I remember sitting across from a world-class bra designer who worked for one of the biggest brands that you know well. I was working by day as a consultant, and by night, trying to solve my bra problem.
So here I sat, across from this accomplished bra designer, who, by the way, I was paying $150 an hour (more than I was making hourly in my day job), as she told me, “bras have always been designed with an underwire. Unless you’re using compression, like a sports bra, you have to have a wire to get that lift and separation.”
I remember thanking her as she headed out that night. And thinking to myself, “why am I paying this ‘expert’ all this money, only to tell me that what I aim to do is impossible?”
We met a few more times after that, but soon I wrapped up our engagement.
Some months later, I filed what would become my first granted US utility patent for the EB Core™. And today, my biggest problem is figuring out how to make EB bras faster so we don’t sell out.
I think about Evelyn & Bobbie… a lot. I have an actual baby now, who is toddling around, squawking at me and – in this latest phase – reliably screaming anytime I leave the room. But EB was my first baby.
As my company grows and grows, with our amazing customers telling their friends and family about us daily, sometimes – like right now – when my baby is rocking gently in my hubby’s arms, I sit back and reflect on what this company means to me.
EB has meant to me: Freedom from neck and shoulder pain. Stronger, lifted posture. One bra for everything I do in the day. Everything I always wanted from a bra, I now have.
But this company has also taken on powerful symbolism for me.
On my entrepreneurial journey, people told me over and over that ‘if there was a better alternative to the underwire, someone would have thought of it in the last 90 years’.
Now, I’m not the smartest lady in the world. Or the most creative. But I am pretty damn stubborn. And I just couldn’t accept that the underwire was the best that modern design had to offer. I hated the divots in my shoulders, and in my mother’s shoulders, and the feeling of wanting to tear my bra off the second I walked in the door.
And now? For me, and countless other women, that underwire problem just… isn’t a problem anymore.
Women have put up with the “pink tax” on products (take a product created through the male gaze, paint it pink, and charge more for it) for so long. We are underfunded in research, underestimated in the world of design and engineering, and underrepresented in corporate leadership. Yes, sadly, that is all still true.
But I’m here to tell you that solving a simple, daily problem that women face is possible. My experience has been so simple (and so complex): I saw a problem. I wouldn't accept no for an answer. And I solved the damn thing. In a way that is really… obvious in a lot of ways. I took modern materials – lamination and 4-way stretch – and made a comfy 3D shelf for my boobs. And for your boobs. And threw away that stupid wire. And you know what? No one else had made anything quite like the EB Core™ before. (And thanks to my patents, no one else will, for a long time.)
Simple, elegant, scalable solutions for the problems we face everyday… they are possible. And you might just be the person to do it.
If you have an idea, hold it dear. Believe in it. Give it time to grow. Get help from people you trust. (And forgive those close to you who might doubt you. They only want to keep you safe.)
Solutions are possible. I found one small solution for boobs. But the bigger lesson is pretty grand. I’ll teach my daughters and nieces never to give in to “the inertia of bad ideas”. Things that don’t make sense, and don’t serve us, have a pesky way of sticking around, generation after generation.
Creativity, curiosity, hard work, optimism, tenacity. That, my girls, is the recipe for discovery. And it’s in me. It’s in you. It’s in all of us.
Go get ‘em.