“While the sport of running is definitely an in-real-life pursuit, the web connects us directly to our community and customers in a valuable way.”Sally Bergesen
Founder & CEO
After giving birth to her second child, Sally Bergesen was eager to get back into running. Having been a competitive runner since her early 20s, it was natural to get back into the groove of an athlete’s lifestyle. What she couldn't find, however, were running shorts that weren't poofy and baggy. "The shorts on the market were poor quality, poor fitting, and the prints and colors were dated," Sally recalls. "So, with the naive heart of the entrepreneur, I stepped forward with the idea of doing something new and different." She decided to combine her love for running with her background in brand strategy and design. In 2007, Sally founded Oiselle (French for "female bird"), launching a small apparel collection. "I knew from my own story, and others, that running has the power to change lives. I wanted to create an apparel line that honored that meaning and helped others find the same joy," she says.
In 2011, Sally launched Oiselle's e-commerce website. She uses AdWords, Google's advertising program, and Google My Business to bring customers to the site and their flagship store in Seattle's University Village. “We find that a lot of the acquisition tools available to us tend to do great on our digital channels,” Sally notes. In addition, "Google Analytics is a great tool for us to understand, in real time, how customers are reacting to the designs we put online," she says. "That data is incredibly important to many decisions related to our customer base: enthusiastic runners around the world." Oiselle also creates and posts videos to their YouTube channel to share their brand story. And within the company they use G Suite tools, such as Gmail, Docs, and Sheets, to manage their day-to-day operations.
Oiselle now sells a full line of running gear, accessories, and apparel—designed by and for women athletes who exercise outside, in every climate. They also expanded their business to include a team-based model, with women joining Oiselle to race together in a shared uniform, but perhaps more importantly, to simply connect with each other. To give back to their community and help young girls stay involved in sports, the company founded The Bras for Girls Program, donating sports bras to middle school girls in need. Online marketing has helped build the brand beyond Seattle. "We feel pretty fortunate to ride the rise of e-commerce using digital tools and technology," Sally says. "The web allows us to be connected directly to our community of women athletes in a way that companies 50 years ago couldn’t dream of."