(Filed Under wholesale Men's Underwear News). Wood Underwear launched a decade ago, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. BODY publisher Nick Monjo interviewed founder Teressa Zimmerman about the journey so far.
ZIMMERMAN: It’s our 10th Anniversary – 2022! Amazing. I launched Wood January 2012. It’s been a crazy cool journey. One that I couldn’t have written.
MONJO: When did you make your first sale?
ZIMMERMAN: My best friend was my first sale. And then my Mom. I felt like throwing a party when someone I didn’t know made a purchase. I might actually have opened champagne.
My first ‘cold call’ store customer was Douglas Fir on 3rd in Los Angeles. It was the end of a long day of me driving around LA, walking into stores, asking buyers if they wanted to see my underwear. Jon Noble was so kind. He said, “sure, bring it in.” I’m sure my pitch was a mess but he bought right on the spot. He kept me going. Douglas Fir is still a Wood partner today.
MONJO: I believe that MAGIC was your first trade show, correct?
ZIMMERMAN: MAGIC in Vegas was my very first trade show. I met you there! I believe it was August 2012. I split a booth with another brand. I had one product in four colors and had no idea what to expect of this kind of trade show. I definitely had no contacts to pre-call. It was a very sparse booth showing. At best it was fact finding for future.
I met you guys from BODY that first show. Nick, you were kind enough to stop in and interview me. I had plenty of time, that was certain. After 10 years I understand how many brands come and go from show to show. And, I’m sure when you left my booth that afternoon you thought you’d never be seeing me again.
We continue to do trade shows. Though, we are increasingly discerning about which ones and how we do them. We’re focused on relationships so we tend to go to the shows that also prioritize that sentiment.
MONJO: What were the main reasons you launched Wood?
ZIMMERMAN: I built Wood intentionally as a wholesale brand – I love our main street stores. I left corporate with the thought to get into something that was more relationship driven. Specialty stores are all about relationships and the communities they are part of. That intention creates great focus for us for all parts of the business and as we continue to grow.
At the time, there was definitely room in the market for a premium men’s underwear brand. Back in 2011/12, the men’s market was even more sparse than it is today. Men have very little option in a lot of categories compared to women. You only have to look at dedicated floor space in your favorite department store to prove that out. Men’s underwear and undershirt categories were also missing a lot of the amazing fabrics and blends that women’s categories have had for a while. I knew I could bring that to them successfully.
MONJO: What is the DNA of the brand?
ZIMMERMAN: We love our puns. I mean, it’s in the name, so that starts it all. Irreverent fun. Sexy. Premium. Fashion forward. All of those attributes allow us a position to educate and show men they can and should think differently about their underwear and foundation pieces. Women will drag a whole wardrobe on a trip and if we don’t have the correct bra or foundation pieces, that wardrobe may never leave the suitcase and we’ll clearly have ‘nothing to wear.’ I don’t suggest men have that kind of need, but the right underwear with the right pant for the right occasion is important. It’s a wardrobing item that can influence how you feel about yourself and also the clothing you’ve invested in. I say this one thing a lot because everyone understands it – gym underwear and date night underwear ARE NOT the same underwear. True. A little thought goes a long way. We all know this. We can all help men understand their choices just as we do for women. And, they can have a little fun with their foundation pieces too.
MONJO: Has the identity of the brand changed over the years?
ZIMMERMAN: Over the years, Wood has really grown into and solidified our intended positioning. It’s been an evolution of depth rather than change. It’s been amazing to watch the market validate our offer. Of course we’ve extended our collection, but more than that, we’ve earned the deeper business conversations we’re having around the men’s category and how and where it fits in an ever-widening variety of stores.
MONJO: Who are the target consumers?
ZIMMERMAN: Wood is for men who care about what they wear and how they feel in their clothing. They are likely at least a little fashion forward. Fit and active or forever aspiring to be. They have to be open to trying our product at least once, either buying it themselves or getting it as a gift. Then we know they’ll be back. We have a discerning consumer for certain.
MONJO: Please describe the product line as it is today? What products do you sell, what are the price points?
ZIMMERMAN: I mentioned we started with one style in four colors. It was a trunk, or about a one inch inseam. Currently we also do a boxer brief, biker brief, and hip brief in underwear. A few years ago we added specialty styles such as thongs, jocks and long underwear. Wood also does an amazing collection of undershirts and lounge wear. Our prices start at $20 for the thongs and jocks. Our entire collection is priced with a good margin for our stores and still be a great price for their customers.
MONJO: What kinds of stores do you sell? Can you give some examples?
ZIMMERMAN: Wood is focused on specialty stores, men’s stores, underwear stores, outdoor specialty, gifting, women’s lingerie and intimates. Aw man, I hate to say names because I’m going to miss so many out, but here are a few: UnderU4Men, Lia’s, Gena Lisa, Post & Rail, Andrisen Morton, Garmany’s, Freya, As You Like It, Lover’s Lane, The Finery, Dolce Moda, Bliss Beneath, Mood Boutique, Man on Main, TJ Bishop’s, J’Adore, Queen of Hearts, Boulevard, Berlins, Archipelago…..so many amazing stores.
MONJO: We have written about your success in the past with women’s boutiques; does that still continue?
ZIMMERMAN: We do a fabulous business with women’s boutiques and lingerie stores. I think women’s stores really showed themselves through 2020 and this whole pandemic – total rock stars! It is amazing to me to think about all the ways women’s stores created to continue to serve their customers over the past 18 months when so many others just shut down. Many brands shut down as well. We did not. We did our best to get them what they needed to do their work and we started drop-ship for them as one way we could partner with them as well. They continue to innovate in service and we’re right there with them.
MONJO: What’s new for Wood in 2022?
ZIMMERMAN: It’s our 10th Anniversary, so we’re going to be doing something fun each month to celebrate. The line will continue to extend and evolve. We’re ever looking at sourcing diversity and there may be some news there too. We’ll continue our partnership, started in 2021, with One Tree Planted – every order plants trees!
MONJO: What else would you like to say about Wood?
ZIMMERMAN: I’d like to say a big thank you to all those buyers, and their customers, that got us started 10 years ago, all those joining us since, and the spirit of partnership from all that keeps us going today.
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