SNEWS Qs: Oiselle CEO discusses why women and women's products rule

SNEWS Qs: Oiselle CEO discusses why women and women's products rule

New women's-only brands seem to be launching every season. Sally Bergesen, CEO at women’s running apparel brand Oiselle, said women rule — and that’s why so many female-oriented brands have popped up in recent years.


Women do indeed control a majority of the global spending power, and they’re seeking out products that are stylish and comfortable.

Bergesen, who founded Oiselle because she was done with "poofy" running shorts, said she followed her passion in launching a women’s-only brand. She also aims to encourage competition and ambition while delivering a product that looks good and performs well.

Bergesen talks with SNEWS about trends we should expect to see in fall 2014, what she feels are important supply-chain issues and what challenges she’s faced since launching her business.

What are some of the trends in women's running apparel that we should expect to see for fall 2014?
More translucent fabrics that are both lightweight for performance and visually interesting for style. More interesting seamless designs and garments. New fabrics with unique textures and performance qualities

Why do you think there has been an increase in the number of women's-only brands in recent years?
Because women rock and rule.

What does Oiselle offer that other women's brands don't?
We call our brand "feminine fierce" and it's what sets us apart. The combining of grace and beauty in design — with the edge of competition and fire in athletic goals, ambition. Many women's brands nail the first part, but shy away from the second. Our notion is that you can have both. We need both.

Tell us about the history of your company?
It all started with wanting non-poofy running shorts and has simply grown from there. But great product is just the beginning. We're where we are today because we've had the good fortune of building a team that is completely passionate about what they do and want to go to the moon.

Tell us about the significance of your name?
Oiselle is French for bird. From a business and brand standpoint, it's unique, memorable, ownable. From a story standpoint, it equals freedom and flight — the emotional power of running for so many women, myself included.

What have been some of the challenges in starting this business?
You name it: Hiring, firing, sourcing, creating, moving, boxing, shipping and still being sane and present for family.

How has it grown over the years?
Everything has grown and changed – most for the better. Having a business is like having a child. You see it go through all its stages, from infancy to the gangly teenage years. I feel like Oiselle is just starting to come out of that. She's a young woman now on the verge of a very interesting life.

What is the best piece of business advice you've gotten?
Keep going — best running advice. too.

What is it you love most about running this business?
Having a family; we call it #runfamily.

What are some of the issues that are important to you?
If you're not interested in starting a business, maybe think about the companies you purchase from. I used to be the worst at this — shopping by price, where cheaper equaled better. Now that I've learned more about the industry, and the realities of factories and sourcing, I care a lot more about where the products I buy come from. One of the most unfortunate trends right now, in my opinion, is "fast fashion" — the H&Ms of the world. There's a reason the product is so inexpensive, and most consumers don't want to look beneath the surface. On the flip side, there are a ton of companies that are doing well by doing right from denim, like Nudie Jeans, to outerwear, like Patagonia, to lingerie like Hanky Panky.



SNEWS Qs: Freewaters CEO John Vance talks issues and innovation

Every outdoor footwear company aims to make great shoes. But Freewaters Footwear is the brainchild of two friends from California – Eli Marmar and Martin Kim – who wanted to do a bit more. SNEWS recently picked the brain of Freewaters CEO John Vance, previously of Raichle more


SNEWS Qs: New BH CEO talks background, challenges

BH North America recently appointed Bob Whip to CEO after Steve Lindenau was tapped to lead BH Bikes. Whip brings more than 25 years of experience to the post, having served previously as president of Johnson Health Tech Wellness and Leisure, and Horizon Fitness, after more


SNEWS Qs: SportsArt CEO says going green, functional fitness are the top trends

Scott Sechrest said he's never worked a day in his life. That’s what happens when you do what you love in an industry where you feel at home. He suspects his streak of happy employment will continue in his new role as CEO at SportsArt. “I’ve grown up in the industry — more


SNEWS Qs: Nicholas Pugh, president and CEO of

Nicholas Pugh President and CEO What are some of your current top sellers and why do you think they’re so popular? We’re redirecting some of our focus to consulting, and are finding that a lot of people who call us are opening up small facilities – 3,000 to 5,000 more


SNEWS Qs: Zoot’s missing the party, but is still bringing treats

Outdoor Retailer is like the big party everybody wants to go to, but not everyone can make it. This time around, a lot of companies are missing out on the fun, like Isis and Zoot Sports, but they have some cool, notable products (and some great insight to industry trends). We more


SNEWS Qs, Paul Toback, CEO Sproing Fitness

The Sproing treadmill sprung onto the fitness scene back in 2011 at IHRSA, and while the concept is still the same (a treadmill that reduces impact on the knees by providing a soft surface to run on), the new models are completely different than the prototype of 2011. SNEWS more


SNEWS Qs: Boost your business in the 'Sheconomy,' and capitalize on female purchasing power

It’s not a man’s world. At least not when it comes to buying power — in fact, Time Magazine refers to it as the “sheconomy.” A social marketing website by (almost) the same name, She-conomy, claims that 85 percent of all brand purchases are made by women. According to Nielsen more


SNEWS Qs: There are enough yoga pants; it’s time to focus on shirts

Women consumers often like to support female-led companies like YogaGlyphs, a new yoga apparel company co-founded by Tiffany Breckenridge. SNEWS recently chatted with Breckenridge about her new line of shirts, which she will launch at the outdoor industry’s upcoming Outdoor more


SNEWS Qs: The North Face's Kevin Joyce talks yoga

While The North Face is focusing on getting its “trail cred” back — according to this story in Bloomberg, anyway — it’s also been branching out to activities like yoga. With yoga continuing to gain popularity, we’re seeing more yoga products from traditional outdoor companies, more