Episode #10 Transcript - Does Size Matter in the Military?

Kelly: [00:00:00] And we’re back with Thrive Unafraid. I am so excited to have our guest here today, Katherine Basso from Kadri Clothing. Her and I were connected a few years ago, due to mutual connections on Instagram. We talked, connected, hit it off, and I have been a huge fan of not only her company, what she does, what her company is about, which we’ll get into, and also just following her social media and promotion of all the badass women out there doing really cool, amazing things.

So welcome. Thank you for taking the time, Catherine. I’m so excited to have you on the show.

Katheryn: Thanks for having me. I can’t wait to talk to you too. You’re my two favorite Instagram people for sure. The two people that I haven’t met yet in person, but always send memes to and fun little quotes…

Doug: We’re stoked to have you on the show because…

Katheryn: …make the time go by.

Doug: …you have an inspiring background, a depth of experience [00:01:00] that others don’t necessarily have. And, as we talk a lot about situational awareness on here, we’re excited to dig into it and see how you used or leveraged situational awareness in your past.

And then with the mission of Cadre Clothing, what you’re trying to do out there in terms of improving women’s tactical clothing and other things, how it continues to inform what you’re focusing on. So let’s just jump right into it. So, coming at this from the perspective of a marine officer, let’s talk about situational awareness and how you first kind of recognized the need for it.

Katheryn: I love the phrase situational awareness. It’s thrown around the military constantly. Make sure you have situational awareness. We say it all the time, but no one really defines what situational awareness is. It’s just something that we have to have [00:02:00], which usually, for us, is keep your eyes forward. Keep your eyes behind you, right? And then, that’s it. So one of the things that I started getting into, especially with the Marine Corps Hunter program, was really defining what situational awareness meant to me and then how it could impact not just how I carried myself, but passing that knowledge along to everyone else.

Because we all know, yes, it is important to have situational awareness, but defining what that actually means is complicated for a lot of people. For me it is being able to recognize a threat before it can harm me or my family or my friends. and it is ensuring that we are doing something that’s quite counterintuitive to what our culture and what our society is used to.

Right now. We are so used to being. not to [00:03:00] throw it out, but in, in the white right in the zone, where we’re just looking at our phones the whole time or we’re playing with music in the car and we’re not noticing anything else around us like that has been programmed in us from constant overstimulation, that we have forgotten to. Actually pick our heads up and understand what we are seeing. So being able to not just recognize it, but then define what we are seeing then allows us to be prepared to make those decisions, to act, to get ourselves out of situations or danger before they can actually start to protect ourselves and to

Doug: So is that where you landed on something of a definition? Is it identify a threat before it becomes a threat to myself or my family? Super simple, super succinct.

Katheryn: Absolutely. Absolutely. [00:04:00] Well, I think, and especially for women, the only fight that we are a hundred percent guaranteed to win is the one that we never have, right? So if we can identify that threat and avoid it, then we are winners. It’s when we can no longer avoid it, that then we have to start relying on those other skill sets that maybe not all women have.

They don’t all have decades in the Marine Corps. They don’t all have combative training. They don’t all have martial arts training. And so if we can prevent the need…

Doug: Because just telling somebody, “Hey, use your noodle…”

Katheryn: We can carry on for another day.

Doug: We can baffle them with jargon and, and it may not help them at all. Or are you in orange? Or are you in white? Or the color codes and all of that. But simplifying it into practical things that people can think about is key, I think, to that.

Katheryn: And I.

Kelly: Funny that you mentioned the OODA loop because I literally [00:05:00] got an email back from a client today that I had put a diagram, a graphic of the Ooda loop in the deck, and it’s just a slide of this really complicated Ooop description and he wrote back, I don’t think they’re gonna understand. This is too complicated.

And I’m like, that’s the point is I’m trying to say when you… it can be a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be. And that I think sometimes gets lost in the translation to, ‘Hey, it’s very tactical,’ or, ‘I wanna sound like I know what I’m talking about by making it more complicated.’

And if I can explain it simply, then do I really have an understanding of it? 

Katheryn: What I always tell people is, you already know what you’re looking for, right? You already know something is off, when you have that feeling, you already know. You just haven’t been able to define it yet. So the majority of these training and the teaching is just [00:06:00] defining what  is off.

And a course that I give… I have all these lights and all the lights are doing different objects, and I’m like, shout out when you recognize what these lights are doing. And it’s like squatting, sitting, jumping, and I was like, these are just lights. But your brain automatically saw them as something that you recognize.

It’s the same thing when we’re going out. We already know, Hey, it’s 90 degrees, and that guy’s wearing a hoodie. That doesn’t make any sense. This… another guy’s coming in, he’s patting his belt area, constantly. He’s shifting back and forth like he’s uncomfortable. We know that he’s uncomfortable, and yet we are so sensitive to make sure that we are not insulting anybody or…

Kelly: Being rude or judgemental.

