Posted on March 04 2015
Photo by ILL GANDER
This week's Wednesday Woman is the inspiring Lynn Le who is fighting stereotypes in combat sports with the company she founded Society Nine, a sportswear brand for badass women. Read her story below:
Newnham: Lynn, can you tell us about your background and how you got into combat sports?
Le: I used to be an avid runner and a dancer growing up, but I wanted to try something different. Out of curiosity and after trying different types of mixed martial arts I found Krav Maga which has an incredible source of strength and empowerment. I worked really hard, and I ended up getting my brown belt and teaching a kickboxing class. As I got deeper into the sport, I heard more and more complaints from women who I train with, and teach, about the lack of appropriate gear for women like us.
With mixed martial arts and boxing growing into the mainstream, in media and culture, and new gyms and workout styles, I knew it was the time to launch my brand. After a little over 18 months of developing Society Nine, I quit my full-time job to go all in and I launched Society Nine on Kickstarter.
Newnham: What is it like training/competing in a male-dominated sport?
Le: It is challenging, rewarding and incredibly empowering.
Newnham: Tell us more about Society Nine and what made you start it?
Le: The women I trained with and teach, as well as other women in my local MMA (Mixed Martial Artists) community, often commented on how unjust it was that men have so many options for products in the sport - quality gloves, tons of designs to choose from, tons of apparel catered to their aesthetic and fit - and we simply didn’t.
A big gripe was how our training gear didn’t even fit, like our MMA gloves. More often than not, they are a men’s size small, turned pink or some bright tacky neon colour. Additionally, a majority of combat sports brands who do use female product models sexualise their women’s marketing. Realizing there was an opportunity here to make a change, I started developing a boxing and MMA glove line, exclusively for women, and began tinkering around with a concept sportswear line for badass women.
Newnham: You have worked in tech, investment and retail - what lessons have taken to starting your own business?
Le:The biggest has to be that starting a business requires grit and determination. You will make a lot of mistakes, and you can't get bogged down by them. You have to know when to cut your losses and move on - you have to be inventive and problem solving all the time.
Newnham: And what advice would you give other females fighting adversity in their chosen path?
Le: Remind yourself of what it is you fight for. And when you do, you'll remember why it's all worth it.
Newnham: As it's International Women's Day this weekend, we wanted to know what woman has inspired you most in your life, and what was the best lesson you learned from her?
Le: Without a doubt, it was my mom. One of the best pieces of advice she has given me is, "You can't just sit there and wait for your luck."