I’m a big fan of flash sale sites and niche daily deal sites, but I definitely didn’t see this one coming.
A Richmond, VA startup called CheapUndies has launched, offering closeout deals on only ‘upscale’ underwear. Underwear? Yep. CheapUndies is the brainchild of Edward Upton and 24 year-old Michael Grider, entrepreneurs from the Richmond area.
The two business partners negotiate with designer and other upscale brands to offer deals on overrun, high quality undies of all kinds. Call them a skivvies daily deal site with flash tendencies. The prices are usually 80% of typical retail cost, and are offered online like other closeout sites; but every day, there’s a special deal starting at noon and lasting for exactly 24 hours.
Designer brands that can be found on the site include: Diesel, Vanity Fair, Betsy Johnson and N2N Bodywear. Huge discounts are attained by purchasing in bulk, and the mark-up is minimal, to ensure prices stay as low as possible. The company’s goal is to move lots and lots of product, with small margins to make a profit.
“People shouldn’t have to pay outrageous prices for a nice bra or a pair of boxers. We had seen this model work in various other industries, and we thought it could work here, too. So far, we’re really happy with the results.” – Michael Grider.
Upon got his start purchasing clearance and overstock merchandise from one of his local Abercrombie & Fitch stores and turning a profit off of it on eBay in the UK. That venture continued for three years after he dropped out of high school, and Upton took advantage of all his newfound retail connections. As he learned more and more about e-commerce and the sale-site industry, he saved his money and launched an underwear site for men, dubbed “Nuwear” which was incorporated in 2006. (Disclaimer: if you decide to visit Nuwear, please be aware that the content can be a little risqué.)
Upton met Grider, who was attending Virginia Commonwealth University at the time, at a party while he was promoting Nuwear. “Right away, I was intrigued by the business and asked Ed for a job. He brought me on and I wound up dropping out of school about six months later to work full time on Nuwear,” Grider said.
As time passed, inventory grew. Upton handled the administration, and Grider was the product search guru. They ended up with an abundance of underwear of all kinds; and needed a way to get rid of some of it. Meanwhile, daily deals were getting hot, and they decided to launch CheapUndies.
“We initially designed the site to sell excess products from Nuwear, but when we started talking about it with some of the brands we work with, they just thought it was a great idea. Many of them actually approached us first about buying their closeouts and selling them on CheapUndies.” – Edward Upton
When it comes to brands, the guys try to get as many designer brands as possible, but have hit snags with brands like Calvin Klein, that want sites like theirs to purchase tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise, or none at all. Thankfully, their menswear sales are picking up, but women’s are staying stagnant and they’re considering doing some marketing to the fairer sex.
“We just need to bite the bullet and start advertising for the women’s market. The men’s market seems to be a little more affordable to reach through blogs and other promotional sites. We’re going to have to go after women, but to advertise in places like Cosmo, it’s so expensive.”
Trying to keep their marketing within the company, the two have started to contact and market through “mommy bloggers”, and added social media buttons next to clothing, in hopes that their female customers will “like” and share their potential purchases.
Moving forward, Grider and Upton plan on expanding their customer base, and offering more popular brands, but sticking to their flash daily deals/clearance-closeout sales model.
Grider jokes about the difference between the two sites: “We’ve always sort of laughed about Nuwear, because it’s such crazy, intimate stuff, but CheapUndies is just light and silly and fun, that’s exactly what the two of us are all about.”
Source: Washington Post