Katheryn: Yes. That we’re just like, all right, I’m just gonna ignore it. And , after the fact, maybe it won’t happen one in a thousand chances. Right? Maybe that guy is just [00:07:00] upset because he got into a huge fight with his girlfriend.

Doug: You don’t know why he’s uncomfortable, but he’s still uncomfortable. So it’s the recognition, it’s taking your brain, the importance of the recognition, connecting of the thing that it’s already seeing, combined with giving yourself permission to recognize it. Perhaps without being judgemental.

Katheryn: And that’s what I love about a lot of the situational training courses, especially with the Marine Hunter program, you look at it in a way that is completely unbiased. And so you cannot be accused of sexism, racism, religious prejudice, any of that, right? You have a process to go through and you find these anomalies and you’re like, okay.

It’s just at that point. And the hardest thing for me was deciding how many anomalies I would deal with before I would actually do something. [00:08:00] And it says, textbook, it’s three, right? And I think that’s because it’s the Marine Corps and we do everything in threes because it’s easier for us to remember. But the point being is, I would sometimes go to five, I would go to six. Sometimes I would just be like, ‘oh, what, this isn’t a big enough threat yet.’ And it’s really interesting, especially traveling with my husband. We were at a restaurant, and this guy came in and he started yelling and it was the first time we were traveling, so my husband didn’t have his pistol on him and he got visibly uncomfortable. And he looked at me and he’s like, it’s time that we go in right now. And I was like, absolutely, I am. My threshold was much further than his because I’m a woman and I’m used to guys being upset and I’m used to guys yelling for him.

He didn’t have anything to defend us with and [00:09:00] immediately his decision was, ‘We’ll go somewhere…’

Doug: …sticking with the three, sorry, Kelly, but what? Even in the Intel world…

Kelly: …one thing you…

Doug: …too, right? We will say once is, happenstance twice as coincidence. Third time is enemy action. So I think Ian Fleming wrote that way back in the early days of the bond novels.

But once you see that repeated pattern or that issue coming up multiple times, you better be on higher alert. Because it’s moving past that. This is an odd thing that happened and this is something that is growing to be a threat.

Kelly: It’s getting curious. Like I always tell people that the first thing that might be off might not be overtly the threat, but it’s something that. You’re trying to, your senses are like, that’s off. You need to pay more attention to evaluate it, to go through, and you could say, okay then now I’ve seen body language clusters, or I’ve seen three things that are making me [00:10:00] nervous.

One thing I thought was just interesting, you mentioned it right away when you got on Catherine and just now, is that don’t ignore it. and you said, we’re just in this, we’re staring at our screens, we’re distracted, we’re not paying attention. Present. Do you think part of that comes with people’s… Don’t intrude in other people’s lives. Don’t be rude, don’t be judgmental. So I’m just gonna ignore because I don’t wanna be accused of being judgmental or rude. So there’s almost this balance of, well, I’m trying to just stay in my lane, worry about myself. So I wanna just ignore, because if I don’t ignore, if I’m starting to maybe go, h, that those behaviors are off and now I’m staring at someone, they could turn and say, oh, you’re profiling me, or you’re, you’re just being judgemental, or you’re being whatever.

Do you think there’s part of that in our societal norms and trying to tell us, again, that balance of don’t be rude, but. Be, you [00:11:00] know, be kind, but don’t be judgemental, but don’t do this, but do this. Do you think there’s that kind of a tug of war in people’s minds as well?

Katheryn: Absolutely. And I think it’s based on where you are in the country, right? So more people are more comfortable with getting in each other’s spaces in, in different parts of this country. But I also think it’s changing. People are starting to speak up and de-escalate situations.

So now of a sudden it’s, ‘Hey, you don’t have the right to speak that way to that person.’ And it might not be a confrontation. It might just be, you grabbing the woman, the child, or whatever, and pulling them away. And then once that triggers somebody, then you start in your deescalation issues.

But it’s really hard to battle. The norm of not being rude. and especially for women, [00:12:00] right? Especially for us. We’re just supposed to be, and, and that comes just from societal requirements to shut up in color and, not, not really speak. Yeah.

Kelly: Yeah. Yeah.

Katheryn: So I think for me, that’s been the hardest and it’s been the hardest to teach because women don’t want to seem aggressive.

They don’t want to seem rude, they don’t want to seem insulting, all the things. They don’t wanna hurt anybody’s feelings. And it’s just being able to push through that and know three anomalies. This is my decision. This is my decision point. I will now act and it doesn’t need to be. I remember the guys would be like, well, I just go up and talk to him.

I’m like, okay, that is a technique. That is a decision. You can do that. Now. I don’t know any woman whose first choice is, I’m just gonna go up and talk to the guy and see if he’s ha he’s carrying a weapon.

