They tell you not to skimp when buying a mattress because you spend a third of your life sleeping in one; but what about socks, underwear, and other basics? The truth is, you may spend more more time wearing an assortment of low quality essentials and you’ve never known anything else. Enter Mack Weldon, the company that manufactures its own fabric and is redefining how you wear essentials. Focusing on men’s essentials, the brand has expanded to become a full fashion brand. With $12M in funding under their belt, Mack Weldon and its assortment of meticulously designed fabric, is raising the bar for comfort with no sacrifice in style.
AlleyWatch chatted with Founder and CEO Brian Berger about the company and why it was such a necessity to redefine our basics.
Tell us about the product or service.
We founded Mack Weldon because we wanted more out of our basics and always questioned how something so essential could be such a pain to buy?
The frustration was real and our “eureka moment” happened in a department store aisle full of brands that dominated our top drawer. Surrounded by a mind-numbing assortment of underwear and socks, we realized consistent fit and quality became a game of roulette… so we decided to take matters into our own hands.
How is it different?
We started from scratch and engineered our own fabric. We made sure the design process was meticulous so you can count on the fit being the same each time. We built a world class customer experience. The difference is in the details so we obsessed over every stitch and seam until we’d reached our definition of perfect. We also focus on what our customers need, and prioritize those needs when it comes to our business strategy to make sure we’re keeping them happy.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Our focus at Mack Weldon is wardrobe essentials – underwear, undershirts, socks, and tees – but as you know we’ve begun to extend into related categories including sweats and polos. NPD estimates our core market at over $12B domestically (underwear, socks, tees) but of course that number is much greater once you add other categories and markets.
What is the business model?
We are equal parts consumer goods brand and digital marketing machine.
What inspired the business?
Really it was the plight of a frustrated consumer. I always hated the process of buying underwear and socks – from the weird marketing, to the over-assorted department stores and inconsistent / ever-changing product landscape – there had to be a better way. Our brand aims to fix all of that – fun, relatable marketing, simple, easy shopping, and long-term, recurring customer relationships.
Would you mind telling us about your new partnership with Equinox?
Sure, we partnered with them on the launch of our new AIRKNITx underwear line – it’s our first foray into an active product made with an innovative, breathable microfiber. We customized the packaging and are currently in all their retail doors. In my view EQ is the perfect partner – very complimentary brand, our customers are there doing something they like, we have an exclusive presence and it’s one of the main reasons guys come into the shop (they forgot their underwear).
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We have aggressive plans that includes several new successful product launches – some in category and some new categories. From a sales POV we will more than double the business again. Lastly we need to continue to make great hires – the quality of our team is the reason we’ve been successful.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Conducting the orchestra is very hard. Under 40 people you are still involved in pretty much all of the key decisions.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Anthony Bourdain – I know he is not consumer good or tech but I love food and travel and think his is the coolest dude around. In terms of business – it would be pretty amazing to meet with Michael Bloomberg.
Why did you launch in New York?
I am from NY and truly believe it’s the center of the universe when it comes to brands, fashion and innovation. If you can break through here, then there is a good chance you can do it everywhere else.
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?
SOHO House Meatpacking – some people think its past its prime but there’s no better spot on a summer night.