I've been keen on sports since I was young. I believe it's been been a big part of shaping who I am today. I looked forward to sports at school, I enjoyed going to the gym (getting the classic red tomato face) and team sports brought a lot of new friends into my life. Furthermore, it helped me to develop my confidence and leadership skills, which transferred into my professional life. I hate the thought that some women out there are missing out on sports and exercise due to poor gear. I want to help women break down any barriers they have with exercise. This is why I started MAAREE.
How the curiosity started...
I was in my final year at Loughborough University when I really started paying more attention to sports bras. I started running a lot more and noticed that I could no longer get away with mediocre sports bras that I had in my existing wardrobe. They simply just didn't do the job! I needed to start thinking about them a lot more. When I was out shopping I was trying to figure out how one was better than another. Jumping up and down in a changing room was a the best test I could give them before buying one! Sound familiar?
Sports Bra Testing
After university ended, I was fortunate enough to become involved in testing and developing sports bras in the university's lab. Not only did I have in invested interest myself but it was a great opportunity to test bras for the top brands in the world. I spoke to all the women who participated in the trials. I learnt so much about what they were looking for and missing in their current sports bras. It became very apparent that so many women out there felt their sports bras were not good enough. Many of them felt like they had to 'make-do' with what was currently on the market. I also noticed that women's bra needs differed a lot depending on their bra size. It became clear how poor-performing apparel plays such a big part in female participation rates in sports. I could understand why, but it didn't sit right with me.
I did some research.
There is a big gap between the genders when it comes to participating in regular exercise. According to research conducted by Sport England, around 10% more men than women participate in exercise regularly in England, but 7.1 million women say they want to be more active. Women's relationship with physical activity can be complex, we can have practical and personal barriers in our way. We're afraid about how we might look, we're worried we're not fit enough, we're worried about trying something new if we don't know anyone and we have children, jobs and other personal commitments which take up time.
But I know, women can do anything we put our minds to. I want to help empower women to overcome their own barriers so that we can all realise and achieve our potential, to lead healthier, balanced and fuller lives. Knowing how much sport and exercise has given to me, I hate the thought of others missing out.
And so, MAAREE was born!
After much contemplation and leaving a job in London leading a team of testers in a top wearables company, I decided it was time for me to pursue my dream. To start the exciting (and scary!) journey of MAAREE. Finally, I get to bring to life the sports bra designs I've been playing around with for years and work on projects to enable women to be active without worries! I want to help build confidence and reduce the discomfort and irritation that many experience when exercising. All women out there should be able to rely on their gear to allow them to perform at their best.
Lastly, I've spent years connecting and listening to customers giving useful feedback about products, and I'm not about to stop with MAAREE. It is vital that your voices are heard so that we can provide products that work for you. You are an important part of this process, so don't shy away! We will provide you with the support you need so that you can be the best you, every day. Let's to show the world that we are a force to be reckoned with.
I look forward to joining you on your journey!
Mari, Founder of MAAREE