Doug: But also a point you’re bringing up is I think you have to have thought through what [00:13:00] you’re going to do in advance. You have to have thought through what your triggers are, what your thresholds are. Are because you, once you get into it, you don’t have that same ability to process it. You need to have already made your decision about what’s gonna escalate me to two, this action versus that action.

Katheryn: And Doug, I don’t know how you feel about this based on your background, but I would say those mental exercises were the most important preparatory bit of what I did. And when I went and where I went and what I did while I went there. 

Kelly: …belongs. Just so the listener knows, Catherine also sort of belongs to the Super Secret Squirrel Club.

Katheryn: I don’t have the patch, so… but it’s working through okay if A happens, then B, if A doesn’t happen, then c and already having that plan in place. [00:14:00] And I think especially overseas where you’re in a different culture, you have different nuances. You especially don’t wanna cause an international incident.

You have to work through those and you have to do your research before you leave and you have to know exactly, ‘Okay Point A to Point B is here, this is how long it should take. These are the roads that a taxi should go, and if they veer off that, then something’s wrong.’ Now, if they veer off it and just go around the block, then okay, but if all of a sudden they’re going the opposite direction, that’s bad.

And now what are we gonna do? And that’s actually happened to me before and it was terrifying. So it’s okay. This happens a lot, especially to women overseas, especially to young women overseas, and you have to work through those mental exercises so that you don’t freeze and 

Doug: Well, and you don’t have the luxury of taking the time then necessarily either, because time is…

Kelly: I think that’s key.

Doug: [00:15:00] valuable resources at that time when the bad thing is happening. And so by having at least pre-planned or prepared for the environment you’re in, you’re saving literal time in your decision process at a later date.

Katheryn: And let’s be honest that plan’s always gonna change once you have different factors, boots on the ground, right? But if you can at least save that brain from making. Multiple more decisions because you were not prepared then, you are not gonna overload it. So, okay, this is what I’m going to do, A equals C, so I’m out.

And then all of a sudden it’s like, well I wasn’t prepped for this but I got up to this point so now my brain can help me,

Doug: …men, you mentioned briefly the Marine Hunter program, right? So some of our listeners may have read left of Bang. So can you just briefly mention for those listeners that don’t know what the Marine Hunter Program was or is,[00:16:00] 

Katheryn: Yeah, it’s actually aptly named, again, Marines are simple creatures, but it is the ability to track in urban and rural environments, which includes the requirement to understand situational awareness, I guess, is the best way, and prepare for dangers before they occur.  I think that the majority of it, occurred during our Iraq and Afghanistan wars, when we were not just the war fighters, but we were also the community builder, the village builder where we had a lot of civil affairs, requirements, and we had young 18, 19, 20 year olds going to villages. We had 21 year [00:17:00] olds who were meeting village leaders. We were doing a lot of state department building efforts, and we needed a way to ensure that marines weren’t getting ambushed.

And being able to identify anomalies not just in the village, but prior being able to identify anything that was out of place so that we prevented Marines from. What was the biggest issue at the time, which was IEDs, and ambushes along those lines, we can also track people, which I thought was kind of cool.

Doug: SoI mean, it’s safe to say GWA forced us to think about situational awareness in more academic and kind of almost like grad school terms in order to save people’s lives in combat zones. Yes, the global war on [00:18:00] terror, sorry.

Kelly: Did you say GWA Doug? Okay. Just nope. Just wanted to check…

Katheryn: Yes. And one step further, being able to explain it down to the lowest denominator so that everyone could understand it.  So, I mean, some of the stuff like atmospherics got really complicated. But if you were able to be like, ‘Hey, something seems off, that kid isn’t running up to me trying to grab candy.’

Just these little tiny aspects that were, we were able to put definitions to and hey, look for these things. that enabled that 18 year old who probably had no idea about any of this, to be able to spot something

Doug: …awareness principles and sharpened them very specifically for the operating environments you were in. But the principles, the observational principles, the [00:19:00] decision process, principles, all of those remained in essence the same. And you now can just apply them in new areas, new operating environments. Right.

Katheryn: Correct.

Kelly: Like the grocery store, that’s one thing I think it’s so awesome. As I’m listening to you, Catherine, is you’re talking about a combat environment or overseas, which even when you were talking about being overseas and traveling, I’m thinking of how many times do people go on trips, international trips or spring break trips or whatever is, these are principles, and if we’re focused on teaching principles, they’re foundational.

So as long as you learn the principles, you can apply them to whatever environment you’re in, depending on yourself. You don’t have to have gone through the Marine Combat Hunter program to understand this as you go to the grocery store, it is, to your point, why isn’t this kid yelling, running up to me [00:20:00] asking for candy?

