Founder Friday: Importance of Giving Back, with Heidi Zak
As a #ByWomenForWomen company, we love celebrating brands that are led by fellow female founders. Our new series, Founder Friday, is a chance to get to know some of these standout women, including our very own Heidi Zak!
One of the things I’m most proud of is how ThirdLove is able to give back to those in need. I founded ThirdLove a few years back with the mission to deliver a perfect fit to all women everywhere. I wanted my company to empower all women to feel comfortable and confident in their daily life, but quickly realized that there were millions of women in the world who can’t afford to buy a bra, or are wearing old, unsupportive ones because they don’t have the budget to invest in new ones.
According to Medscape, women and families are the fastest-growing groups in the homeless population in the United States today. And, 90 percent of these women are single heads of households, the only potential breadwinner. We also know that it’s harder for these women to get jobs to support their families—and job-based discrimination is present on a much larger scale amongst homeless women.
I know that these women especially need a bra to feel empowered to lead their family, to find a job and to feel confident participating in the workplace, so it became my goal to extend ThirdLove’s company mission of helping every woman find her perfect fit to these deserving women, too. This cause is especially close to my heart this year because many of our teammates and their families were victims of the California wildfires that forced thousands to flee with the clothes on their backs and little else. We wanted to support the community however we could, and turned our Chico office into bra donation headquarters for those affected.
ThirdLove has donated $10 million dollars worth of bras in 2018 alone to partner charities. When bras are returned to us that have been gently worn through our Try Before Buying Program, they are hand-sorted and then donated to women’s charities across the country.
I recently received an email of thanks from one of the shelters we donate to, the Asian Women's Shelter, a nonprofit in SF serving survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Knowing our bras are being donated to women going through tumultuous times in their lives means so much to me, and everyone on the ThirdLove team. My hope is that, in a world of uncertainty, these women feel even a bit more empowered or supported with their new bra.
You don’t have to work at a company like ours to donate bras to women in need. We all have bras laying around that either don’t fit anymore or you simply never wear. Before you toss them in the trash thinking that no one will accept your used garments, think again! The end of the year is the perfect time to clean out lingerie drawer to help a woman in need, and make room for the new pieces you’ll add to your closet this season.
No matter where you are in the U.S., The Bra Recyclers allows you to send in your washed, worn bras from anywhere in the country. Just wash it, label it and send it in. Bras For a Cause is another organization that allows you to mail in your bras in support of breast cancer survivors. Lastly, Free the Girls allows you to donate bras (either at a drop-off location or mailing it in) to be distributed to women in need overseas.
Even if you only have one or two bras that don’t fit anymore, please consider donating them. Your donation could mean one or two more women in need will have the support they need to get through the day.