TheWMarketplace not only provides a platform for women’s businesses, it also supports women’s causes. The Sports Bra Project, headed by Sarah Dwyer-Shick, is one of our favorites. The Sports Bra Project increases access to sports for women and girls by providing athletes who don’t have access to sports bras with this basic piece of equipment. Sarah has had a long career as an athlete and coach, and started her non-profit organization after working in soccer in the US and abroad and noticing this barrier to participation that she felt could be overcome. We caught up with her recently to ask a few questions.

Why motivated or inspired you to start The Sports Bra Project?

After spending my career working in sports and noticing that something as simple as not having a sports bra could prevent girls from participating was eye opening. While no one organization can address all the potential cultural, logistical and financial barriers to sports participation, addressing one by providing access to this basic piece of equipment was something that I, and a growing network of women working in sports, could do that would have an immediate impact.

How long have you been in business and has your business changed since you started it?

The Sports Bra Project started informally in 2015 when I brought about 30 sports bras with me on a trip to Namibia. In February of 2020 we received 501(c)(3) status. During the first few years of the project drives and shipments of sports bras were relatively small – 30 to 100 on average. These have steadily grown and we have had entire college athletic departments host drives. We recently provided a shipment of 1,000 new sports bras to a U.S. based organization that serves programs in areas where sports access is limited due to economic factors. To date more than 7,000 sports bras have been donated and have been distributed to organizations in more than 25 countries.

What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you started your business?

How quickly a modest hobby/passion project could grow. We were less than a year in when we realized how much the simple mission of The Sports BraProject resonated across geography, sports, ages and levels of play.

What has been the most challenging thing about getting your business up and running?

With a background in coaching and sports management, navigating the nonprofit world has come with a steep learning curve for me. I am incredibly grateful to all who have shared their expertise and guidance in this area. We would not be where we are today without their support and commitment to the project.

Can you identify a moment in your business that was pivotal in your success? Have you had an “AHA!” moment(s)?

I think it was when I began getting calls and emails from organizations that we had no direct ties to about hosting sports bra drives or wanting to connect in other ways.

What has been the most exciting or rewarding part of owning your own business?

Being able to navigate and implement ideas quickly has been refreshing. Knowing that what I do has an immediate impact on athletes and how The Sports Bra Project does is both exciting and a little daunting.

>> Learn more about The Sports Bra Project and Donate Today!

Her Story Q&A: Sarah Dwyer-Shick, Founder of The Sports Bra Project

Her Story Q&A: Sarah Dwyer-Shick Founder of The Sports Bra Project