Because that’s what I would typically expect the behavior in this environment. So if you’re at a grocery store or if you walk into a gas station, you expect everyone to kind of be doing stuff. Whereas if the clerk is behind the counter, standing there staring at you really uncomfortable, and there’s someone standing next to him just kind of looking at you like that’s odd behavior.

Katheryn: Oh yeah, it’s the baseline…

Kelly: ..is off, right? Yeah.

Katheryn: And it just takes a little effort, and it’s not this complicated science. It takes a little bit of effort to understand your baseline in a grocery store in Mongolia, right? It’s all of these little things. You can do it both,you can do it in both settings.

Where if you put forth that little effort and understand, okay, this is how I expect to be treated as a foreigner. This is how I expect to be treated as a female. This is how I expect to be treated as a mixed Asian race. And you [00:21:00] go towards all that and if you’ve been there before, it’s gonna be a lot easier because you know what to expect.

But if not, then you are constantly…

Doug: One of the questions we get asked…

Katheryn: know, based on the experiences that you have.

Doug: I’m comfortable over at my kid’s school, or I’m comfortable at my local supermarket, but what about when I’m in an area I’ve not been to before and don’t know what baseline is? How would you advise someone who’s going into a place where they have no personal baseline themselves to quickly develop at least some sense of baseline for where they are?

Katheryn: So I… and people call me on this all the time… when I’m in a new place, I’m super quiet and I am just observing, right? It’s that first ‘O’ in the OODA Loop, right? So I am looking at everybody what [00:22:00] their behaviors, how they’re interacting with each other, what they’re wearing. I am taking that 5-10 minutes to understand what makes sense in this environment right now, and then that’s in my brain and I don’t remember the amount faster that your subconscious works and that limbic system, I don’t have that data off the top of my head, Kelly, maybe you do. But I know that if I have basically filed that information into my brain, then the rest of the time that I am in that environment, my brain’s gonna be constantly looking for those things and looking for anomalies within that situation.

So again, it’s just take your time, take a step. Observe, right. That is the number one thing. Observe, and then your, your limbic system is going to be figuring out everything else after that. You just have to trust it. Learn to listen to it.

Kelly: And I love that.

Doug: What would you say to our listeners who say, okay, that’s cool. [00:23:00] , you’re, you’re a marine. You, you spent years training in this. I’m a, I’m a mom or a dad who’s going to Saturday soccer. I don’t wanna live in a heightened sense of paranoia, right? How do you prevent this? Learning to be more observant from crossing over into seeing a boogeyman under every bed or around every corner.

Katheryn: I, I would say living in paranoia is the extreme of what we don’t want, right? That’s actually going to hurt us more than help us. There is a huge difference between me observing how people interact with each other and thinking that every person who’s interacting has a plan to kidnap my child.

Right? So I, I don’t think that, Reaching that

Doug: Going to.

Katheryn: , of over orange and red or over and red. It is something that, or, or to black for sure, , is [00:24:00] something that we wanna strive for. But definitely taking that time just. Be observant. I mean, a lot of women especially enjoy just taking a look at what’s going on around and , we do it automatically.

Is that guy a threat? Is that kid? Where’s the parent of that child? It’s just this automatic thing of, okay, where is everyone and should they be where they are and and are they where they should be? And , so I think it’s something that we do automatically.

We just need to make sure that they’re not going overboard and just seeing threats where

Doug: Trying to carve out emotion from, from the observation component, right? So, Why if it is 80 degrees and that is a hoodie, does that fit within this environment rather than jumping to the conclusion? Right? At this point, you’re just gathering factual information.

A judge applying the necessary judgment to it will come later. But building know [00:25:00] those observation skills is just fact pattern gathering.

Katheryn: Absolutely. And that keeps it, like you said, it’s unbiased, un unprejudiced. we’re just looking at facts at this point.

Kelly: Well, and that’s one thing I try to remind people to Doug’s point of, we don’t want to cross over into paranoia. If we focus on the curiosity, and I think you described it best because, when I go somewhere new, I get quiet because you’re observing, you’re curious about your environment. You’re not going into a heightened paranoia where you’re shutting down.

You’re actually opening up and scanning your environment and hearing and smelling and seeing its people watching. That’s another thing is I always like to point out is I know lots of people who talk about, I love people watching and I love just observing or whatever. I said, well, that’s… you’re building situational awareness. Yeah.

Katheryn: It’s [00:26:00] also nice having a partner who’s along that same line, right? So, we do this to each other all the time. We’ll be walking and all of a sudden he’ll be like, what color shoes were that guy wearing? , and you’re like, ah. I’m like, I don’t know, but his pants were ugly.

Doug: It was a fake Chanel…

Katheryn: …you just kind of, and, but because…

Doug: Right.

Kelly: Yeah.

