Ok guys, admit it: You hate shopping, but you know what you really hate? Shopping for underwear.
Well there's a new brand of men's apparel, called Mack Weldon, that is designed not just to provide a better fit for men's underthings, but also to provide a better customer experience online. With its recent launch, Mack Weldon offers a choice of underwear between trunks and boxer briefs, as well as undershirts and t-shirts, both available in crew- and v-neck options. It specializes in basic, classic colors, and a unique fit that's meant to ensure maximum comfort.
When I first heard about the startup, I thought it was an interesting business, sort of along the lines of Bonobos or Warby Parker or other apparel brands that have cropped up online. But the thing that really got my attention is founder and CEO Brian Berger, who previously worked at Comcast as part of its Silicon Valley-based CIM product group, as well as stints at Excite and WebMD. So what's a Silicon Valley product guy doing peddling T-shirts and underthings for men?
When thinking about what he wanted to do next, Berger thought to himself, “What is a product I'm constantly unsatisfied with? What is an experience I'm constantly unsatisfied with?” And, well, underwear was that thing. Berger said he saw an opportunity to innovate on the product, while also creating a better customer experience. So he teamed up with co-founder Michael Isaacman, who previously worked for apparel brands like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Rocawear. And they began looking to source high-quality materials and find the best factories and fulfillment centers to create and ship its product.
So there are a few things that make Mack Weldon different, according to Berger. The founding team worked with a couple of apparel consultants who were former Nike and Adidas executives to determine the best type of fit and prototype new products. And what it came up with is actually pretty good. To start, Mack Weldon clothes are made with a signature blend of cotton, Lycra, and Lenzing Modal fabric, a super-soft, anti-microbial fabric.
It's also put a lot of effort into ensuring the right fit and comfort for its apparel. Mack Weldon underwear is designed with waistbands and elastic in the legs that are made to be comfortable while also staying put. It's also designed with “mesh cool zones” to breathe in places where dudes tend to sweat. (No more swamp butt!) T-shirts have rotated seams - so that they're not cut under the arm - and undershirts are cut long and run thinner, so that they stay tucked in your pants and don't bunch up under your clothes.
On the customer service side, Mack Weldon has a few things going for it that differentiate it's buying experience from other brands. While its shirts and underwear might be a tad more expensive than your run-of-the-mill underthings - though maybe not from a designer perspective - the brand gives discounts for bulk purchasing. Users get 15 percent off when they spend $100, 20 percent off when they spend $150, and 25 percent off when they spend $200 or more.
It also has an auto-replenish feature that will let users sign up to have more product automatically sent when they need it. But it's not about tricking users into signing up for a subscription service for a product they don't know they like yet - it's about getting people who like the product to decide they want more of it. “Our philosophy around auto-replenishment is that we want to make things easier for guys,” Berger told me. “We want to earn customer loyalty.”
So I've tried out some of its products and have to say that from a quality perspective, I really like what Mack Weldon has done. Shirts and underwear are extra-comfortable, although I personally found sizing in shirts to run slightly big (it suggests you go up a size if you're unsure). The good news is that after running through the laundry, shirts and underwear didn't shrink much, although it's too early for me to tell how they'll hold up over time. The other good news - if you're not satisfied or something doesn't fit, Mack Weldon will issue a full refund for clothes returned within 30 days.