With Underwear Vending Machines, MeUndies’ Jonathan Shokrian Reexamines Shopping for Basics

February 9, 2012

9:00 am

What’s the bottleneck in your laundry operation?  This may seem like a silly question, but for entrepreneurs, whose time equals serious money, mundane tasks like doing laundry can either eat into your bottom line or spare time.  One is valuable, the other invaluable.  Chances are, the answer to the above question is likely socks or underwear.  The only thing worse than doing laundry because you’re out of underwear is making the trip to the department store to overpay for a pair that you ultimately are unsatisfied with.

That’s the problem MeUndies is looking to solve.  Offering quality underwear at an affordable price and providing great customer experience in the process is the basis for founder Jonathan Shokrian’s new undergarment business.  By making his Los Angeles-based underwear startup a membership service, you will not only cease to find yourself in a sock or panty deficit, you will stay hip to the latest fashions in the process.

I caught up with Shokrian to learn more including what the future of his business has to offer.  The answer may surprise you.

Tech Cocktail:  Why was it that you launched? What was the problem that you were looking to solve?

Jonathan Shokrian

Jonathan Shokrian:  My partner Barak and I are avid travelers, we work hard and play hard, and at the end of the day these factors came together to make us realize that there are some mundane tasks that can be eliminated with technology. As guys, we recognized one of the most tedious things for men and women is shopping for wardrobe basics like underwear, socks and t-shirts. Nobody looks forward to buying socks or underwear. The biggest problem we were looking to solve was making this process more convenient. We launched the business because we were sick of paying $26 for a pair of Calvin Klein underwear and kept hearing countless women complain about the quality of Victoria’s Secret.

Tech Cocktail:  What separates Me Undies from other retailers?

Shokrian:  Unlike retailers that sell multiple brands through multiple channels, we’ve got our own brand that’s sold directly to our customer. It gives us a chance to pass savings onto our customers by cutting out the middle man, but most importantly, it gives us the chance to develop a relationship with our customers. We listen to our customers and strive to make the best product on the market. We make very limited runs of each style in order to deliver the highest quality product to our customers and so that we can continue to improve the production.

Tech Cocktail:  What will be the key to your success?

Shokrian:  The key to success for us is a happy repeat customer who loves us. We’ve built our site to put basic apparel replenishment on autopilot, and the way that succeeds is with happy customers. The shopping experience needs to be fun and useful, but most importantly, the customer service has to put the customer’s needs first. We are going to revolutionize customer service unlike any brand.

The second key to our success is delivering a superior quality product for less than our competitors. We have done a lot of research to see what’s the best in the basic apparel market, from underwear to t-shirts to socks, and we found that to buy brand names from retailers, online and off, it costs an arm and a leg. The best solution was to go out and make our own product with unrivaled fabrics and at the best factories in the world so that our customers are delighted every time they get a new shipment of products.

Tech Cocktail:  What does the future have in store for Me Undies?

Shokrian:  People can expect to see socks and undershirts later this year. We’re also working on some cool vending machines at boutique stores and hotels. This is the future of buying all your basics.

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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