Katheryn: But you have that opportunity to play these games with each other? And that not only makes you better, but all of a sudden, if there was an anomaly, then you have a partner. To be like, okay, here’s my backup. This is what I’m seeing, and I can’t tell you how many times something would happen. And I would just say the words, did you see that?

And he would be like, yes. And we could either not be talking, not be facing each other or whatever. All I’d have to do is you, do you see that? And he goes, yes. And it’s okay, we are on the same page. I feel even safer now. And I also don’t feel crazy.[00:27:00] 

Kelly: Oh, that’s a good point too. So often people are, I’m, I felt crazy because I was, maybe I was overreacting.

Doug: Either one of you guys watch Ted Lasso?

Kelly: Yeah.

Doug: There’s a great scene towards the end of the very first season where there’s in essence a competition that’s taking place and Ted walks us through the impacts of lack of curiosity, and I think it fits really well with some of this discussion we’re having because a curious person would’ve picked up on or asked questions to identify what was necessary.

So for our readers that haven’t watched it, maybe Kelly can grab that clip because it’s a fairly well-known clip, when Rupert and Ted are playing darts, at the end. And Ted specifically says, a curious person would’ve figured this out, and I think it fits really well with this subject we’re talking about here.

Kelly: No, I will definitely grab that. We’ll put it in the episode show notes that people can download [00:28:00] off the website later, so that is perfect. I love that. I know, and I wanna watch Ted Lasso, but I struggle with finding time to sleep some days. So, and I feel like you and I could go on this conversation forever, Catherine, especially as it relates to the situational awareness in everyday life for the everyday woman.

That is one thing, too, I’ve loved about our conversations is you come from kind of the original where I started learning, but from a civilian because I couldn’t find situational awareness training for civilians, but I found left of bang, I found. Writings about the Combat Hunt Hunter program.

Obviously I’ve never been a Marine, so I’ve never gone through the formal training of it, but I took a lot of the foundational skills, principles from that and then said, how do I apply this to everyday life? So I know we could go for hours, but I wanna talk about your company. [00:29:00] So, Catherine, why don’t we get into why you started Cadre and why the focus on female fit is so important.

Katheryn: Yeah, absolutely. Cadre started out as a necessity. There are maybe a handful of clothing companies, apparel companies out there who are thinking about the female form, but it’s definitely nobody’s priority. And I was in the military and I was requesting female size and female fit gear and apparel, and our supply guy told us that he couldn’t order anything that didn’t exist.

And given that it’s, well, it’s 2023 now is 2014, then, this blew my mind. That we have the best military in the world. We have all of this money and access for amazing training, amazing gear, really state-of-the-art things. And we are still women. We’re still getting issued men’s boots, men’s packs, men’s clothing, [00:30:00] men’s uniforms.

And I just knew that needed to change. So Cadre started in order to fill that gap to ensure that women had everything that they needed to excel in their profession.

Kelly: So why? Why is it such a big deal not to wear men’s fit clothing on a female body?

Katheryn: I mean, besides the obvious, right. we’re, we’re obviously built in, shaped differently, and…

Doug: …gonna sit quietly over here.

Katheryn: But honestly, Doug, you can, our success relies on men as allies and , you have, I’m sure worked with plenty of women who are badass in their own right and masters in their own field, and. Imagine if they were hauling around excess baggy fabric, if their gear didn’t fit because it wasn’t made for them, because they had to maneuver around this quite distracting, [00:31:00] uncomfortable chafing, an injury causing packs, apparel, and gear.

And so we just… hold on one second. He’s just gonna keep whining. Okay, come on out. Go.

Doug: I wondered what that was.

Katheryn: Yeah.

Kelly: The puppy? Oh.

Katheryn: And it’s like the absolute worst type of whine too, because it’s like, ‘ooh, ooh.’ I’m like, honey, you are a 65 pound pit bull. Use your inside voice. So anyway, what, what we have found out is this is moving beyond discomfort. So, and obviously this is kind of, well of course, captain obvious situation when you actually talk to somebody about it.

But unfortunately for a lot of people you kind of have to form it in a way that is data backed and scientific backed [00:32:00], and so what we’re seeing is a lot of. neck injuries and shoulder injuries because of those packs. back injuries because the torso is meant for a men’s size torso and not a female sized torso.

The shoes they’re made from men’s lasts, and if you have bad shoes, you get hip injuries, knee injuries. and ankle injuries, and all of a sudden you’re putting all of these women in men’s shoes and you’re wondering why their hips aren’t functioning correctly. You are… They’re getting all these injuries.

So it comes down to injury prevention and retention and manning and readiness, and all the things that are hot topics right now for the military, we are recruiting all of these women. Handicapping them before they even cross the start line. If the women are training and strong enough and, working their, their butts off to get into this position, and then they’re there and they get it and they meet and exceed these [00:33:00] standards, then they’re injured within five to 10 years and they have to deal with either medically retiring or taking on a different job.

