While subscription clothing and shoes from the likes of Trunk Club may not be for everyone, you don’t have to hate to shop to love the idea of subscription undershirts. Basic underwear and undershirts should be switched out on a regular basis, but who really thinks about buying underwear until they’re threadbare? Getting a pack of shirts in the mail every couple of months from an Internet retailer is the perfect solution to your gross underwear drawer.
May 2019 update: Sadly, Stork’s website is no longer operating. Check out Stork founder Greg Schwartz’s latest venture, Moon Pod, a Zero-Gravity reinvention of the beanbag designed for deep relaxation, which landed a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. If you are looking for a subscription clothing service, try Nordstrom’s Trunk Club or Stitch Fix. See my Stitch Fix review and discover why I returned everything they sent me.
Stork aims to address three problems with conventional undershirts from the department store — boxy fit, sleeves that bunch, and short length.
The company also seeks to convince guys to do something they know they ought to be doing more of anyway — changing out their undershirts more frequently. Stork’s survey found that 80% of men say that they don’t buy fresh undershirts as often as they should. It’s a wonder that number isn’t higher.
Greg took Stork live earlier this year and is looking to grow organically without spending big bucks on advertising. He has nailed down a couple of nice features, including placing in the top-10 on Product Hunt and a plug on NBC News New York.
Currently, a “modern v-neck” and “classic crew” are available for sale. The shirts cost anywhere from around $7 to $10 each depending on whether you order packs of 3, 5 or 7 and include free shipping. Greg’s long term vision is to enable Stork to become a one-stop shop for men’s essential apparel including underwear and socks.
Modern Fellows caught up with Greg (pictured below) — who provided undershirt samples at no charge — to discuss his background, ill-fitting and over-worn undershirts, and recommendations on starting a business.
As for the shirts? They are soft and comfortable and fit well. If you like the shirts but not the subscription, you can buy individual packs on the website.
One note on sizing: As the website highlights, the shirts are not pre-shrunk and will shrink in the wash. If the shirts fit just right or are a little snug out of the box, you ought to exchange them for a larger size.
What about your experience and background made you want to start Stork?
I graduated from Babson College, a school known for its entrepreneurship programs, and started my first business, an iPad case eCommerce business, while I was in school. Along with my entrepreneurial background/education, I’ve hated every undershirt I’ve ever worn, and I wanted to fix the three main issues I’ve always had with the fit. I also love the feel of a nice, soft fabric.
How do you differentiate yourself from the myriad other undershirt producers out there?
We designed a 100% cotton shirt that wears like athletic material, but has a unique cut; shorter sleeves, narrower waist, and mid-length to wear casually and/or to count on staying tucked. We also offer a convenient and affordable subscription service that automatically ships new undershirts every 3, 4 or 6 months. We don’t send one per month – you don’t need undershirts that often. We also are priced at about 20% what some others are priced at – $30 for 3 / $40 for 5 / $50 for 7 and free shipping.
Could you share a little insight into the manufacturing process and supplier relationship?
We found our supplier on Alibaba, and they’re based overseas in Southeast Asia. We moved on from our first supplier because we found a far better product that was delivered on-time. I recently wrote a blog article about finding my supplier on Medium which goes step by step about what I did.
Are you global or do you have designs to be?
We currently ship to the US and Canada, but we have plans to expand once we operate on a scale that allows us to get international shipping costs down. But at the moment, we’re really focusing on the US and Canadian markets.
What advice would you give for someone looking to start a business in the digital age?
I would recommend that you talk to your friends first, and then talk to your potential customer base before you invest a dollar in any business. Friends are always the best place to start because usually (if you have good friends), they will shoot it to you straight. Everyone has the negative and the positive friend, but take the average of all, and see where you are.
If your idea survives the friend round, move to potential customers, and see what resonates, what doesn’t. If your idea seems viable from these conversations the next step is to just go. There are so many resources for non-technical people to start businesses there is nothing stopping anyone from launching a business.
About JakeJake is an expert on men’s style and fashion based in Washington, DC. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs and innovative clothing and lifestyle brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. He has published hundreds of articles on style and apparel, and regularly interviews small business CEOs and startup founders about industry trends. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine.
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