Spotlight: How UnderGents Plans to Reinvent the Men’s Undergarment Industry

men's undergarment industry

Mens’ underwear is hardly a revolutionary product line. However, many of the popular brands fall behind when it comes to comfort. So a product specialist from other industries stepped in to form UnderGents.

Read about the brand and what makes it stand out in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Sells comfortable undergarments.

Founder and CEO Bill Barba told Small Business Trends, “UnderGents develops and markets men’s underwear and lounge wear with a primary focus on comfort.”

Business Niche

Only using comfortable materials.

Barba says, “We use our CloudSoft micro modal that is a premium micro modal (95%) with only 5% elastic. Many other brands of men’s underwear use high levels of elastic and very narrow leg widths that squeeze the legs creating what we call the bike short effect. Our focus is having mens underwear and loungewear that flow with a man and are comfortable in any situation and keep men cool underneath. Our CloudSoft fabric is multiple times softer and cooler than cotton and polyester underwear so men feel fresh all day every day.”

How the Business Got Started

To solve a common problem.

Prior to starting Undergents, Barba had been a CFO and head of operations for several consumer product businesses. He noticed a common problem with many popular underwear brands. They felt too tight and hot. So he decided he could take what he had done in other product categories and launch a direct-to-consumer line of comfortable men’s underwear.

Biggest Win

A constant stream of small wins.

Barba explains, “There has not been any one “big” win we talk about but more of a continuing series of small victories. These go from prototyping to launching a product we believe in, creating a website that we improve on an ongoing basis, launching the brand in more marketplaces, to seeing media write positively about our products.”

Biggest Risk

Ordering the first batch of products.

Barba adds, “It required a significant outlay of cash to manufacture and ship products that had never been sold before, and understanding that if they were desired by men we would have several lifetimes of underwear sitting around.”

Lesson Learned

Invest in your business.

Barba says, “There are probably a number of things that could have been done differently. I would have probably invested more in the brand building earlier with an assumption of success versus risk. We also experienced a longer initial development cycle working with a few early consultants that couldn’t execute timely and we could have spent more to go with bigger groups to save time.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Growing and promoting the product line.

Barba says, “The majority would go into expanding the product line with more styles and colors and in marketing efforts.”

Biggest Misconception

Photoshoot frequency.

Barba says, “Contrary to some of my friends’ wives’ thoughts, we are not having male underwear models in photoshoots every day that they can help “intern” for.”

Image: Undergents

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.