Regular IAYB readers know that I have a soft spot for anything related to lingerie – it’s my inner burlesquer. So when Amanda Lehto got in touch to tell me about her push-up sports bra, she got my full attention. A bra that can go straight from the yoga studio to the burlesque club (not an unusual trajectory in my social life)? Yes, please!
TOMgirl’s wireless sports bra has many other things going for it: adjustable sizing which makes it perfect for pregnant and/or active women; available in sizes A through G cup; functional velcro fastener; created by an entrepreneurial mom; and handmade in the USA.
Amanda answered a few questions about her product and demystifies the process of bra design in this little Q&A interview.
There are two styles of TOMgirl bras: a pregnancy bra and a “yoga bra.” How did you discover the bra worked during yoga? And why would women need a special bra for yoga?
I created the bra as a “wear everywhere” bra with comfort and support in mind. I wanted a bra that could take you through all of your daily activities, yoga being one of them. While practicing yoga, comfort and support are key. You don’t want any uncomfortable materials getting in the way of your concentration and relaxation. Essentially, you want to forget you are wearing it.
You came up with the idea for the bra while you were pregnant, and launched your business during your second pregnancy. How do you balance motherhood and running a small business?
Balancing motherhood and running a small business is extremely challenging. I am so passionate about my business that I literally think about it every second of the day, but there are times in life when you need to stop, breathe, and have a tea party with a four year old. I also practice yoga and it really helps me to focus, relax, and relieve stress.
Apparently you studied suspension bridges while you were researching the bra. How did you come up with the design, and what else inspired it?
After studying bra construction and many aspects of support in general, I ordered almost every bra I could find. I took them all apart and questioned everything. I kept parts I liked and threw out parts I hated. What I found was that if you have a strong support from the band, the underwires are unnecessary, even for larger sizes. The molded cup helps give shape. One of the biggest inspirations was men’s underwear. I’ve always loved the image of “tighty whities” and the comfort they provide. So the visual aspect was modeled after that.
TOMgirl bras are manufactured in the USA. Why did you make this decision?
Originally I made the bras myself! I didn’t have a giant budget to order huge quantities pre-manufactured overseas. I had no choice but to make them myself. As my business grew, I decided that it would be a better choice to hire seamstresses here and keep production in the US rather than source out the production. I have more control over the product and more freedom to quickly make changes or add new products than if I were outsourcing. Another big factor in this decision was being able to hire seamstresses who are in the same position as me, wanting a flexible schedule while helping provide for their family. That has been very rewarding.
TOMgirl Apparel is an IAYB sponsor.