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Unleashing a $100 Billion Industry With Sports Bra Creator Lisa Z. Lindahl
Episode 2913th January 2022 • Before It Happened • Donna Loughlin
00:00:00 00:43:44

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Back in the 70’s running for women was pretty uncomfortable, wearing a traditional bra just didn’t do the trick for support. Our guest Lisa Z. Lindahl was diagnosed with epilepsy at an early age and because of her complex relationship with her body, jogging became her sanctuary. Soon, the idea for her business breakthrough popped into her head: the Jogbra. Lisa’s story is one about finding spirituality in running and liberating women through female-friendly sporting equipment. Join this conversation and listen to Lisa’s empowering story of how her invention changed the lives of modern women and unleashed a whole new industry. 

Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the idea before it happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life. 


(02:37) - Lisa on growing up with epilepsy - “I had something called absence seizures. You just lose consciousness for a fraction of a second and people around me wouldn't know.”

(05:50) - Lisa’s creative aspirations in the 1960’s - “There were no expectations for me. My parents hoped that some nice man would come along and marry me and take care of me.”

(10:19) - The spirituality and connectedness of jogging - “I didn't run to compete. It was truly my first meditation. My first real spiritual practice came from running through the woods.”

(15:04) - Finding a functional support solution for running - “I thought, ‘Why isn't there a bra that functions just for support for when I'm running?’ And I sat down and wrote down what it would have to do.”

(23:23) - From prototype to booming business - “We started getting so many orders right away. Not just from individuals, but from all these stores that it just took off.”

(33:24) - Creating a new product for breast cancer patients - “I could not say no because I saw the pictures of these women and what they were enduring. It was kind of really a lovely flip-flop.”

(38:37) - A story about women, feminism, and liberation - “That's why I wrote Unleash the Girls because it's about feminism. It's about how women deal with each other and how we face our insecurities.”


Connect with Lisa on Twitter and visit her website

Get Lisa’s book: Unleash the Girls: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Sports Bra and How It Changed the World (And Me)

Watch ESPN’s documentary: Revolution: A History of the Sports Bra

Read an interview with Eva Longoria who directed ESPN’s documentary on the Sports Bra

Watch Brandi Chastain’s retrospective interview: The greatest moment in US Soccer history, 20 years later (Full Story) | FOX SOCCER

Read the Smithsonian’s How the First Sports Bra Got Its Stabilizing Start

Watch The Smithsonian’s interview with Lisa, Polly and Hinda 

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Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by nodalab. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood and all episodes are written by Jack Buehrer.