A picture of a female customer posted on Facebook sealed the deal for Erin Fujimoto and Tom Patterson, cofounders of Tommy John, a men’s underwear brand that’s now venturing into the women’s category.
In the picture, the customer was wearing Tommy John men’s underwear with a caption pleading with the brand to create a line for women.
“I realized that the noise from our customers became really loud. They were even coming up with suggested brand names for us like Tommy Jane and Tammy Joe,” said Fujimoto, who is also the head of merchandising. “We realized there is a void in the market and she’s being underserved, and we need to figure out what that void is.”
Fujimoto and Patterson developed the line over the course of two years and used the same three f’s — fit, fabric and function — they apply to the men’s line to create the women’s collection, which is made up of two fabrics and promises no visible panty lines, no waistbands that pinch and no bunching. Air is an ultralight mesh, antimicrobial stretch fabric with seamless, bonded edges. It comes in a thong, cheeky and a brief. Second Skin is a non-pilling, micro-modal fabric that will come in a thong, cheeky, brief and boy short. The collection ranges from $20 to $28 and Tommy John is guaranteeing that if it’s not the best pair of underwear a consumer has ever owned, they will offer a refund.
The launch will also include the Stay-Tucked camisole, which uses the same patented design technology as the Stay-Tucked men’s undershirt. It will come in Air and Second Skin and will retail from $30 to $36. Lounge, which Patterson describes as an exploding category, will be introduced this summer. The line will be available on Tommy John’s e-commerce site and within its store at King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania. There are plans to open a second shop in Charlotte, N.C., this summer and a third store later on in a location that’s yet to be determined. They will bring the line to retail in early 2019. Patterson said women make up 50 percent of the traffic within its suburban Philadelphia store.
To market the collection, they’ve taken cues from their popular Big Adjustments men’s campaign. Actress Elizabeth Banks directed a video spot, which centers around the discreet, little adjustments women make throughout their day. It will be running on Tommy John’s digital channels, within its stores and potentially on major TV networks.