These times require more than just socks.
If you’ve ever worried about having enough clean underwear, imagine being homeless with no access to a proper washing machine or dresser to store them in.
Fortunately, Bombas, which began with the premise of providing homeless shelters through the “buy one, give one” socks model, is now expanding its business to include underwear for men and women.
A natural extension of socks to briefs and boxers
This is a natural extension of the brand as underwear is the second most in-demand product for the homeless after socks, said Randy Goldberg, co-founder and chief brand officer. This is because, as with socks, only new underwear can be donated for hygienic reasons.
“I think of our growth in terms of what we bring into the world, the people we bring together, and the impact on the homeless community,” Goldberg said.
For Bombas, however, the launch is an opportunity to move from a company solely focused on socks to a multi-product business, said Dave Heath, also co-founder and CEO.
The ‘PB&J’ model
While the fast-growing company, which had sales of nearly $ 250 million in 2020, also sells t-shirts, the focus has continued to be on socks, he said. Basically, underwear, which Goldberg served as the jelly for the peanut butter in socks, essentially serves as a bridge to t-shirts (the third most popular item in homeless shelters) so Bombas can expand the scope of its messages to consumers.
As the digitally born brand embarks on this new path, it is encouraging to know that they are successful with a model that others have missed out on. The company has been profitable from the start and has donated over 45 million items of clothing, according to Heath.
“We didn’t start the business with the idea of building the next billion dollar business,” he said.
$ 20 million or $ 20 billion – does that matter?
Rather, the intent was to solve an urgent problem by creating a sustainable business, whether that led to a company with $ 20 million in revenue or $ 200 million in revenue, Heath added.
This pragmatism in the name of building a company that could live up to its dedication to homeless shelters and its employees helped Bombas avoid the fate of brands that burned cash to attract customers and grow faster.
Goldberg said big brands are built over decades, citing the examples of Nike and Patagonia, who in their early years were lauded not for their sales growth but for the quality of their products.
“We want our story to be about what we do in the world, not how much we’re worth,” he said.
Average people, not models
For the product itself, the idea was to design underwear for the typical or average human body type rather than a model, Goldberg explained, noting that the new products took two years to develop.
He said that men’s underwear is made from a cotton modal, which is cotton mixed with a fiber made from beech wood pulp that will keep you cool and have a natural feel that won’t sag or sag. The product also lacks a heavy waistband that pinches. Certain models even have a patent-pending diagonal fly.
The women’s underwear, on the other hand, is made of either cotton modal or nylon modal (or seamless, as Bombas calls the production). The underwear is constructed using a seamless technique to wear a low profile. The idea is that the customer puts it on and then forgets that they are even wearing it. Both the design of men and women are intended to appeal to a broad segment of the population.