“We’ve carved out this lane,” said MeUndies chief executive officer Jonathan Shokrian. “We’ve created a voice that’s unique in the space.”
The membership-based brand delivers underwear to consumers’ doors. Since it was founded in 2011, the L.A.-based company has sold 12 million pairs. It’s $16 a month for men’s, $14 for women’s. And these days, they’re selling much more than the undergarment. They have socks, loungewear, from robes to onesies, accessories like slippers and for women, bralettes.
“We don’t want to take ourselves too seriously,” shared Shokrian. This year, they launched matching scarves for customers — and their pets. They have baby onesies, too. “We like to have fun.”
The idea for a subscription model was born when he was living in Dallas, packing for a European trip and realized he simply “didn’t have enough underwear.” There was a gap in the market, he thought, and nothing available to make the consumption of the item easy. “It felt like the whole process was broken.” He also wanted to change the way people felt about the undergarment.
It was all pre-Instagram. “The primary driver was advertorials and press,” he said of growth. He wanted to target the consumer who was looking for “alternatives to what was already out there.”
The direct-to-consumer brand began launching prints, “cheesy” ones, too, which was a success for the label. At the time, they also began focusing on women more, mirroring what they were doing in men’s. “From there, we started to really drive the prints in a big way,” he shared.
When social media came along, it was an opportunity to interact with consumers, he said. “E-mails can be a little bombarding, so Instagram was the perfect place to engage with them daily, expose them to the process, the things that were important to us.”
Over the years, MeUndies has partnered with organizations to share a message of unity, supporting the LGBTQ community, body inclusivity, working with Make-A-Wish, the Amber Rose Foundation, which promotes women’s rights and equality, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
And while this alienated some, “over time, a smaller group of customers really started to support us and took us to that next level…We try to inspire. Early on, we really wanted to stand for something.”
These days, they’re focused on building their online community IRL: “I really spend a lot of time listening to our customers. We invite customers to our office.”
They’ve also been exploring brick-and-mortar experiences, in partnership with Simon Ventures, with “test” pop-ups. “Retail is a place where we can meet our customers in real life. It’s a great place for people to learn about the brand and see the product.”
But he’s cautious, he said. “It’s a very different business.”