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Men’s fashion has taken a turn to make everyday basics designer must-haves recognized by savvy shoppers and ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Underwear and socks are jumping out from behind the scenes as the newest fashion statements for men to complete their stylish wardrobe.
Underwear is now an acceptable outerwear. Now that it is a men’s fashion statement, it is time for males to realize they can no longer get away with wearing worn-out, hole-ridden briefs, T-shirts, and socks. The new fashion trend has opened the way for inventiveness to make keeping men and their dresser drawers in style.
Innovation Makes Buying Men’s Fashion-Must Essentials Easy
The owners of Basic Outfitters began their quest to make it trouble-free to keep men equipped with fashion basics that can be easily cycled out as they become worn or torn. Creating the men’s fashion startup was kismet for Michael and Laura Dweck. She has a background in fashion and her husband, a background in business management and operations. With their startup launch of the online Create-A-Drawer service, the couple was urged by family and friends to go on the show, “Shark Tank.”
Michael Dweck explains, in this Guardian Liberty Voice interview with Carol Ruth Weber, the concept behind the creation of their startup idea, and how it led them to the show.
Carol Ruth Weber: What led you to create your men’s fashion company?
Michael Dweck: My wife and I had very limited space in our New York City apartment and Laura, who was a fashion designer, monopolized five out of our six dresser drawers. She told me to throw out anything that I had not worn in the last three months, and it ended up being 90 percent underwear, socks, and T-shirts. We were fascinated with the fact that I had so much stuff and didn’t wear it. I was only wearing the same rotation every week.
We did research and found out that most men hold on to their basics of underwear, socks, and tees for seven years. In researching the basics industry and the shopping for men, we found that the shopping experience, and model of shopping, was broken — faced with only two choices: Buying high quality at a high cost, or low quality for low cost.
Additionally, it is a very unexciting shopping experience for men. We wanted to do it better, making it fun and exciting with a better price point and higher quality. We founded the company on those principles.
CRW: What makes it worthwhile to purchase from you for men’s fashion basics, and not online from a big box store that may be less expensive?
MD: We designed our Create-a-drawer service that allows men to choose multiple pairs of socks, three underwear, three t-shirts, and a wild card choice for only $60. The core concept of our model is the more you buy, the more you are going to save.
If you take the 17 pieces and buy from a big box store, you will be starting at $75 for a lower quality. If purchased individually from Basic Outfitters, it would be $120. Shoppers save half the cost buying with the Create-A-Drawer service.
CRW: Do most order through Create-A-Drawer or do they order a la carte?
MD: Ninety percent of our first-time buyers purchase through our Create-A-Drawer model, and then return to replenish one specific item. We have a refer-a-friend program to get cash off next purchase.
CRW: Although a couple of sharks wanted to work with you, was it a letdown that you could not work out a deal on “Shark Tank?”
MD: We really went on “Shark Tank” knowing that we could benefit from a shark. We were happy with how our company was portrayed but disappointed that we could not hook a shark, based on our equity structure. The fact that we had offers, and that all the sharks unanimously agreed that the quality and the product was amazing, was validation.
CRW: What did you learn from your appearance on “Shark Tank”?
MD: There is a lot of takeaways. The most important was how important it is to understand your business. The preparation and learning to present on “Shark Tank” was the best way to understand our business. Laura and I considered it to be a business boot-camp; learning how to leverage the business with customer patterns, etc.
CRW: What is next for Basic Outfitters?
MD: Such an exciting time for us. We are expanding our categories for Create-A-Drawer to include more choices, such as hats and shirts. We have plans to roll out a women’s collection too. We are working on it now, and are sending a questionnaire to include what women would like in their drawer. We like to listen to customers and then try it.
Reaction to “Shark Tank” was amazing. We sold out six months worth of stock in a week. Only being two years old, we are constantly working to better our customer experience.
Men’s Fashion Basics Startup Makes Splash on ‘Shark Tank’
On a whim and a prayer, the Dweck’s sent an email to a “Shark Tank” general email address. To their surprise and happiness, Dweck received a phone call, two months later, from the show. The couple began the process to appear on the show, with hopes that “Shark Tank” would be what they needed to help grow the company geared for men’s fashion basics.
The goal of Create-A-Drawer is to offer men’s fashion basic needs that are high quality, at very affordable prices. The special format is designed to allow for men, and those shopping for them, to have a simple way to order all the essentials needed to equip their dresser drawer. As Laura Dweck explained on “Shark Tank,” each Create-A-Drawer purchase gives a man a clean start to fill a drawer with new basics. Shoppers can then sign up for regular deliveries to replace most needed items, which in the past, would have been worn until holes outlived elastic.
The format of ordering a drawer of basics gives the buyer a few easy steps to choose three pairs of underwear, up to eight pairs of socks, three t-shirts of choice, and a wild card choice for $60. The wild card can include another set of underwear, socks, tees, or a jogger. Michael Dweck stated, new men’s fashion offerings, such as hats and shirts, will be arriving as the company builds.
Much like many women cannot have enough shoes to go with their attire, socks in all colors and patterns have become an obsession for men’s fashion. Basic Outfitters has traveled a bit outside the basics, by offering choices of socks in colorful and exciting designs. Shoppers can also purchase any items a la carte, which they may fancy and want more of. This savvy and easy shopping for men’s fashion basics has taken off since the Basic Outfitters’ “Shark Tank” episode.
Dweck was correct when researching in his quest to start the business. It was time to end the issue of men having drawers filled with objects destroyed by years of wearing and washing. Since the airing of their “Shark Tank” episode, the startup has been a rising star for men’s fashion.
By Carol Ruth Weber
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Heavy: Basic Outfitters on ‘Shark Tank’: A Look Inside the Company
Forbes: Shark Tank Preview: How This Startup Is Disrupting A Saturated Market
The Shark Tank Blog: Basic Outfitters
The Shark Tank Blog: Socks and Underwear from Basic Outfitters
Basicoutfitters.com: Basic/Outfitters CREATE-A-DRAWER
All Images Courtesy of Michael Dweck – Used With Permission