Let us introduce Mari Thomas, the Founder of a revolutionary new sports bra brand: MAAREE
Mari, from MAAREE, has just started her kickstarter campaign aiming for £6,250 to launch her new sports bra range. The MAAREE sports bras come in two styles:
In this interview, we talk to MAAREE about starting a new sports business, launching on kickstarter and the new innovations in her sports bra...
TELL US ABOUT YOUR TIME BEFORE MAAREE
I graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Sports Technology and was fortunate enough to immediately jump into the world of sports bra testing. I tested the performance of sports bras from a number from the top brands in the world. I have since gained further experience through leading the wearable testing department at TomTom in Central London. I was made redundant from TomTom at the end of last year when the company decided to exit the wearables market. I am now very excited to jump back into the world of sports bras and finally turn my designs into a reality and help solve a problem for many women out there.
WHY START MARREE?
I’ve been interested in sports since a young age, and I came to notice how important a role it played in my life. Not only from living a healthy lifestyle but for making friends, building confidence and developing life skills. However, so many women out there don’t feel they have the right tools or support needed to exercise worry-free and, therefore, aren’t as active as they want to be. The gender gap in exercise participation rates is still too big for my liking and so I want to help break down the barriers women have in their lives and provide the support they need.
It’s always been my dream to start my own sportswear brand and I’m a big advocate for female empowerment and equality. That is why my clothing designs are inspired by female-warriors. I’ve gained a lot of experience testing sports products and so it made sense for me to combine all these aspects and create MAAREE. I want women to see how we are developing, testing and growing the product range and to trust that what they are expecting from the product is what they get.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST PART ABOUT STARTING A SPORTS BUSINESS?
The hardest part so far is definitely trying to spread the word out there about a new product. Being a start-up and someone who has never started a business before it’s a very steep learning curve for me. But I’m not afraid to make mistakes, so I am always willing to try anything! I attend as many events as I possibly can, talk to as many women as I can and also start discussions with others who have started businesses. We’re all in the same boat and people are more willing to speak with you and share their experiences than you realise.
But to be honest, I’ve fully enjoyed my entire journey so far with MAAREE. It’s so great to be able to combine your passion with your vocation, so I don’t feel I’ve ever had a bad day at the office.
TELL US WHAT'S SPECIAL OR UNIQUE ABOUT MAAREE SPORTS BRAS?
MAAREE’s sports bras incorporate Overband® Technology, also developed by us. The Overband® is curved panel that runs over the top of the breasts, to provide extra support and reduce upward motion when exercising. It is specially designed to distribute the pressure across the breasts whilst offering a pleasing silhouette. So no unwanted lumps and bumps appearing where they shouldn’t!
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH SUCH AN INNOVATIVE SPORTS BRA DESIGN?
I spent a year and a half prior to the launch developing and perfecting the sports bra design, and in particular, the Overband®construction. This involved creating and amending at-home prototypes, going out for a run to test the improvements and comparing them to other market-leading designs. I’ve held focus group nights to get opinions and feedback from other women to ensure I am creating something that will not only solve a problem but also look good.
With my background in sports bra testing I’ve always had an abundance of sports bras in my cupboard, so I'm a bit of a connoisseur on the subject. But you can be sure that I will be testing our bras under lab conditions and on a range of different women. We will then use these findings and results to develop the collection further. I will also share images and news on testing as they happen through MAAREE’s social media accounts and newsletters.
SOUNDS GREAT, WHERE CAN PEOPLE BUY THEM?
We are live on Kickstarter now from 31stMay – 3rdJuly.
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW?
On our very first collection, MAAREE is proudly collaborating with the breast health charity CoppaFeel! for their #BraHijack campaign to help raise awareness of the early detection of breast cancer.
You will find a CoppaFeel! tag in each sports bra to remind users to check their breasts on a regular basis.
HOW CAN WE FIND OUT MORE?
Join the anti-movement movement!
Our Stay Abreast newsletter: www.maaree.com/#newsletter