How ABT's Betsy McBride Helped Create the Eco-Friendly Dancewear Brand of Your Dreams
Betsy McBride has already had the dance career many bunheads dream of. For eight years, she danced with Texas Ballet Theater, where she rose to principal, before joining American Ballet Theatre in 2015. She’s performed featured roles in Giselle, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet and Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker. She even graced the cover of Pointe back in 2018.
But now, McBride is adding the role of businesswoman to her resumé, as a co-founder of Rezonance Athletics, a dancewear brand committed to using only sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics. Rezonance is the eco-friendly dancer’s dream: All of their products are made from either recycled water bottles or pre-consumer fabric scraps.
We had the chance to speak with McBride about why she thinks Rezonance is filling a gap in the dancewear industry—and why she’s excited to take her first steps as an entrepreneur.
What inspired the founding of Rezonance Athletics?
My fiancé, [co-founder and CEO] Simon Wexler, basically came up with the whole idea. But it really began because we’re all so passionate about sustainability, and we noticed a big gap in the dance and athletic-wear market—we saw that there weren’t any fully sustainable eco-friendly dancewear lines out there, and we wanted to change that.
Why do you think this gap in the industry existed before?
Now that I’m involved, I can see that it’s probably because of the cost. It is more expensive to use high-quality fabrics, and to utilize a high-quality production house that treats its workers ethically. I think that’s probably the biggest reason for that gap—because it’s a lot easier to do things less sustainably.
If the cost is higher, why would dancers buy sustainably made dancewear?
There’s more meaning to buying something sustainable. You’re doing good by purchasing our products. You’re purchasing a product that prevents plastic going into landfills or the ocean, and you know that the working conditions in which it was made are safe and fair.
Do you think it’s helpful that both you and your fiancé are from the dance world?
Definitely. Since we’re both athletes, we know what we need from the products—we want the fashion aspect of them to look really sleek and nice, but we also need them to uphold high standards when we’re performing or working out. Not only are our products sustainable, they’re also really authentic.
How did you balance dancing with ABT and working for Rezonance?
Honestly, it was really, really difficult. At the beginning, my fiancé was doing most of the work, all the financing and business aspects. But once we launched, I started to have a lot on my plate. I’m the director of marketing for Rezonance, so especially when the brand was new, just getting the word out there was the hardest part. It was definitely hard to juggle it all, but now I’m more in the swing of things.
What was it like getting other ABT dancers involved as models for your products?
It’s been so great. So many of my friends at ABT care about sustainability, so they were really excited about our brand, and really helpful. I had so many friends come to me and say, “We love your mission and what you’re doing, and we’d love to be involved in any way we can.”
Has it been at all challenging running a business during a pandemic?
It has been, especially right at the beginning, because sales weren’t coming in as frequently. But now, we’ve actually gotten more time to focus on the brand, and think about how we want to proceed, and how we can promote our company more. Like, now we’ve come out with Rezonance face masks, since there’s a huge demand for masks right now.
What’s been the most rewarding part of all of this?
The most rewarding part is just being able to push sustainability to the forefront of the dancewear and athleticwear industry. We have a mission, to better ourselves and better the environment we live in, and I think following through on that mission makes all of us at Rezonance feel like we’re doing something really good.