Jonna: Hi guys. We are here today to talk to Dana Marlowe a little bit about i Support the Girls. Before we get started to talk about a really cool partnership that we are putting together at Kali, we would like to talk to Dana about how Support the Girls got started.
Dana: Sure. Thank you so much. This is so fun! It was totally an accident. I started working out, eating right, and lost a lot of weight. As all my friends know, I am a fashion train wreck. I mean serious, hardcore…nominated for what not to wear by employees, friends, and family. I just do my thing – I do me. One morning, my husband said to me, “You cannot go to your meeting. You need to get new bras. They are not supporting you in any direction”. I took that to heart and went out to get myself some new bras. When I was getting fitted, I asked the sales associate if there was anything we can do with my old bras.
Jonna: You asked her if you could donate them?
Dana: Not quite. I pretty much asked her if we could refurbish them like a laptop. She said it was the first time anyone has said it quite like that and she asked me if I was in IT. She told me 4 really important words that day that I didn’t know – Homeless Women Need Bras. And I didn’t know that. When I went home, I immediately looked this up. I contacted a homeless shelter in my area and said I had 16 perfectly good bras and that they were all used, but in good shape and clean. Do you want them? The director on the other line said yes so quickly. I also asked if there was anything else I could do. I don’t know what I don’t know.
Jonna: It’s funny you say that because with Kali we have done drives (for donations) in the past for sanitary products and we didn’t know exactly where to send the sanitary products. We did the drive because we found out that it’s something women really need. We think about food and shelter, but we don’t think about these items that we use on a regular basis. Now you have put together this network and know throughout the country what these homeless shelters need. It’s unbelievable. It can be challenging for companies, like Kali, to figure out what to do with the product, where to go. It was very inspiring when we put period packs together and actually gave them to homeless women on the street. We were in tears by the end of the day because they were so grateful.
Dana: Menstrual products as well as undergarments are so often overlooked. People just don’t think about it. A lot of people are very generous and donate their clothing, jackets, canned goods, furniture, and books. However, you forget about your bras and certainly forget about purchasing an extra package of pads or tampons to donate to a person in need. And that’s how this exploded.
Jonna: You got a lot of media coverage and it kind of blew up overnight. You didn’t even realize it would happen.
Dana: It was a simple Facebook post. We all share stuff on social media all the time. Typically, I am sharing tacos and chips on my Instagram. You don’t think a Facebook post would become a global NGO – having donated over a 1 million products in two years.
Jonna: Wow that’s amazing. Kudos to you.
Dana: It’s not just me and I am the first person to say that. I may have accidentally put the first post out there on Facebook and helped nurture it. However, it is an incredible team of really smart, dedicated people who are much smarter than I am, much more innovative than I am who are bringing in all of these different elements to empower women locally to collect and donate locally to empower these women in need.
Jonna: That is in line with our mission at Kali and that was one of the main reasons we wanted to interview you. We want to get the ladies out there and our Kali Girls to start donating their bras to help your cause. We are excited to say we are partnering with Support the Girls and donating sanitary products on a quarterly basis. We are also going to be doing a ton of bra raises. Get into those drawers ladies and look for some old bras. All you need to do is donate 5 bras or more to get 50% off your Kali box!
Dana: That’s huge! Clean out your drawers.
Jonna: If you don’t know what a bra looks like, here you go ladies. This one is beautiful. I bought it 7 years ago and I have not worn it since, but I did spend $60 on it. It’s really important to hold onto it for 7 years in my drawer. This will be going to a woman in need.
Dana: There are probably a lot of folks out there who have bras that no longer fit because our bodies change shape and size. There are probably a lot of women who have mothers, sisters, and friends who have bras that they are no longer using shoved in the back of their drawer. And sports bras…you have that one go to sports bra.
Jonna: And just in case all your laundry hasn’t been washed in a year, you have those three sports bras in the back of that drawer for safekeeping. It’s ridiculous. Donate those suckers! I did a test actually. We have been figuring this partnership out and having a great time doing it. I asked some friends how many bras do you have that you don’t wear. I was shocked by how many women have bras they don’t wear and are excited to donate.
Dana: I think women on average tend to roughly have three bras that they to go and wear. They have all these other bras that look great, but they don’t wear them. We also collect training bras, bralettes, camisoles, mastectomy bras, and breast prosthetics. That has shifted the dynamic because they are so expensive. We do maternity and nursing bras as well. If it’s a bra, we are happy to accept it and find the proper home for it in one of our 300 charities we work with. That covers everything from domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, LGBTQ organizations, refugee organizations, organizations that help victims of sex trafficking, and the children of victims of sex trafficking. We also donate binders to transgender organizations because we recognize not all people who have periods are women.
Jonna: That’s so awesome and thank you for being here today. We are excited to start this partnership!