Designing and selling men’s underwear and related merchandise to consumers at a profit is what the business is all about right? Therefore, to bring excitement and flair to their segment of merchandising, producers, designers and retailers must have a well-defined plan and follow the movement of general consumer preferences.
The success of fashion merchandising depends on correctly predicting which technology and the majority of consumers will accept designs. A successful brand must learn to distinguish the current trends in men’s underwear, estimate how widespread they are and determine which will appeal to the brand’s target audience.
In short, a trend is a direction in which fashion is moving and brands aim to recognize these very important consumer indicators. At present, there is growing concern nationwide for product made in the USA for both economic and sustainability reasons – not to mention a strong feeling of national pride, which has been on the rise in this turbulent global economy.
Modern fashion forecasters bear little resemblance to the mystical prognosticators of the old regime. Their ability to predict the strength and direction of fashion trends among their customers has almost nothing to do with what modern indicators are telling us today. Nor, does it depend on glances into the future through using past indictors. Today’s men’s underwear forecasters depend on a much more valuable commodity: technological information. Proven data, solid facts about the willingness of customers to accept certain goods are the basis of successful merchandising decisions.
In today’s computerized world, merchants are able to maintain “instant” records on sales, inventories and new fashion testing. In addition, wise brands and merchants keep their eyes open to see what as well as their own customers as well as the public as a whole are wearing. Through social media, they are so familiar with their customers’ lifestyles, economic status, educational levels and social milieu that they can easily determine at just what point their customer will have willingness to accept product advancements.
It’s generally assumed that men’s underwear is suppose to be the way that we have always been use to it. However, there is no hard evidence and no logical reason that this is so. Why is have accepted past product offerings isn’t clear. I recently reviewed a forward-thinking brand that by implementing modified design and technology aims to radically change our perception of underwear.
BN3TH launched in Vancouver, BC, to The brand DNA stemmed from the idea that no one performs at their best when they’re adjusting, or shifting or even worse; sweating.
Increased Comfort = Increased Performance
The brand was the first to create underwear with a three-dimensional pouch, and the patented MyPakage Pouch Technology™ remains the key to the uniquely supportive fit. They engineer underwear and base layers that keep you comfortable for full days on the mountain, on the water, in the gym or in the office. Over time, the brand evolved as a company to begin championing a full range of apparel for any and every consumer, endeavor, occasion, climate and style. They work hard to minimize the environmental impact of our business and contribute to causes that help preserve our planet. With a few years under their belt, they’ve established the most progressive collection to date. From multiple innovations in fabrics such as the sustainable Tencel™ model found in their Classic Boxer Briefs and Trunks to the brands new Hero Knit ultra-breathable athletic pieces, they’ve developed a product for everything and everyone. All of the underwear features
stitching and critically placed seams to eliminate chaffing and reduce bulk, but most importantly they contain the patented MyPakage Pouch Technology™ to lift and separate your boys, eliminating the need to shift or adjust.
The BREATHE collection makes up the largest segment of the product line and is known for being made with sustainable, breathable fabrics featuring limited-edition prints and unique colors. BREATHE is intended for elevating everyday life; at the office, the park with the kids, or happy hour.
For the athlete inside all of us, the brand’s MOVE collection embodies everything you could ever want in an athletic garment: moisture wicking properties, anti-odor technologies and a recycled fabric made from plastic bottles. These were designed to elevate performance without compromise.
I recently had the privilege to speak with
Chief Creative Officer Dez Price about what men are seeking today in underwear and how he is addressing these modified needs, the brands competitive advantage and What has been his greatest achievement to date in developing this technically advanced brand!
Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about the history, launch date and DNA of your brand?
Dez Price: BN3TH Started in 2010 while I was sitting around the dinner table with my best friend Dustin talking about what we should do next. He recently had sold his Skate/Snowboard shop and I had just left my job as Director of Marketing for a Canadian Apparel distributor that specialized in Action Sport apparel and footwear. Underwear became a topic as at that time we had friends who owned or were starting apparel, headwear and backpack, brands and we wanted to create something that didn’t compete with them. There were only a few new underwear brands around and no one really had anything cool with new technology in that category. We took an old pair of boxer briefs and started designing some pouch ideas that would separate and support the family jewels for ultimate comfort. Not just for everyday use but also at the highest level of sport. With some help from Dustin’s mom and her sewing machine, we created a few prototypes that we felt were good enough to send off to some factory connections we had from previous work contacts. We produced a small run that we handed out to athletes and industry ambassadors during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver to gather some feedback on the initial product. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive and everyone we gave a pair to told us we had to bring our idea to market. For 2 years it was more of a side project, manufacturing small runs of production which doubled every season. We attended a few tradeshows and handed out promo pairs guerilla style. We soon were able to hire a few reps and started talking with distributors. In 2013, we were seeing some positive numbers in retail, so we decided it was time to rent an office and start hiring some key staff. This is when it all became a full-time job.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, what is your competitive advantage in the market?
