Molly O’Connor Launched a Sports Bra That Changes With Your Breasts and Workout Routine

Boobs suck. I know, I know, I’m supposed to talk about how great they are and all the things they do for us and how our bodies are perfect and great and amazing, ya-da ya-da. Well, I disagree. They’re always in the way, they hurt on your period, and they make simple tasks like a simple workout an absolute pain. I’d gladly trade mine in, thank you very much.

Molly O’Connor, of Molly T., is revolutionizing the way we work out (and ultimately, the way we view our breasts). She understands the day-to-day stress involved with being a boob-owner, so she made a product that acts as a solution for some of those problems. Her patented, adjustable sports bra does what others can’t, making her sports bras unique, interesting, and seriously effective.

Read on to learn how Molly decided to make boobs suck just a little less, her first steps in starting her company, and her advice for women looking to start a business.

 

Name: Molly O’ConnorFounder & CEO @ Molly T.
Age: 30
Current Location: New York, New York
Education: Bachelor’s in English, Boston University

 

What was your first job, and how did you land it?

 

Technically, lifeguarding at a beach in Long Island was my first paying gig. But my time as a perfume girl remains the most significant job I’ve ever held. 

During breaks home from college, I’d spritz and schmooze shoppers at retail giants like Lord & Taylor about the latest fragrance, and what I learned through those interactions are lessons I reflect on to this day.

Retail — or any customer service industry — teaches you how to talk to people from many walks of life. It challenges you to accommodate all sorts of temperaments and hone your sense of compassion no matter how absurd the scenario seems.

The main takeaway: treat everyone with kindness, even when they’re not so nice to you. There’s a lot more baggage than what they’re carrying from the day’s purchase. 

 

 

Retail — or any customer service industry — teaches you how to talk to people from many walks of life. It challenges you to accommodate all sorts of temperaments and hone your sense of compassion no matter how absurd the scenario seems.

 

 

Can you describe your experience being a college athlete? How did this affect your college experience?

 

Grueling. I barely lasted two seasons as a D1 soccer player before accepting that lifestyle wasn’t for me. 

The discipline of competing at such a high level, however — waking up at painful hours to push my body, showing up to practice rain or shine, studying for exams while recovering from fitness tests — has carried over to almost every aspect of my life, especially my work ethic. 

It instilled upon me how we’re all physically and mentally capable of so much more than we realize, competitive athlete or not. Always show up, push yourself outside your comfort zone, and when you get knocked down, get up again à la Chumbawamba style.

 

Your degree is in English! How has this knowledge helped you in your career?

 

I loved the critical analysis aspect of my education. By extrapolating and deconstructing different meanings in works from poetry to song lyrics, I was trained to examine things beyond face-value and consider them in new ways.

Molly T. is a great example of this! I completely rethought the way we approach sports bras: forget the shoulder straps and instead, let’s focus on the fabric directly over the breasts.

It’s also immensely helpful to be able to tell a good story when starting a business. I worked in communications for five years after graduating and had incredible opportunities to develop these skills, but effectively communicating your product, mission, and long-term vision is invaluable. 

 

What’s the backstory of Molly T.? Why sports bras?

 

I like to refer to my backstory as the boobstory. Basically, I was fed up with having to double-up bras before any bounce-inducing activity. I’ll never forget looking around at my teammates and realizing every single one them, regardless of breast size, had her own technique for securing her breasts.  

It seemed ridiculous and completely solvable.

Adding to my frustration was the lack of solutions on the market. To this day, despite the countless options from high-impact and low-impact to cross-backed and front-close, woman still concoct their own boobie-traps to ensure their support needs are met. 

So, while I started Molly T. with an athlete in mind, I’ve found that pretty much anyone with breasts is interested in keeping the girls in place without sacrificing comfort or cuteness. That’s why Molly T. was created.

 

I’ve found that pretty much anyone with breasts is interested in keeping the girls in place without sacrificing comfort or cuteness.

 

 

What makes Molly T. sports bras different from others? Do you have to be an athlete to wear it?

 

Most sports bras utilize shoulder straps and hook-and-eye closures that make minimal difference where it actually matters: the delicate, fatty connective tissue known as our breasts. 

They’re also typically constructed for one impact level: low, high, medium, etc.  

With Molly T., I created the first bra that would relieve us from the overburdened shoulder straps. I envisioned one bra capable of adjusting to every woman’s unique level of support without compromising fit, fashion, or function.

It’s not just for athletes! My patented bra is for anyone who wants a snug, secure feeling whether you’re running, walking, or plain old PMSing. 

 

Once you had the idea, what came next? How did you turn Molly T. into a reality?

 

First, I made sure my idea didn’t already exist. Google Patents and USPTO are two great resources that let you search for keywords like any other Google search for free. 

When I felt confident there was nothing out there like it, I set out to protect my idea and invested my savings in a good intellectual property lawyer. 

 

When I felt confident there was nothing out there like it, I set out to protect my idea and invested my savings in a good intellectual property lawyer.

 

Once the patent process was well underway, I turned to people I trusted with the skillsets I lacked (like sewing) to bring my design to life. My grandma, neighbors, girlfriends — anyone who could help with a needle and thread to sketching my idea was recruited until I saved enough money to work with manufacturers.

I continued to test and scrutinize every stitch in my prototypes over the next 10 years until the design and functionality was exactly where I wanted it to be.

