It is with an astounding pleasure to be able to bring this story to all of you Champs. We got the grand opportunity to link up with one of the great business minds in the luxury undergarments business and he goes by the name of Jonathan Shokrian, the Founder and Chairman, of MeUndies.com. MeUndies is a fun luxury undergarment business that makes buying great underwear approachable and fun at the same time. This in turn has allowed Jonathan to have one hell of a journey and I got the opportunity to interview him about just that to share with you all.
I met Jonathan at his best friend Jonathan Neman’s (co-founder of SweetGreen) 2015 Sweetlife Music Festival while gearing up to see The Weeknd perform at the Treehouse stage. As a true marketer, he was rocking one of his MeUndies.com snapbacks and running with a noticeable size group throughout the Merriweather Post Pavillion campus. We spoke briefly and declared we would do this interview to share his story with you all.
Born and raised in Beverly Hills, CA, Jonathan has always been on his grind whether he was delivering the best Philly Cheesesteaks on the west coast, selling consumer electronics at great rates online, selling real estate, and now selling fun luxury underwear. He created MeUndies under the condition to produce ridiculously comfortable luxury underwear and make them accessible to everybody online that is unwilling to compromise on the quality and style of their underwear. I can easily say that they have made shopping for underwear fun again for couples, partygoers and thrill seekers. Solely, thanks to the fact that you can find cool matching underwear with hip patterns and an irreverent story behind them all. They also manage to make other cool products like sweaters, sweat pants, t-shirts, and hats. After trying a pair of their men’s boxer brief’s and lounge pants, I was sold, that their product is supreme quality at best.
MeUndies is currently growing rapidly going from a staff of 20 to 50. Jonathan also shared that they have just open up a cool brand new office space headquartered in Los Angeles, California. He hopes to grow MeUndies into a brand far past just selling luxury underwear and he has a team to do it. Now without further or due check out our interview with Jonathan below.
How did you get the idea for MeUndies?
The idea struck me while preparing to travel abroad one summer. I was going on a two week trip and didn’t have enough underwear to last me more than a few days. The more I spoke to my friends, they were more or less in the same position. Guys at least, didn’t really go shopping for underwear like women did and never had enough pairs. At first I wanted to start an online underwear club where you could subscribe to your favorite brands and have them delivered to you monthly. After discussing the idea, with a friend he pushed me to create my own brand.
What did you feel the undergarment market was missing?
I felt the undergarment market was missing a ridiculously comfortable and fairly priced product that was easy to buy and replenish.
So how did you solve that problem?
After I came up with the idea I spent the next year focusing on creating the best pair of underwear on the market. It involved a lot of trips to the department store, a ton of market research and talking to some of the best factories and mills in the world.
How did you guys manage to differentiate your brand in such an oversaturated market?
I think with the rise of crowdfunding, consumers have been empowered to help launch brands they feel a connection with. These brands have clear mission statements and core values people believe in. We didn’t usekickstarter.com but, we very much believed in going against the grain and being transparent. People understood what we were trying to do.
What would you say the MeUndies ethos?
It’s always evolving as our team grows but at its core we believe in the idea of breaking the social norm, resisting conformity, being bold, being true to yourself, making mistakes, and paying it forward.
Your background includes Real Estate, Sales, and Food Service. Did you always have an interest in Fashion?
Interest yes but didn’t know the first thing about launching a fashion company. I made a lot of mistakes early on but learned from every single one of them how to be a better businessman and leader.
How do you guys find the artists that design your underwear?
There is no real scientific method. Usually, someone at MeUndies personally knows one of the artists or someone will connect us with an artist we like.
What are you working on now? What’s next?
Right now we are in the midst of doing a round of financing, which we are excited to announce once it closes. We just moved into our new headquarters which I’m really excited about. We spent the last eight months building it. It’s amazing because we do fulfillment, marketing, customer service and everything under one roof minus actually making the underwear. It’s been very exciting.
You’re from Los Angeles. Is it a cool feeling to be able to work in your hometown?
Yeah, it’s amazing, I lived in Texas for six years and I was working out there. After being gone for so long, I really realized I wanted to come home. L.A. is a great place, I think it is one of the best cities in the world to work and live. It has the best of everything and I’m really glad to be back home.
What was your biggest challenge with putting together MeUndies?
Some of the biggest challenges came early on. Fundraising is always a challenge, it’s very difficult and that’s something that has gotten easier over time but early on when you’re a new company and have not proven yourself there’s a lot of risks involved for investors which makes it difficult to raise money. It was very challenging trying to convince people other than my friends and family to invest.
The next biggest challenge was building a team with the very little money we raised.
What books are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by James C. Collins which I think is an amazing book. Another book I’m currently reading is Shantaram by Gregory David Robert which is unbelievable. It’s the story of a guy who went through hell and back. It’s not necessarily about him growing a successful company, but I feel like there are so many lessons in this book I’ve learned from.
Is there anything you want people to know about MeUndies?
I think one thing that I’d love for people to know is how much we really care about one another at our company. We love what we do and we spend so much time trying to make sure that everything is near perfect. We love receiving feedback from our customers whether it’s positive or negative. I think in order to be the best and be great you have to constantly be evolving and learn from your mistakes. We’ve definitely made mistakes along the way, but we are quick to learn and quick to make changes. Our goal is to be the best and most exciting and innovative brand out there and really be more than just an underwear brand.