And then once they get out or retire, then you’re putting all of that burden on the va. So we’re trying to prevent a lot of that from happening from the get-go, by just the most basic and simple thing of giving women properly sized and properly fit clothing and gear.

Kelly: , it was funny, Doug, you said you were gonna sit out on this and I couldn’t help but think of the opposite test. Can you imagine if we told men, sorry, all the clothing is in women’s sizes. You’re just gonna have to find your fit. In women’s sizes, the narrowness of a woman’s foot typically, and then you have the width, the wider width of men’s foot.

If they’re trying to squeeze into women’s shoes, that would be painful and horrible. So…

Doug: …just gonna [00:34:00] sit out the part about discussing the differences between male and female bodies.

Kelly: Oh,

Doug: So…

Kelly: Smart man.

Doug: So Katherine, you guys came up with designs that are better suited for the female form, right? So for highly functional, athletic use. Right? Have you guys been able to make progress with DOD on fixing the problem in the military?

Katheryn: We are getting there. It is… we are getting progress or having progress. It is a very long and uphill battle. So we’re finishing up our first contract right now, which is amazing. but what we’ve learned is we need civilian oversight to ensure that leaders are providing this type of equipment, gear, and clothing to their service members.

, and I’m, I’m not saying that there are bad leaders out there at all. I’m just saying in [00:35:00] this world where we have multiple priorities, where we have such a strong military and their focus is overseas, Female fit isn’t exactly on the top of their priority list. It might be a priority, but it’s not the priority.

And so, the simplest thing to do is what the UK has already done. Put wording in there that every contract has to have female fit or female specific sizing. Not unisex, not a variation of sizes, but specifically female fit and female sized and force the vendors to create. These options and enforce the military to, to provide this for their women.

Doug: Because you mentioned earlier,  it’s 2023 now and you were talking about back in 2014, but fundamentally, if you’ve got a young female E-6 in an artillery battalion field, artillery battalion, she’s still getting issued men’s bds.

Katheryn: Correct. And, yes. Talking about in 2014, [00:36:00] , this was actually brought up by Datz in the 1970s, so this has been a very commonly understood problem, that just hasn’t been addressed the way that it should be.

Doug: Well, and a sharper point put on it because of the growth of women in more tactical, more combat oriented roles as well. Right.

Katheryn: Correct. So 2013 and then finally in 2016 when we opened it up, when the DoD lifted that Combat exclusion policy, now we’re seeing women in combat rules. Not to say that they didn’t need this beforehand, right? , but now more than ever, if you’re gonna have a woman next to you on Target and she’s fiddling with her gear because it doesn’t fit.

Now she’s a liability to herself and to others. just because of clothing or just because of gear. And it’s just a, a very easy fix that we need, need now, we needed it yesterday, but, I, I’m okay with needing it now and, and tomorrow for [00:37:00] that next generation.

Doug: And I asse, women who are attached to some of the soft units, et cetera, don’t quite have the same. Problem because they have different purchasing abilities they can buy, things that fit just like the men in those units can. But for Big Army, Gig Navy, etc, it’s far more challenging for those females.

Katheryn: Well, that, that’s a problem. It doesn’t exist. I think a very popular company has finally come out with a female uniform that the soft women are buying, which is great. But right now, I reached out to a boot company that provides boots for the military and they told me that the military stopped their requirement for women’s specific boots. And so…

Kelly: Recently..?

Katheryn: I don’t know how recent, but I reached out to them because I wanted them to be a part of a symposium [00:38:00] and they said, yeah, the military said that the women preferred the men’s boots over the women’s boots. And I was like, Who said that? Right? Which women told you that? , so we’re, we’re running across something very common in like big DOD, corporate America kind of thing, right?

One person is making a decision for the whole lot and we are struggling with education and misinformation and disinformation and, plain old ignorance to be honest. So we are, we’re trying to combat that by saying, Hey, look, because of our hips and the Q angle of our femur, women’s feet are size and shape differently.

So we need a female last boot. And linking that to injury has been, eye-opening for a lot of them, for the packs. There’s a great company called Mystery Ranch out of Montana, and they supply a lot of packs for [00:39:00] special operations, and they had, I think, three or four different harness sizes while the new contract came out and they wanted more.

One size fits most, so we’re actually moving backwards instead of

Doug: Right.

Katheryn: So it’s that one person, that one contractor, that one person saying, okay, well let’s make this easier for supply and less skews, less sizes to deal with. because one size fits most and it’s fine.

And they’re not thinking about the long-term effects of that. they’re not thinking about the back problems, the knee problems, and the hip problems. So it’s a big push to educate them. It’s a big push to be like, I’m five three, I should not be wearing a pack that size for a six-foot-two man, and while it makes a lot of sense, the military’s so used to just being like, ‘Well, this is what we’ve got, make due with it’ without thinking of those long-term effects, facts.

