What started as a “crazy idea” has been launched into a new clothing line designed to fit “real women.”
Council Bluffs resident and owner of Brunow Contracting, Tamara Brunow this year released a new line of women’s activewear made under the label H2W — happy, healthy, whole — Apparel. The line includes sports bras, active leggings and capris.
A single mother of three, Brunow first envisioned the line while waiting for a delayed flight. In addition to flight frustrations, she said she was stuck at the airport in an uncomfortable sports bra.
She said she wanted a bra that would provide support in the back and front and would be easy to put on and take off. It would also allow the skin to breathe.
“I kind of sat there on the plane and I thought, ‘If I could design the perfect sports bra, what would it look like?’ she said. “I just started sketching on a piece of paper. And I was like, it wouldn’t have any hardware. It wouldn’t have any fasteners on it other than in the front. It wouldn’t have those padded cup things that fall out of your bra into the laundry and at the worst times of day. That was where it started and ended for a few months.”
With no background in apparel production, Brunow — who also has her own yoga studio in Council Bluffs — tinkered around with the sports bra idea for several months while continuing work at her construction company. In her spare time, she took her own sports bras and bought bras at local stores to find the types of features she was looking to include in her potential product.
“The width of the strap or the material the bra was made of, these were all things I looked at,” she said. “I just started piece-mealing things together.”
With the help of her construction company’s web developer — who came from a family familiar with the apparel business — Brunow was able to make connections in the apparel manufacturing business. The clothing wear designs went through at least eight prototypes before the H2W bra was finally perfect. Brunow said it was important to break away from the standard sports bra design because it doesn’t work for everybody.
“None of my friends have any inhibitions around me anymore because I’m always asking them, ‘What size bra do you wear?’” she said. “It was a crazy idea, but it’s been a fun learning experience.”
Brunow said she created H2W for women who believe traditional activewear retailers haven’t listened to their needs.
“If they’re anything like me, they’re tired of spending money on clothes that itch, rub their skin raw with hooks and underwires and does not fit right,” she said. “As a woman, I was done wasting my money on stuff with the same designs that never fit properly.”
H2W’s sports bras are made of soft material, are wireless, have a front zipper and are made with custom-molded cups that offer better support, Brunow said. Mesh lining allows skin to breathe, while an ergonomic “H-back” patent pending design aids in neck and shoulder comfort.
“A woman stopped me at a party and pulled me aside to talk about my bras,” Brunow said. “She begins to tell me how she just had a double mastectomy, and she could not find a bra that was comfortable because of the way they sat on the places where she had had surgery. The reconstruction pain for her was difficult to deal with. So the next day, I sent her one of the bras. She later put a review on the website that she was finally comfortable.”
The line’s leggings are designed to be comfortable, so women can wear them anywhere. They offer slimming support and wick away sweat. Brunow said she hopes the line will help women feel more comfortable, and therefore feel better about themselves.
“I want women to feel empowered when they’re working out, running errands or just relaxing,” she said.
The H2W Apparel line is available on the company’s website at h2wapparel.com.