Posted on August 26, 2016 by Meghan Sekone-Fraser
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The birth of Society Nine came from the belief that female combat sports athletes deserved gear that served their unique needs for fit and performance, while also offering the respect and community that male combat sports athletes have always had access to.
Until now, women have had to alter either how they train, or use men’s equipment to participate in combat sports, impacting their performance and exposing themselves to injury. The ‘best’ pair of women's boxing gloves that you could easily find were at your local sporting goods store, resembled massive pillows and were only decked out in pink. We have nothing against the color pink, but we felt it was time to disrupt an industry that have not taken women seriously.
In every major sport such as basketball, golf, soccer, etc., you see female athletes with easy access to high performance equipment designed specifically for women. As one of the fastest growing fitness trends, combat sports such as boxing and kickboxing have more women participating than ever before - 17.5 million women around the world, to be exact! Yet no one has stepped up to develop gear that truly supports their performance. Taking a men’s glove, turning it pink and dubbing it as a 'woman’s glove’ is no longer good enough. We knew the only way to make women feel like the true badasses they really are is to create a boxing glove that was developed from the ground up on their needs.
So began the journey to create our Bia Boxing Gloves.
Before we could rally a community around our gloves, we had to put in some serious work to make sure our first boxing glove disrupted the notions of what a woman’s boxing glove should be and understand what female combat sports athletes want in their gear. This meant research had to be done. We are dedicated to our community, so it only made sense they would be the ones to lead our innovation. Our team contacted our various networks of female athletes and created a focus group of 100 women. They came from all over the United States, diverse in background, sport and skill set, and were all ready to help Society Nine come to be.
Not only did these women help us zero in on their hand measurements but they also provided us with deep feedback on the gear that they were wearing; the things they were or weren’t seeing on the market and what they loved versus what they hated. We took the time to observe their movement and striking patterns to identify the technical concessions they were making wearing men’s gloves and to help guide the construction of our Bia Boxing Glove to ensure they out performed the rest.
Over the next year, we developed our first prototype that we felt confident enough to send back out to our focus group of women for testing. It was these gloves that lead us to launch on Kickstarter at the end of January 2015. However, as our women wore and literally beat these gloves we recognized some shortcomings and knew we needed to take a step back and develop a prototype that truly served the needs of our community.
While we knew we would only settle for the best it was very tough to tell our Kickstarter backers their gloves would be further delayed. However, we knew there was only one chance to make a positive first impression, disrupt the market and establish our commitment to our community of fierce female fighters. Our first prototype wasn't good enough and we weren’t going to settle for that, so back to work we went.
The technical development of the current Bia Boxing Glove was crucial and diligent. From adjusting our graphics so that they were cleaner, to adjusting the depth, width and shape of our gloves for a better fit and performance, we tinkered and tweaked our prototypes until we felt ready to send them back to the women that knew it best, our focus group.Their feedback was enthusiastically positive, with many saying they had not felt that kind of support from gloves twice the price of that prototype. With that, we anxiously began to produce our current Bia Boxing Gloves and introduced them to the world January 2016.