Granny panties are making a comeback. As Hayley Phelan of the New York Times wrote a week ago in Young Women Say No to Thongs, young women are moving away from tiny torture devices and towards more comfortable and practical options. The Times article has the market research to back it up – thong sales decreased 7 percent over 2014, while sales of full-coverage bottoms have grown 17 percent. Female ecommerce entrepreneurs like Daphne Javitch of Ten Undies and Julia Baylis & Mayan Toledano of Me and You, are following the market shift and gaining a loyal following. Atlanta-based FOXERS is getting in on the action too. Their undergarments are “fun, sexy, comfortable,” won’t leave you walking around with a permanent wedgie, and are flying off of the online shelves.
Founded by April Spring (pictured above) and Alex Emmermann, “FOXERS clothing is primarily lingerie and loungewear and has grown from the first styles of women’s underwear featuring the men’s boxer waistband, to many styles that bridge sleepwear and loungewear,” explains Spring. “FOXERS give women the comfort and style of boxer shorts, but still look and feel sexy. When wearing FOXERS you might be asked, ‘Are you wearing boxer shorts?’ You can proudly answer, ‘Not boxers, FOXERS,’ and (if you dare) show a little more of what lies beneath.”
On the face of it, adding a men’s boxer waistband on other styles of underwear doesn’t feel revolutionary. However, this concept is so unique that April has held two design patents since 2008 and 2009. In 2009, in order to enforce the patent, Spring filed a lawsuit against Target Corp. alleging the retailer knocked-off her design.
In its infancy, FOXERS pursued both online and offline distribution channels and to this day, they maintain a digital as well as brick and mortar presence. “When we started selling FOXERS the e-commerce wasn’t what it is today, so we began by going to tradeshows and marketing to high-end boutique buyers and department stores,” she recalls. “Since FOXERS was taken to new sales heights in late 2012, the consumer turned our focus to e-commerce, but we haven’t abandoned the brick and mortar channel for the sake of our distribution mix.”
(Foxers HQ – 196 14th Street NW Atlanta GA 30318)
Social media is has played a large role at FOXERS as it brought them to new heights post-recession. “Alex moved us to Bigcommerce platform January 2015, which has been excellent for our sales, brand, and social media management,” says Spring. “I began Pinterest for personal reasons in 2012 and then it became a sales channel on it’s own in connection with The Hunt. There, we find requests for products like ours and let folks know we have a product like the one they are looking for. That was the beginning of our e-commerce expansion and new focus.”
“Clothing is a very visual purchase so we use Pinterest and Instagram to get people introduced to the brand,” adds Emmermann. “Right now I’m looking at making our Instagram feed shoppable, there are a few companies that are helping companies do this.”
(Talk about a female friendly workplace. There’s a nursery onsite)
To date, FOXERS is bootstrapped all the way and the founders say they are loving the experience. They are also proud to call Georgia’s capital home. “It’s our home and corporate base,” says Spring. “We are so fortunate to be in a vibrant, fashionable city with tons of resources surrounding us from print, t-shirt companies, manufacturing, graphic design, social media, great talent for staff, ease of travel in and out, etc. We also lend a helping hand around town by donating clean undies to the shelters and joining charitable events.”
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