On this week’s Leveling the Playing Field, Bobbi-Sue interviews Sally Bergesen, CEO & Founder of Oiselle. Sally is known in the running world as a loud voice for change, whether it be regarding how female athletes are sponsored or the rules regarding brand recognition during high profile events. Make sure you subscribe, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, and RadioInfluence. com. Next week, we have Denise White, CEO of EAG Sport Management.
- Sally grew up in Berkley, CA during the 70s in a progressive family. Her father was a civil rights and prisoner’s rights attorney in Mississippi and then San Francisco. The family encouraged the outspoken and activist nature that is Sally’s calling card.
- Bobbi-Sue and Sally discuss the current political climate briefly and OMG how did they not see each other at the Women’s March in DC!?
- How Sally went from maybe thinking of going to law school to creating Oiselle.
- Both Sally and Bobbi-Sue love the Boston Marathon and have never run it. Bobbi-Sue shares her expo shopping problem.
- What makes Oiselle different from other companies in the space? The Oiselle Manifesto, sponsorships more like partnerships, and community.
- Track and Field athlete contracts and the marketability of pregnant athletes.
- Enclothed Cognition.
- Need for athlete activism for change in the track and field world including related to the Ted Stevens Act and Rule 40
- Doping in Track and Field.
- Fun Oiselle products: Woman Up collaboration, Cat lady racerback bra [dead serious], Bridesmaid dress, Wedding Dress
- Runners are VERY weird.
- Sally and Bobbi-Sue are essentially the same person (but obviously not): Wit, brown hair, love of sleep and importance thereof. Also neither drinks and why.
- Girls on Track sports bra program for middle school girls.
- Throughout the conversation, Sally imparts tidbits of wisdom and quotes including:
- “We gotta show up for each other when we can.”
- On running: “I… just didn’t love it…”
- Her childhood response to her dad choosing civil rights work vs corporate work: “Well… money sounds fun…”
- Regarding her love of fashion and design: “I have a deep connection to the respect that goes into a garment and how that translated to the respect I was giving myself when I put it on my body.”
- Having a business idea and sitting on it for three years: “You just never know… things germinate in your brain. And sometimes they just need to grow there for a while.”
- On naming the company Oiselle: “Kind of a quirky name is… a good thing. Even though it might be awkward when people see it and they don’t know how to pronounce it. It’s one of those things where when you do know how to pronounce it or you hear someone say it and you know how to say it, you’re in the club.”
- And: “The more unique your name, the more ownable it is from a trademark standpoint.”
- And: “It’s very hard to love a name when you haven’t owned it. Kind of like a baby when you first hold it and you’re like ‘I think you’re Fred?’ And then he’s Fred!”
- Final ask of listeners: Sally wants women to consider their own unconscious bias towards other women.
Extra Credit Reading:
- “How I Get It Done: Sally Bergesen, CEO of Running-Apparel Company Oiselle” (The Cut)
- “The Woman Who Took On Nike with Running Shorts” (Outside)
- “A Space of Our Own: A Proposal to Make a Living” (Ask Lauren Fleshman)
- “Off Track: Former Team Members Accuse Famed Coach Alberto Salazar of Breaking Drug Rules” (ProPublica)
- “Paula Radcliffe: Erasing World Records Would ‘Punish Athletes Twice'” (BBC)