For most women, it's difficult to imagine a world in which you don't shop for new underwear. It has holes? Replace it! Is the elastic shot? Toss it! Been through one too many dryer cycles? Buy a new pair!
But for some men, the underwear struggle is real — and that's exactly what led Austin-based entrepreneurs Zach Bird and Matt Ward to create the ultimate in Internet convenience: a men's underwear subscription service called BirdBriefs.
"Most guys I talk to already have underwear that they know they should replace and they just don't do it," says Bird, who came up with the idea after his friends started complaining about having drawers full of ratty old underpants. He and Ward (the pair work together at Austin startup SpareFoot), launched the BirdBriefs website on New Year's Day.
Customers select from one of three subscription options to get two, four or six pairs of underoos mailed directly to their home every three months. Bird and Ward have purposefully kept the options limited (black boxer briefs only), but Bird says they may start experimenting with other fabrics soon, including an Under Armor-inspired athletic blend.
What makes this service different from other men's subscription boxes like Manpacks, which offers everything from razor to condom subscriptions, is that BirdBriefs specializes in simplicity. "We don't want to inundate with too many options," Bird says.
Limiting options not only taps into the popular "uniform dressing" style heralded by so many fashionistas (and, as Forbes points out, is often a trademark of very successful people), but it keeps costs down. The company, which manufactures in China, is able to offer its underwear for as little as $6 a pair. "We call is premium underwear at Hanes prices," Bird jokes.
So what exactly compels someone to have their most intimate garments outsourced? Rather than dismiss it as laziness, Bird says the company is tapping into a bigger trend. As younger generations flock to urban cores, big suburban box and department stores are just a lot more difficult to get to.
"It's all about practicality," Bird says. "It's fruitless to go to Target or Macy's just to buy underwear."
As for the future, Bird and company plan to keep it simple. Although there is talk of expanding into socks, youth sizes and women's styles, BirdBriefs will maintain the tenets of simplicity by offering a handful of curated products at an affordable price.
"We're just making it easier," Bird says, "and we just want to do it better."