Doug: Right.

Kelly: Well, I can’t help but [00:40:00] think, not justifying, but understanding because they’re LAR ordering on such a large scale that. To have all of these different sizes. I think, from my retail background and logistics supply chain,  ‘Okay, well we’ve got all the sizes we need, but it’s on the east coast and they actually need to move to the west coast. But then are we going to need more there, here, kinda left over and storage. To your point, in the moment, short term. Okay. Yes, though that takes time to figure out, but in the long term, The impact of not having as many injuries, not having as many people filing medical claims at the va. You would hope that somebody would be seeing that long term, but again,

Doug: not somebody on supply. Right. So I think part of the difference is the separation of duties. So the folks that would see those VA claims are never gonna be the same folks that are making the supply decisions. And I think that separation creates

Katheryn: Yeah, and, and we, we definitely can’t put it on supply, right? This is…

Doug: Yeah. No, [00:41:00] no, no.

Katheryn: It’s one guy saying, Hey, buy this. And that person needs to say, buy this for women, buy this specifically, make sure that there’s female sizes. It’s just that checks and balances.

A to your point, I get it there, there’re not a lot of women, compared to the men. But I always point out in all of SOCOM, there are 200 canines and each one of those dogs has their own booties, goggles, and vests. So why are the dogs getting their own gear? But the women aren’t?

Kelly: That’s a very good point.

Katheryn: So it is an uphill battle for sure, but we are getting the attention of, of legislation now, we’re getting attention of, of some congressmen and, and, we hope, to push this agenda, Again, and it’s not just for women, right? Like this is also for short statured men. It’s [00:42:00] also, for the greater good of the military to have the greatest weapon system, which is our people to perform at the top of their ability.

This is optimizing performance, and you don’t want one of your weapon systems malfunction because of something as basic and simple as. Not having the proper gear in apparel. Right. Training equipment. Right.

Kelly: That’s really what it is. A design flaw. If there was a design flaw in EO weapons system, that would get addressed.

Katheryn: Yeah. So I can’t blame them. I mean, it’s a very complex issue. most of these women are, are the first or the only, they’re the in the room, right? The first woman to whatever, or the only woman in the room. And they’re not gonna be the ones to raise their hands and say, Hey, this sucks.

This doesn’t fit. They’re trying their hardest to make this difference. which is, why [00:43:00] cadre’s taking that on, which is why I’m taking it on, like, I’m not in anymore. I have that voice now and, my, my passion and, and my drive is to fight for the women that are currently in and that next generation.

Kelly: And I love that. I think that’s one of the biggest things about you that I just adore among all the things. But I love that you’re, you’re that voice and not afraid of that uphill battle. it’s gonna take time, but you’re not quitting, you’re determined. And that’s very commendable. So thank you for doing that.

And quickly, I know we’re getting towards the end of our time here, but you’re mentioning, we’re talking very military specific, but your clothes, like I have a pair of your clothes, a pair of your pants, a Valry pants. I have a pair of the rash guards. I have one of the rash guards that I love that I wear.

In the summer when I’m out on my paddle board for the sun protection aspect of it, I wear it when I’m hiking. I wear like, this is not just, Hey, if you’re in the military, this applies. This is if you’re in law enforcement. This is if [00:44:00] you are outdoor hiking, this is if you’re… That’s why you call it the functional fit of this clothing is it’s for the everyday person who needs pants with pockets,

Katheryn: What a…

Kelly: …that fit you. Right. Yeah. Right.

Katheryn: And that’s our hope, right? First responders, my best friend wears them and she has toddlers and she was just filling them with everything that you need for twins. So…

Kelly: I’m laughing because I’m thinking bottles, snacks, pinkies, depending on how old they are. Yes.

Katheryn: So yes the hope is, we’re gonna make pockets cool again. But there’s this, this misconception when we talk first responders and police, and I actually just had this conversation with a friend the other day about women cops, and he was like, there’s no way that, you [00:45:00] know, women can take down a big suspect.

And I was like, I’ve seen the videos. The guys can’t take down a big suspect either. and we have this, this misconception that women can’t. And so if women can’t, then let’s just not allow them to. And it’s this weird prejudice that if you don’t allow them to, to begin with, then they can’t prove you wrong.

And, and, and I was talking to ’em about, look, they’re, they’re equalizers and I think we’ve, we’ve had this conversation before. If you put a five, three woman against a six foot five, Guy, and you put him in the ring and you put gloves on and yeah, of course, the guy’s most likely going to win, most likely unless she’s very, very good in, in terms of technique.

But that’s not what we’re talking about here, in these women and first responders. secret service, F B I D E A, we’re not talking [00:46:00] about. Putting gloves on and putting in the ring, and there’s a ref saying, okay, go. no low blows. we’re talking about a woman with, , the equalizers to make things a little bit even, or go on her side.

