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The Origin Story of Wambas
I am a stubborn and enthusiastic person by nature. And I have this habit of, when there’s something I need and I’m unable to find a solution that exactly meets my requirements, I jump in head first and try to do it myself. Often to the dismay of my husband, Kevin (definitely the better half, together 11 happy years, God bless him;)).
There was the time I remodeled the dirt plot in the backyard backyard into a recycled concrete patio by myself... over one weekend. I have never been so sore in my life, and I may have strained most of the tendons in my fingers, hands, and arms from all of the heavy lifting and shoveling, but I got the exact result I wanted, and saved a couple thousand dollars by doing it myself. Worth it!
There was also the time I had been searching for one of those cute cabinets that conceals an unsightly litterbox. Only problem was our cat was much larger than a typical house cat, and therefore his litterbox was much too large for any of the cabinets on the market. I took some measurements, drew up some sketches, and headed to Home Depot.
I purchased some power tools and a huge slab of wood and got to work in our tiny apartment. Armed with my new jig saw and swim goggles (safety first), I went to work and put together a large cabinet with a little opening for the cat, and a hinged door on the top. Maybe not crafstmanship quality, but it was exactly what I needed!
What on earth does this have to do with sports bras?
I bring all of this up to explain how, with no background in fashion or design, I decided to launch a sports bra company. I may have had no experience in the fashion industry, but as a consumer, I knew exactly what I needed and was unable to go out and buy it anywhere.
I’m a serious runner, and I have never found a sports bra on the market that has and does everything I need it to. There are the basic requirements I have for a sports bra of course, and that it is comfort and support, but there was more that I wanted out of a bra as well.
I train for marathons almost year round, which means that on many of my runs, I am carrying some or most of the following items: energy gels, my ID in case of emergency, a CC in case I get super hungry mid run and decide to stop for food (it’s happened), and my phone for music/podcasts or in case I decide to bail on the run and call an Uber (it’s happened).
Several years ago, I used to wear one of those fuel belts to carry all these items around, but it would always bounce around and bruise my hip bones and chafe my skin. It also felt cumbersome and dorky. I also used to wear an armband to carry my phone, but anytime I ran more than 10 miles, it would not only give me a terrible tan line, but it would cause painful chafing. It was also hard to get my phone in and out of the armband when I wanted to skip an annoying song or take a photo on the run.
So, I was hopeful when I started to find shorts, tanks, and some other bras that had pockets for storage. The problem was that none of the available options covered everything I wanted and needed for storage. They either:
1. Couldn’t hold everything I needed (image of gels, pepper spray, CC, ID, phone, something silly)
2. My items were not easily accessible while running
3. Did not hold the items securely enough, especially when running fast or down technical trails
4. Location of the pockets looked or felt awkward when filled with my items
I knew what I needed was a comfortable sports bra that would
1. Be supportive enough for the marathon and beyond,
2. Have enough storage space to hold my phone and any other on the run essentials I may have (gels, cards, key, pepper spray, etc),
3. Pocket located in the front of the bra where it would be accessible as well as store the items with the least amount of distortion/not interfere with arm swing.
4. Lined with a material to block any potentially harmful EMF waves from my phone from reaching my breasts
It was something I knew I needed, and wanted to create, but didn’t even know where to start.
Enter the first friend I ever made in LA over 10 years ago, Marissa. She too is a serious athlete and mom who has been continuously disappointed with the current sports bra options on the market. I shared my idea with her and she was passionate about making it happen.
Marissa had the contacts in the fashion district and the knowledge of apparel production that I lacked. She brought enthusiasm and confidence to the idea, and it was the light that ignited our mission
Hi! Marissa here. Like Jess said, I have been an athlete my whole life, and have often struggled with sports bras. In order to achieve the support I needed, I often had to buy a bra that was so tight, getting out of it was like escaping a straightjacket… and if it was an upper body day and my arms were sore, then I was trapped!
Too tight, too stretchy, too basic; it seemed like a sports bra should be so easy to make, yet no one was getting it right.
Like most women, especially new-ish moms, my casual wardrobe has become dominated by leggings. I love leggings because they help to hold in my belly (especially my newest addition, the "C-section shelf") and help me feel comfortable and confident whether I'm lifting weights or lighting my babies, running errands or running on the treadmill. Leggings are essential in my opinion for moms. The problem??? NO POCKETS!
How am I supposed to hold a two year old, chase a 3 year old, and not shatter my brand new iPhone? I was constantly shoving my phone in my bra strap, often dropping it, and always worried that it was getting too sweaty and would break. I bought an expandable belt to hold my phone on runs, and it worked ok, but often bounced so hard that I got a bruise on my hip.
As a lacrosse coach, I need to have my phone on me in case of emergencies, but it doesn't conveniently hang around my neck like my whistle. So I was constantly putting it down, hoping it wouldn't get crushed by a ball or by someone accidentally stepping on it with cleats. DItto for my car key, which often got lost in the turf. I also use an online system to keep track of attendance and important team stats and data, and so I needed to have quick access to my phone and couldn't just leave it on the sidelines in a backpack.
So one afternoon, while commiserating over the sports bra situation with IPAs and Jersey Mikes, while our combined four kids, all ages 1-6 years old ran loose in the yard, we mapped out our ideas, a business plan, and even the name of our company… and this is where Wambas was born (no one can multitask like moms!)
Our athletic backgrounds and goals may be completely different, however as women, we know what we want, need, and deserve from our sports bras. We are so happy to be working together to create just that, the perfect bra that has our needs and wishes in mind.
This has been a crazy and exciting journey so far, and we know we are just getting started. We're excited to document and share as we learn and grow.