It was almost exactly seven years ago that I was given the opportunity to work at Oiselle. An opportunity that I honestly had doubts would happen after Sally asked "Do you run?" Valid question for someone applying to work directly in designing, fitting, and testing the function of the apparel. Was I a runner though? No. But I'm passionate about apparel, love learning new skills, and thrive with taking on challenges. Sally took a chance on me and I took a chance on running.
See, I'm no size 4 (more like a size 8), I'm not fast, and honestly thought something was wrong because running did not feel natural at first. It took awhile for my love for running to grow, but one thing I've learned about running is you can make what you want out of it - you just have to take that first step. Size doesn't matter, pace is only important if you want it to be, and the challenges never end - accomplish one goal, work towards the next. A lot of this is similar to designing - size shouldn't be a deciding factor, you can't rush the process, and you can either play it safe or you can continue to challenge yourself.
When the discussion first came up to extend our sizing, I'm not going to lie - I was nervous. It was something that I didn't have experience in, but wanted so badly to not only do it, but to do it right. I've been in the apparel industry for 14 years now, but my background was in snowboard apparel, followed by children's apparel, so where to start?
First, I reached out to a local running coach - one thing with Oiselle is everything is designed around our athletes so it only made sense to reach out directly to the athletes we wanted in the apparel. The outpouring of responses were humbling and made it even more clear how important this was. Women came in and shared their stories, shared pros and cons of the apparel they were currently running in, shared thoughts and ideas of what they wished we would offer.
After compiling all of this information, we started designing, editing, fitting, and sending our athletes out to test the apparel. They wore their gear to the gym, out on daily runs, races, and Ragnars. They emailed any comments they had which we revisited when we met again in person. We then made edits and started the process again.
With all the work that's gone into this collection, I'm so excited with what we've just launched! While we're not pretending to have all of the answers, we are committing to listening, learning, and continuing to grow our line. You can't learn without trying and you can't run without taking that first step - this is our step.