Allyson Felix said forget a seat at the table!
The most decorated woman in the history of American track and field was once told to “know her place” by Nike executives. Thankfully she knew her worth too.
After appearing in countless promotions for Nike during her time with the company, sporting their logo across her racing tops, compression shin sleeves, you name it, the company ultimately failed the Olympian, reports Yahoo!Sports.
Felix used her voice to advocate for pregnant athletes to ensure that they wouldn’t be penalized for pregnancy and in turn, Nike told her to “know her place.”
In an open letter to the world, Fenix shared:
“I’ve been running my whole life. I’m good at it, and I’ve got a lot of medals to show for it. I was scared to stop running, I wasn’t sure I would fully know who I was without it. Like many women, I was afraid that starting a family would be a ‘death sentence’ for my career. I did it anyway. During my pregnancy, I faced a gender injustice that I couldn’t run away from. My employer did not support my maternity and my colleague’s maternity in a way that I could be proud of. I was told to know my place. That runners should just run that it’s just business.”
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Felix further elaborated in the letter about how no woman, not just athletes, should have to choose between being a professional and a mother.
“I used my voice to fight for maternal protection for female athletes,” continued Felix in the open letter coupled with an ad premiering the brand. “No woman should have to choose between being a professional and being a Mother. Now, because of that fight, sponsorship contracts look different for a lot of athletes.”
Rather than seething in the dismissal from the company, Felix made the decision to use it as fuel to build her own brand, and this week she launched Saysh, a brand of athletic footwear for women, by women.
Ironic enough, the women behind the company’s first shoe, Saysh One, are both former Nike employees.
Alongside her brother and business partner Wes as well as the company’s third founder, Darren Breedveld, Felix raised $3 million in seed funding to build her company from the ground up.
Plus, not only are they creating shoes built specifically for a woman’s foot, they’re also building a community.
When you purchase the Saysh One for $150, you’ll also get a lifetime membership into the Saysh Collective, a digital subscription service that will include conversations with Felix and guests, workout videos, and more.
Now, Felix will wear her Saysh brand on the grandest stage in Tokyo during this year’s summer games.