Dez Price: The main competitive advantage is our Patented MyPakage Pouch Technology™. The 3D pouch eliminates shifting, adjusting, rubbing and chaffing by separating and supporting the family jewels. No matter if it’s a chill day or an active day the technology is the most comfortable on the market. We wanted the design to be simple: you put on your underwear the same as you always would, but with our design everything simply falls into place. On top of having the best patented pouch design and comfort, we still set out to make sure that our print designs and colour choices were always on point with the latest trends from streetwear fashion and our personal DNA. We believe that underwear can be so much more than just something you wear. Being the first thing you put on in the morning, we set out with the mindset that we wanted to offer the most fashionable, comfortable and sustainable underwear for the customer to put on which would help inspire and give him the confidence to be the best version of himself. From the outfit he picks out that day to the activities he does, we want to give him permission to be radical! Our quality also sets us apart. We use sustainable buttery soft Tencel™ Modal fabric in the majority of our range, using far less water and emitting fewer emissions than the standard cotton fabric that most of our competitors use.
Joseph DeAcetis: What has been your greatest achievement in developing this brand?
Dez Price: Definitely the community of awesome people that has congregated around the brand. Hearing men and women talk about how much they just love the brand and how it has inspired them to follow their passions and do more good deeds and spread positivity in their communities. The amount of amazing stories that come in is overwhelming, from first responders all over the world taking the time to write a letter to say how much they love the product with pictures of their units/force to men with disabilities letting you know that the technology has changed their lives. Our testimonials are so authentic, I truly love that our brand has had such a strong impact so far. Going forward, I would have to say that our sustainable efforts have been a huge ongoing achievement. Every season we try to innovate more into making the product/packaging and logistics more friendly for our environment. This is probably my biggest motivation at the current stage of our brand.
Joseph DeAcetis: How do you intend to market to Millennial’s and Gen Z with advertising dollars?
Dez Price: The best marketing for us to get anyone no matter the generation is to simply try a pair on. Once this happens, the customer is converted and needs to switch out his whole underwear drawer. I believe the younger generations are also a lot more educated in sustainable and eco-friendly products. They understand that we, as a planet, are in big trouble if we keep manufacturing and producing the way that we do so we’re trying to change that. Our biggest difference is that we aren’t perfect, but we are trying to manufacture and produce all our goods with the planet in mind. From sustainable Tencel™ Modal to recycled post-consumer plastic bottles, our fabrics are helping us lead our industry from an environmental perspective.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, what are men seeking today in underwear and how are you addressing these needs?
Dez Price: I don’t believe most men are seeking anything with their underwear yet as they haven’t realized that there are more comfortable options out there. They have their go-to pairs and brands that they’ve been buying for decades with no idea that there is a more comfortable, breathable option with technology out there. Once more people come to realize that the design of engineered underwear is changing, we will be leading the way with what men will be seeking. We believe BN3TH will play a pivotal role in changing the way men wear underwear.
Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes in detail about your brands efforts to create sustainable product and sustainable packaging?
Dez Price: One of the most important factors in product sustainability is to ensure it is of the best possible quality and will last a long time. The longer you can wear an item, the longer it will stay out of a landfill. To this end, last year we partnered with Tencel™ (formerly known as Lenzing) out of Austria. They source sustainable beechwood (a renewable raw material) that produces all the fibre’s that go into our modal fabric. By partnering with Tencel™, we’ve been able to significantly decrease our carbon footprint and the amount of water and energy used during production compared to conventional cotton. One of our athletic styles, the Entourage series, is designed in collaboration with an athlete or artist and made of polyester which is actually produced from 100% post-consumer recycled water bottles. Just recently we partnered with a brand called XT2®, who’s permanent silver anti-odor technology is a fiber that is woven into a few of our styles and reduces bacteria and smell which in turn helps the product last longer. Additionally, XT2® won’t wash out unlike other silver washes some companies use.
