How I learned
Founder Kristen Haskell
I grew up as an active child developing a great passion for movement, adventure and the outdoors. Things were going along “as planned” until the market crash of the early 2000’s. I was working as a design engineer in the automotive industry. I became another casualty of declining manufacturing in the USA. I turned my focus to my passion, moved closer to the mountains and started working in the ski industry.
Shortly after joining ski patrol I discovered an amazing product. Instead of the usual short front zip fly, the pants had a zipper all the way from the front to the back. With accompanying split crotch base layers, this “P-System”(1) was what I came to know as the next leap in progress for women’s liberation. Inside, outside, it didn’t matter. Going to the bathroom just got a whole lot faster and easier.
Then it happened, the manufacturer pivoted away from their women specific gear brand to focus more on mass market appeal. The P-System was terminated. I pleaded with them to keep the P-System. They declined, saying it was not a good fit for their customer base. I started calling as many gear companies as would listen, begging them to adopt this system for their woman’s gear. I got a few responses, “We have a drop seat,” they would say (trust me not the same), “it doesn’t really fit with our target market.”. I was astonished. Wait a second, aren’t women your target market?
I kept using my existing P-System gear until there was more repair tape than fabric. And then it was over, I re-joined the women of the world, trapped in a zipper system designed for men. I had to go back to the arduous process of dropping my pants every time I needed to pee. I found myself thrown back in time. I was avoiding drinking and delaying peeing because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of untucking and retucking layers, fidgeting with belts, harnesses and backpacks. Every time I needed to pee, I cursed out loud, lamenting the loss of my precious pee pants.
I returned to my engineering career continuing to pursue my favorite outdoor activities as a weekend warrior. Year after year I would say I was going to just make my own damn pee pants. Then, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As I went through my treatments, I thought a lot about what I was doing. How could I contribute to society and work on something I was passionate about? Why was I spending so much of my life energy on my day to day job when I had a mission to liberate women? Women have no idea how a simple, longer zipper would free them. I am going to change that.
(1) P-System was the product name given by the now defunct Wild Roses women’s specific brand manufactured by Outdoor Research. The original design and brand concept was created by Swiss Alpinist Dode Kunz. These products were commercially available from the late 90’s to the early 00’s.