Why I brought my daughter on my London work trip

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Sorry to start off as a Debbie Downer, here, but did you know that the investment money raised by female founders went down 53% in a year-over-year comparison between first quarter 2023 and the equivalent period in 2022? (Read more here.) What’s worse, is that is already less than 2.1% of total capital invested. 

As many of you know, our oldest daughter Maezy is thirteen years old. She is an avid reader. She is friendly, curious, outgoing, and fierce. She is kind and thoughtful and thinks critically about the world around her. Maezy can—and will—do whatever she sets her mind to in this life.

And knowing that, I also know that many of the things she will do have formidable, gendered statistics that serve as a headwind to her ambitions. 

The older I get, the more I have come to see that what we do here at Evelyn & Bobbie is different – and really special. It started with a vision for a better bra, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s become something much bigger than just bras. That feels good. 

I want our kids to grow up with the belief that finding creative solutions to age-old problems can come with great reward.

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So more and more, I’m giving Maezy opportunities to see directly what it looks like to be a female leader of a female-centric product company. I brought her to London this last trip so she could get even more exposure to what happens behind the scenes.

Here are some highlights:

When I started Evelyn & Bobbie, I was inspired by the technical innovation of companies like Under Armour and Nike, which is why I moved to Portland, OR (where all those companies are based). You may not know that we share our entire supply chain with Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. Except we've applied the leading-edge technical fabrication methods to create everyday essentials that blend softness with remarkable support, delivering lift and separation similar to an underwire for your daily comfort.The result is truly “forgettable” bras and underwear. (Goodbye pain, goodbye daily discomfort.) Seeing how few options women have in the UK left me even more excited about Evelyn & Bobbie’s opportunity in Europe.

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  • Maezy got to meet a wide range of fierce women: from our PR guru, to retail experts, to off-the-wall journalists. She saw how hard our all-female team of consultants came together to create real momentum and magic around Evelyn & Bobbie as part of an initial launch in London. She got to listen in on, and participate in, high-level press interviews.
  • I talked a lot about the power of invention in my UK press interviews and what it can mean to create real intellectual property. She heard me share what it was like to have a novel idea for something totally against          the status quo; what it was like to be told over and over that it would never work; and how I nurtured my idea anyway. She knows how close to death this company came in the early days; and how tenaciously we                    persevered.
  • We got to balance work with fun. One of the things I did not get right early on in leading this company was balance. I worked fourteen to sixteen-hour days, sometimes more than six days a week. I would tell myself “if this company doesn’t make it, it won’t be because I didn’t work my absolute hardest.” And it took me years to learn that tending to your humanity (you know…food, doctor’s appointment, fresh air, laughter) leads to          better decision making and being a better leader. My business really started taking off when I started taking  care of myself.
  • Maezy got to meet a wide range of fierce women: from our PR guru, to retail experts, to off-the-wall journalists. She saw how hard our all-female team of consultants came together to create real momentum and magic around Evelyn & Bobbie as part of an initial launch in London. She got to listen in on, and participate in, high-level press interviews.
  • When you wear a properly fitting Evelyn & Bobbie bra, your “long-line” band sits low on your torso. It hugs the bottom of your ribs. That, combined with wide-set straps, puts the load of your bust on your skeleton and core muscles. That feels like “ahhhh,  I feel two inches taller!”
  • Your underwire is sitting on breast tissue. This is actually a big deal. Not good. I can’t tell you how many 32DDD customers I have seen over the years that have been told by retailers that they are a 36C. They sport a band that is too loose and a wire that sits on top of breast tissue at the center front, side boob, or both. Now, don’t get me started on the lack of research evaluating the impact that wearing underwire bras has on our breast health (I can and will go on for days…), but we absolutely do know that no wire should be sitting on breast tissue.
  • Ok, you know what’s coming next... Hey, I’ve got an idea: how about we ditch that underwire all together and simply wear soft, flexible garments that move with our body?? It’s time.
  • You’ve gotten used to daily bra pain. When I started this company, my mom had permanent divots in her shoulders from narrow bra straps. Most women have ten to twenty bras in their drawer and only regularly wear one or two of them. Usually the most worn-out ones; the ones you can tolerate. But that does not mean they are comfortable, healthy, or supportive of healthy posture.
  • If you have divots in your shoulders from bra straps, it’s time to switch to healthier bras. (I know a lady…)

3. Brits are just as confused about bra sizing as we are.

Did you know that in the UK, there is a G, a GG, and an H? Their band-and-cup sizing (e.g. “36C”) is different than ours, but equally as confusing for the customer. Did you know that band and cup sizing has never been and still is not standardized? It was created by a husband and wife team in 1933 by a company called Camp & Co. And it’s been a non-standardized riddle ever since. I remember in the early days of Evelyn & Bobbie when we 3D scanned hundreds of women at scanning parties to better understand what our bodies actually looked like three dimensionally, so that we could design for the diverse way that our differences actually present. I remember standing back and looking at a wall that had images of thirty “36C” bodies all pinned up in a grid. They were the same anatomically, but boy-oh-boy was it wild to see how differently the same measurements could be in terms of volume distribution and torso shape. That’s why we designed Evelyn & Bobbie bras to have a built in “exoskeleton” support that doesn’t stretch out as much as the four way stretch that surrounds it. That allows us to fit 114 confusing traditional sizes in seven easy sizes, XS – 3XL, while still providing amazing support.

Maezy is sitting next to me on the plane as I wrote this.

I asked her for a quote: 

“I liked being with strong females. I could tell that if anyone ever told these women ‘No’ about something they were confident they could do, they’d never let that stop them. I can’t imagine Fiona (our PR lead) or any of these women being told by someone that she can’t do something that she knew needed doing.”

This last week in London was gorgeous. All the holiday lights glisten and sparkle as it gets dark (by 4:30pm!) I filled an entire bag with Christmas Pudding, Rose & Violet creams, and the finest Earl Grey tea. There are a lot of things that I admire about the attention to detail and high standards seen in European products. And with those high standards top of mind, I’m so excited to share Evelyn & Bobbie with women in the UK.

 For your friends and family across the sea, they can start to order Evelyn & Bobbie in January. And we’ll keep you posted on our further expansion to key retailers as well. 

Watch out world.

Here comes comfort.

And she’s right!

I’d love to hear from you, dear reader, how you think about mentoring the next generation. What have you seen? What have you learned? 

From somewhere over the Atlantic with love,