These times require more than just socks.
If you’ve ever worried about having enough clean underwear, imagine being homeless without access to a washer or proper dresser to store it.
Fortunately Pumps, who started with the idea of providing socks to homeless shelters through the ‘buy one, give one’ model, is now expanding her business to offer underwear for men and women.
A natural extension from socks to briefs and boxers
It is a natural extension for the brand given that underwear is the second most requested item by homeless after socks, said Randy Goldberg, co-founder and brand director. Indeed, like socks, only new pairs of underwear can be given for hygiene purposes.
“I think of our growth in terms of what we put in the world, the people we bring together and the impact on the homeless community,” Goldberg said.
But for Bombas, the launch is an opportunity to move from a company focused only on socks to a multi-product one, said Dave Heath, also a co-founder and CEO.
The ‘PB&J’ model
While the fast growing company– which generated nearly $ 250 million in sales in 2020 – also offers t-shirts, with the main focus being on socks, he said. The underwear, which Goldberg considered to be pretty much the peanut butter jelly of socks, essentially serves as a bridge to T-shirts (the third most requested item by homeless shelters), allowing Bombas to broaden the reach of its messages to consumers.
As the digital native brand embarks on this new path, it is heartwarming to know that it is succeeding with a model where others have failed. The company has been profitable since its inception and has donated more than 45 million pieces of clothing, according to Heath.
“We didn’t start the business with the idea of creating the next billion dollars,” he said.
$ 20 billion or $ 20 billion – does it matter?
Rather, the intention was to solve a pressing problem by building a sustainable business, regardless of whether it resulted in a business with $ 20 million in sales or $ 200 million in sales, Heath added.
This pragmatism, in the name of creating a business that could honor its commitment to both homeless shelters and its employees, helped Bombas avoid the fate of brands that burned money to acquire customers and grow faster.
Goldberg said big brands are built over decades, citing the examples of Nike and Patagonia, which were praised in their early years not for growing sales, but rather for the quality of their products.
“We want our story to be about what we do in the world, not about what we are worth,” he said.
Average humans, not role models
As for the product itself, the idea was to design underwear for the most typical or average human body type rather than a model, Goldberg explained, noting that it had taken two years to develop the new ones. products.
He said that men’s underwear is made of modal cotton, which is cotton blended with a fiber made from beech wood pulp that keeps you cool and has a natural feel that does not runaway and does not sag. The product also lacks a heavy belt that clamps. On some styles, it even features a patent pending diagonal fly.
Women’s underwear, on the other hand, is made with either cotton modal or nylon modal (or seamless as Bombas calls manufacturing). The underwear is constructed with a no-sew technique in order to wear a low profile. The idea is that the customer puts it on and even forgets that they are wearing it. Models for men and women are intended to appeal to a large population.