many of the operational and manufacturing roadblocks that we have experienced in the past.

              I have learned some things are truly out of my control, and oftentimes when you are pursuing something for the first time - it won't go smoothly. You learn from the experience, and make sure to do better next time.

              I wish everything that we set out to do was always perfect on that first attempt, but the universe has a way of reminding us that there are, in fact, no perfect humans of businesses.

              What is in store for 2017?

              The fitting stage is almost complete, and we have started to selectively deliver certain band sizes. After some fore-mentioned roadblocks and production setbacks, we aim to finally have all our pre-orders to our customers by Feb. 28th. Feedback is essential during this phase, and we look forward to receiving it from all of our pre-order early supporters! Our hope is that our product will improve the lives of our customers by giving them more confidence and support.  

              We will be launching our nursing variation (which opens from the front) and attachable tank tops!

              Additionally, we will be holding fit parties for those who want to touch, feel and see the Betts Fit Sports Bra! Starting throughout Northern & Southern California to begin with at this time.

              Thanks for your early support. It meant the world to me in 2016. Happy New Year!

              Cheers,

              Catherine

              Size Chart

              THE BETTS FIT SPORTS BRA IS TRUE TO SIZE:

              However if you are between bands aim upwards they tend to run snug.

              FREE SHIPPING ALWAYS: 

              Don't love it?  Return or exchange for another size with easy pre-paid shipping labels and resealable envelopes. 

              BF GUARANTEE:

              We stand behind every sports bra we sell.  If a Betts Fit sports bra fails within 6 months of purchase, we will replace, repair or refund it for free.