And at that point, it’s not size, it’s speed, accuracy and tactical judgment. And that’s what matters. And , Doug, I’m, I’m sure you saw this, it didn’t matter if the women’s women that you worked with were these big, huge, tactical, large women. It mattered how intelligent they were.

It mattered how good they were at techniques. And for a lot of these, they are more tactical. professions, it is about technique now, and it is about , ensuring that they’re doing their job correctly. and so yes, it’s, it’s not just military. It’s really any [00:47:00] woman who needs this, well, needs pockets for one.

, but needs these functional, functional clothes. And it doesn’t matter if, if you’re in the military or if you are a woman out hiking and you need the, be the ability to have functional clothes that fit you, so you can neutralize whatever danger is coming and then get away.

Doug: Well, if it fits and it’s functional, it’s one less thing for you to have to worry about. You can devote your energy, your resources, to worrying about the things that are outside of your control. So get what you can to take care of yourself, to give yourself that advantage.

Katheryn: Yeah I…

Kelly: And I will say that every time I wear your pants, I always get other females in the room going Where? Where did you find those? What? What did they wanna know? Because it is really rare. As a female. To find pants that fit, that have the pockets. And, I know that this isn’t probably a top selling [00:48:00] point, but I still giggle that you literally created a pocket for tampons.

And while most people think, well, what the heck? But I’m like, hi, yes, that’s a real thing for women. It’s like, where do we put We need to, because most female pants are in our pockets that are deep enough or aren’t super tight. So you can see obviously, What’s going on? I just… those types of things get missed because the perspective of the person designing them isn’t necessarily the person who’s going to end up using them.

Katheryn: Yeah. And, and that’s one of the struggles we’ve had with a lot of vendors and, and not to trash other vendors, by any means because it’s a, it’s a hard industry. But, men are designing for women. women who’ve never been out in the field are designing for women and they’re going for what’s comfortable for them.

, which is why you’re seeing a lot of lowrise and mid low rise pants. And it’s like if you put a gun belt and just run around [00:49:00] anywhere, all of a sudden,  you’re gonna have horrendous camel toe and understand why you don’t have Lou rice pants, right? 

Doug: …and expose the world. Yeah.

Katheryn: Yeah. They have to be squat proof. All of these things that women who are listening are like, yeah, absolutely. We started with every single problem that we had in the field, and we created a design feature to solve those problems. Tampons was a big one. I don’t want my tampons next to brass and dirt and crap that I put in my cargo pockets.

, I am gonna be out in the field 45, 90 days, 180 days. I need pants that are durable enough to hang with that and, and to keep up with me and have the pocket space to hide or carry the things that I need to carry. so it. Yes, I am a firm believer of women designing for women.

I am not a designer. I knew nothing about the clothing industry. [00:50:00] , I was just a Marine who had a problem. And, my conversations with my design team are hilarious because I don’t know. All of the vocabulary. And so I’m just like, I need to be able to tackle this guy. I need my shoulder smooth, I need to be able to roll under a car, and not rip my suit.

, so we’re, we’re talking about just very practical things that a lot of designers aren’t thinking about and, why should they? It’s a very niche market, but I mean, these badass women deserve close. They can keep up with them.

Doug: And, and it’s a growing market. It’s not shrinking so,

Kelly: No…

Katheryn: Actually correct. Women out bought men in the shooting industry last year, and I think they’re at 8 million women now and growing. So it’s definitely, yeah, it’s [00:51:00] amazing. And it’s great to see these women just really getting their own and feeling empowered and grasping in, in helping each other and supporting each other as they’re learning new things and new techniques.

So it’s really awesome to see.

Kelly: Well, very good. Well, as we wrap up here, is there anything else that you want to leave the listeners with? We’ll have links in the episode key to check out all of the clothing that cad currently offers. Again, I highly recommend if you just like being in the outdoors, okay, you like doing things outdoors, check ’em out.

Katheryn: Yeah, I’d say one thing. We are a for-women-by-women company. I have a military background obviously is what we’ve been talking about. but there are definitely a lot of professions that I don’t know what you all need. And I love talking to women who are like, I need this in my field in order to succeed.[00:52:00] 

Again, give us the problems and we will figure out how to solve them and create a product that makes sure that you all excel in what you’re doing. So you’ve already done it. You, you already got there. We’re just gonna make sure that, you excel based on your clothing, which is, again, it’s 2023.

This shouldn’t be an issue, but baby steps, we’ll get there.

Doug: Awesome.

Kelly: Well, thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Catherine. We’ve really appreciated it. It was great to talk to you and we look forward to seeing all the clothing items you’re gonna come out with next.

Katheryn: …opportunity. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Doug: Sure.