 

 

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That post-sweat glow ✨

A post shared by Molly T. (@wearmollyt) on

 

 

What did you do to grow the company to get where you are now?

 

I made sure to establish strong relationships with everyone who touched my product — from my manufacturer to my pattern maker. 

If and when something goes awry — and it inevitably does when you’re building something from scratch — having a team you can rely on to quell the situation makes the rough patches much easier to navigate. 

Just as important is being transparent with customers. At one point, my Velcro provider was delayed in sending an order. This meant shipping delays for my customers. I immediately emailed customers with updates and assured them their Molly T. would be on the way ASAP. Radical transparency, to borrow from Everlane’s brilliant customer relations approach, will only serve you well in building trust and a good reputation at that. 

 

If and when something goes awry — and it inevitably does when you’re building something from scratch — having a team you can rely on to quell the situation makes the rough patches much easier to navigate.

 

Did you encounter any challenges when creating Molly T.? How did you handle them?

 

The challenges I’ve faced could fill a novella, which means I’ll probably have a Harry-Potter-length series in a few short years. Trusting myself no matter how scary or overwhelming a task at hand may seem has been key to maintaining sanity. A dear family friend of mine has this expression when I start to freak out about all the could-bes and worst-case-scenarios, “you’re future-trippin,'” and he’s right. 

There’s no point wasting mental energy on hypotheticals. Trust yourself to know that you’ll handle each situation as it arises, and focus on what’s in front of you. Lean on your family and friends when the going gets rough. There’s little you can’t handle with support from the people you love. 

 

 

Molly T. is incredibly size-inclusive, which is amazing! Why did you decide to do this with your line? Why is size inclusivity important, especially for your product?

 

Knowing how frustrated I was as someone who’s not exceptionally buxom, I could only imagine what larger-breasted women dealt with. 

The more I learned about the physical and psychological pains of not having a kickass sports bra, like the fact that 1 in 5 women opt not to workout entirely for lack of proper support, I became obsessed with the idea of making sure all women felt equipped to go all out, whenever and however they moved. 

Sore shoulders, achy backs, the dreaded uni-boob — I was determined to make these gripes a thing of the past with a design that mimicked that instinctual gesture of bringing the breasts closer to the body to limit motion.

One’s feminine physique should never get in the way of enjoyment, and that’s ultimately my mission with Molly T.

 

What accomplishments of Molly T. are you most proud of?

 

That Molly T. exists. I’m still incredulous that after a decade of high highs and low lows, this idea I had in my head is finally something you can touch!  

Equally as thrilling is the bra’s resonance with so many different people. What started off as a solution to a problem I faced as an athlete (wanting to be faster, more aerodynamic) is addressing needs beyond my wildest dreams. 

One customer, a breast cancer survivor, shared that she struggled to find a comfortable, flattering fit in the decade-plus she’s been in remission. The highly adjustable nature of Molly T. allows her to match her fitting needs in the way other bras fell short. Giving someone who’s been through all the horrors cancer brings even a little relief has been wonderfully rewarding, and I’m honored to have women like her wear Molly T. 

 

Women are often uncomfortable discussing their bodies. How does Molly T. branch out from that? Why do you think that’s important?

 

Clothes should work for our bodies, and for too long it’s been the other way around. Women will squeeze, contort, and ultimately settle for ill-fitting sizes due to lack of available, size-inclusive options. This isn’t unique to bras — we’ve all been guilty of denying our need for the next size up in those super skinny jeans.

 

Clothes should work for our bodies, and for too long it’s been the other way around.

 

Thankfully, times are changing and women are embracing their curves, with clothing brands following suit. The whole point of Molly T. is to empower the wearer to make her bra work for her body, whether that’s tighter, looser, or somewhere in between. I hope that the design helps women know that they should feel comfortable and supported and settle for nothing less.

 

 

What advice do you have for women starting a business specifically for women?

 

Never take no for an answer. If you believe in something — be it an idea for improving an existing product or creating a new one entirely — there is always a way.

 

Where do you see yourself and Molly T. in five years? 10 years?

 

A few years ago at a work retreat, we were asked what we’d want written on our tombstones as an exercise in envisioning your future and the impact you want to leave. 

“Here lies Molly T. She saved the world’s boobs” was my only half-joking answer. 

In five to 10 years, hopefully, I’m well on my way to doing just that. 

 

What advice do you have for your 22-year-old self?

 

Cultivate patience. Nothing good comes easily. Sometimes you gotta fight

 

 

Molly O’Connor is The Everygirl . . .

Favorite way to workout?
Fast, hard, and super sweaty with the music loud. HIIT workouts are usually my gym-jam.

Best show you’ve watched recently?
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (!!!)

Favorite holiday?
Halloween.

A song you can’t stop listening to?
‘The Red Shoes” by Kate Bush (“She can’t stop DANCIN’”)

An item you can’t leave home without?
Vaseline Lip Therapy (the formula is unmatched)

If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
Sophia Loren. You look at her, and it’s easy to assume one of Hollywood’s most glamorous stars had it easy. It couldn’t be further from the truth. She grew up in war-ravaged Italy and knew what it meant to survive.

Despite the hardships, she oozes joy, and I love her musings on life, like this quote: “Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent but with great inner drive go so much further than people with vastly superior talent.”

 

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