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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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