We all love hearing stories on how companies got their start. This one is about one of the wildest companies on the market. Koala is synonymous for fetish/erotic wear! They are the top of every list we get. It spans every market and every type of guy. I got a chance to talk to Michael the owner about how the company started and here is their story.
Koala started over 20 years ago because Michael the owner couldn’t get the swimwear he wanted. The styles he had in mind were not available from anyone on the market. This made him start having his swimwear custom made. While laying out in them he asked himself if other guys would like them? We definitely know the answer to that question.
He was a bit apprehensive about being able to create a business in swimwear. This was in the 90’s and men’s swimwear wasn’t as big as it is now. He got some designs made and started asking guys if they liked them. As it turns out many guys wanted the swimwear. He started Koala and it grew.
The basic premise of the company was he wanted really hot swimwear for the beach and that progressed into underwear and finally fetish wear. Like many underwear companies it first hit the gay market but grew. Now the brand is sold to men and women, gay and straight.
Some of the biggest challenges over the year are having the quality of the product that he expected. Going from making custom made items to mass production was a bit different then producing just a few suits. He tried over seas sourcing and wasn’t happy with the results. If they couldn’t make them in LA and have control he would rather not do it. He expected the quality to be amazing and the craftsmanship be top notch. So today the manufacturing is done in the US in the LA area.
Koala has a lot of the same people working today as they did when they opened. All the seamstresses, pattern makers and production crew. They tried going back over seas after a few years with samples, but they weren’t spectacular. However, they decided to keep production in LA. He said he loves working with the same people over the years because when a new idea comes into mind it’s easy to have the staff know exactly what you are thinking and makes for a great product.
I asked what the biggest surprise was in starting and running the company. Variety and types of customers. He loves underwear and swimwear like the rest of us. But not knowing if there were other guys out there who are into the scene. He was surprised at how big the community turned out to be. It includes women and men, both gay and straight men.
Guys have a lot of catching up to do in the women’s market. Women are willing to show each other underwear. They wear g-string to the locker room. Size and shape doesn’t matter. It’s totally second nature. It hasn’t evolved that way to the men’s market. We see more varied underwear styles at the gym now but not many guys wear them. They don’t wear thongs and g-strings. Women have no issues. If men think it would be ok they would be into wearing them in a minute. They would wear what ever.
Best sellers over the years: What styles are best selling are the Cock shaped suits as a group, Also the Male Transformation ones. Tons of guys wear them as underwear. They always call and ask if it will make them look feminine. Usually when they buy them they become a fetish item for them.