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A Portland Company That Makes Boxing Clothes for Women Has Seen Sales Boom During the Pandemic

Women found ways to keep boxing even when they couldn’t go to gyms, much less spar.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

As the founder of a company that makes boxing gear for women, Lynn Le was worried as hell when COVID-19 hit and quarantine started.

When gyms closed indefinitely, she assumed her fledgling company, Society Nine, was in big trouble. Then, she ran across a post on Instagram from a customer in New York City who had attached kick and punch pads to a tree and was hitting them with a pair of Society Nine gloves.

Women were finding a way to keep boxing even though they couldn't go to gyms, much less spar.

"When I saw that, I said, 'We're going to be fine,'" Le says.

Society Nine has been more than fine during COVID. Sales have grown 30% during the pandemic as people look to stay fit—and sane—during lockdown.

Le is grateful. She also has perspective. Her family came to the U.S. from Vietnam, where they escaped a war that makes the pandemic look like a cloudy day at the beach.

"I called my mom," recalls Le, "and she said, 'We're going to be fine. There is a plan. Wear a mask. Stay distant from people. We escaped war. There was no plan then.'"

Le got the idea for Society Nine while she was teaching kick boxing, after she earned her brown belt in Krav Maga, a self-defense system used by the Israel Defense Forces that combines aikido, boxing, wrestling and karate.

If anyone can handle COVID, it's her—and maybe her mom.

Related: Society Nine Is Portland's First Boxing Apparel Line for Women