Entrepreneur Mom Q&A: Sara Moylan, Creator of the Shefit Sports Bra May 14 2017
Sara Moylan, creator and founder of Shefit
Spouse: Robert Moylan, also works at Shefit ("We don't really have official titles around here; if you were to put our titles underneath our names, it would be a very, very long list.")
Kids: Jada, 11; Lauren, 8; Teegan, 6, and Vivia, 3
Why is the Shefit bra special?
Because we have patented and unlimited adjustability in the shoulder strap and in the bust band, the wearer can basically set her own level of support and customize her own fit. You also get compression with encapsulation, which gives you separation, so you don't get the uniboob. Our bra also zippers in the front. Zippers are not new, but the nice thing is that a zipper bra is really easy to get on and off, which is good if you have mobility issues or have had different kinds of surgeries. But in general it's nice when you can just unzip a bra because a sports bra can be really hard to get off when you're sweaty. As you go up and down in size—whether it's a weight change, you're growing with pregnancy or you're breastfeeding and you go up and down in size depending on when your milk is in—you can make adjustments. And you can undo the front straps and pull the front part down, so you can breastfeed too.
What's the importance of wearing the right bra?
When your breasts are lifted and in the position that you want them to be, your posture is better, you walk better, you look like you've lost a little bit of weight. We want women of all ages, all sizes and all athletic levels to feel empowered, strong and confident. When you put on the right bra, you feel like you can accomplish anything.
Where did you get the idea for Shefit?
I never had any intention of starting a business. I was trying to solve my own problem. I was wearing two and three sports bras at a time. It was super uncomfortable, and I couldn't get the adjustability I wanted. I found myself pulling the excess where the straps were around my neck and securing it with a rubber band, and I did the same thing around the back where the rib band was. I looked funny and was completely self-conscious. Plus, I was in a lot of pain. Eventually, I took a couple of very-adjustable bras and cut them up—I'm not a sewer so I used a needle and thread and hot glue for everything. I made my own contraption and wore it, and it was still better than anything else I'd ever tried. I took it to the local seamstress and asked her to make me something similar, and I wore that prototype for years. Finally, it dawned on me that other women had the same problem.
What made you realise this could be a business?
Every single time I got in my car and left the gym—or just went anywhere—I saw other women running, and they were just bouncing uncontrollably. That's when I just knew I had to do something. In 2011, while I was still working in pharmaceutical sales, I started working with a local seamstress out of Bay City who does dance-recital costumes, and I drove two hours a few times a week for three years just to work on my patterns. I made the bras and handed them out to friends and family and got feedback.
What was the hardest part of the development process?
Still, to this day, one of the biggest hurdles is manufacturing. It's not like a typical bra, so it's hard to find someone to manufacture it in the United States. Manufacturers that were interested in it wanted us to change everything about it that made it different.
How did you find your funding?
We launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2013. We met half of our goal in the first few days of launching the campaign.
Your first big break?
The Doctors mentioned us, and one of Weight Watchers's online editors tweeted it, and we sold out of our first product quite fast—we had people waiting months and months to get it. That actually put us off to a slow start. The whole last year has been sort of a soft launch for us. In July of this year, we were featured on the Today show, and our product just came in—thousands of units, finally. After being featured, we've picked up 17 NCAA accounts, and about 20 new retailers are going to put us in their stores.
You have four daughters. Do they help in the business at all?
We say our global headquarters is our unfinished basement. It's very efficient. The girls bag and tag and help with shipping. We try to have them participate as much as they can. They're still young, but I think as a mom it's important to show them how to be passionate and driven in everything that you do. I'm porud that we try to have our daughters see all aspects of the business that we possibly so we can set some good examples for them and hopefully raise businesswomen.
What's on the horizon for Shefit?
We have a lot of work cut out for us to make the impact I know our company can have on women. We're all about supporting them and trying to be relevant in the way that no one else is talking to them. What's at our core is understanding the essence of a woman. We want to touch the younger girls too, the ones who are body-image conscious because they're a bit more developed and it's holding them back from trying out for the soccer team. Everybody starts with one product, and this is our flagship product. We hope to take this patented adjustability and parlay that into a plethora of different styles of bras.