Imagine shopping for a new bra, and only having two brands to choose from… or not being able to find a bra that's safe and comfortable at all. Well, for those who wear binders — a chest compression top that allows many people to feel authentically themselves in their own bodies — that is the reality. That's why when actor Chloe Freeman decided to launch their queer wellness company For Them, tackling a chest binder first was a no-brainer.
Still, they understand that not everyone may understand the necessity of a product like this right off the bat. "It's funny, when you're pitching this to investors it seems extremely niche, but ultimately, I strip it down like this: cis women have a hundred million options of beautiful high-quality bras or underwear, but for me, I'm non-binary, if I'm going to wear a bra-type product, it will be a chest binder and there's one or two on the market — and they itch and made me feel like I can't breathe," Freeman tells InStyle. Because of the lack of options, many people end up using products like ACE bandages for chest binding, Freeman explains, "and they can get really dangerous and start, you know, re-forming people's bodies and cracking people's ribs."
So Freeman set out to create a better, safer option — one that would allow people to feel both comfortable in their bodies and physically comfortable enough to lounge and watch TV in it. They partnered with Rada Shadick, who recently designed a bra for dancer Misty Copeland, to create a binder with maximum compression that didn't sacrifice movement. Co-designed with over 500 trans and non-binary people, the end result is a buttery soft, breathable, sweat-resistant binder made from recycled nylon that doesn't dig in weird places or roll up — and has the seal of approval from nonbinary doctors, too.
In addition to being fit-tested on all body types to cover an inclusive range of chest measurements (28-60"), The Binder is not sized numerically, in order to do away with "toxicity around sizing," the brand explains in a press release. Instead, customers input their chest measurements and are mapped to a size with a "bespoke name".
Clearly, they were tapping into a real need: The Binder, which officially launches today for $45, already has an 800+ person waitlist and the brand is hard at work to manufacture as quickly as possible (the pieces are sewn locally in NYC at a minority-owned, woman-run small business) to meet demand. For Freeman, who candidly shares they were happy to break even or even lose money making it in order to make the product accessible to as many as people as possible, this binder is clearly about so much more. "There's a lot of folks that are young and they feel expansive in their gender, or they're trans or they're nonbinary or queer and these sort of products really speak to them and make a big difference in their day-to-day," they say.
That's really the whole mission behind For Them — and The Binder is just the beginning. Freeman wants to create products that other non-binary people actually want and need and they're finding out what exactly those products are directly from their active Discord community. That's how they got the idea for The Fluid Serum — a CBD-infused intimacy serum — that also launches today.
As for what's next, if the queer community has a need for it, Freeman is probably considering making it. They currently have a 200-item long list of product ideas that fit into For Them's broad definition of wellness, which includes 'dimensions' like belong, connect, embody, transcend, and that Freeman says boils down to simply "feeling well day-to-day."
At the end of the day, Freeman wants to fill the gap in a community that's inherently underserved — and they welcome competition. "My wife is a cis woman and she has all these [wellness products] targeted at her and she feels very served, and I just want to make sure that our community — those that don't sit within the binary and feel a little bit more fluid from a gender and sexuality point of view — feel that eventually. It's not our job just to provide it, but to create a spark so that other companies pop up, too. Ultimately there's more than enough space, there are more than enough customers that need help."
Source: Read Full Article