Packaging is also a huge initiative for us. All of our bags are 100% recyclable and we don’t use single use poly bags for any of our products coming from the factory. We use a mesh multi-purpose bag for all clothing products that can be repurposed as a laundry wash bag and/or storage solution for everything from chargers/cords to a pencil case. As we are always innovating, starting next year we will be swapping out the multi-purpose mesh bags for a 100% biodegradable poly bag. This bag’s life span is maxed out at 200 days—really exciting stuff!
Joseph DeAcetis: If you could choose one celebrity to wear your brand, who would it be and why?
Dez Price: This is a great question, we actually have a lot of celebrities that have requested BN3TH from us including Justin Bieber, Ryan Reynolds, Jason Momoa, Zedd and athletes like Andre Agassi, Brayden McNabb, Scott Hannan, Zack Kassian and NASCAR’s Ty and Austin Dillon. If we did have an opportunity to use any celebrity for a future campaign my business partner and I have always dreamed of having Mark Walberg be the star. We grew up when Marky Mark first did the iconic CK shoots so I believe it would be exciting to bring him back to the spotlight along with his charity, Youth Foundation. In reality, I would love to work with any celebrity that is inspiring change and good living to both mankind and the planet. For instance, Mathew McConaughey with his Just Keep Living foundation or Leonardo DiCaprio with his foundation dedicated to the long-term health of the planet. We would love to have an opportunity to create a campaign incorporating their celebrity image in a positive way that has more of a radical voice for change and good than just product.
Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about how technology aided you in the development of your brand both product make-up and e-commerce?
Dez Price: Machine learning has been a key factor in the development of our e-commerce site and growth strategies. As time goes on, we’ve collected data which makes us better informed for decision-making and we are able to share this data with our retail partners for their product selection and sell-through goals. This is helping us lay a foundation to activate an Omni Channel experience not just for our team internally but also for our key retailer partners. In regard to production, the factory we work with has the latest and greatest technology in all aspects including sustainable fabrics, sewing, cutting, dying, etc.
Joseph DeAcetis: What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
Dez Price: My day starts with getting into the office and catching up on emails from the night before. We do a staff “stand up” in the morning where we each share some good news in our personal life and then what we are working on that day so that each team member has a chance to speak to anything they might need help with. After that, my day is mostly spent between the marketing/creative and product/design departments. The last part of the day usually involves meetings with management discussing budgets, logistic, legal and production.
Joseph DeAcetis: Where is the product made and why is it made there?
Dez Price: We’ve manufactured in many countries, but we always seem to come back to China. You can’t beat the quality and skills that they have there. However, we are very aware of the stigma that comes with manufacturing in China so instead of moving we decided to challenge our factory to be greener and eco-friendlier. Along with some other big brands who do their production with our factory, we started requesting that more technology and innovation be introduced at the factory level. Our factory responded by building a state-of-the-art facility using old shipping containers that run on solar power, recycling all trimmed fabric scraps and incorporating a water filtration system that reduces and recycles wastewater. They also elevated their working conditions by offering staff a brand-new dining hall, night life KTV, and the newest tech in apparel manufacturing. They are building a knitting facility that will have a huge impact on decreasing the carbon footprint of logistics. This same factory is located in a resort town, surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and lakes so staff get to enjoy lots of nature. Lastly, which is my favourite, the factory owner is a huge advocate for animals. He’s been rescuing and rehabilitating stray dogs and cats for as long as I’ve known him. Every time I visit, I get to meet a new pet with a funny name. He’s so passionate about all his animals that he’s even built them their own private play space in the factory! Last time I skyped with him he had found a puppy in the sewers that he had saved so I got to name him!
Joseph DeAcetis: You have the floor: Talk to my viewers about why they should try this brand now?
Dez Price: We believe in you living your most radical life, expressing the most awesome and authentic version of you!! We know that you will experience better performance in everything you do throughout the day through the ultimate comfort of BN3TH. This will result you in being more comfortable on a plane, at your desk, on the field or just sitting on the couch. If you have never experienced it you are missing out—we offer a 100% guarantee so even if you don’t like our underwear, we’ll re