We got the chance to talk to M-Wear. The Thonged Ginger conducted this interview.
How long have you been making thongs and underwear? What made you start to make it?
I’ve been making them inconsistently for about 5 years. Only in the last 6 months have I spent a significant amount of time trying to perfect underwear patterns to look and operate the way I like them to. I’m still working on a brief to offer customers hopefully in mid-2017.
I started making underwear for strip/burlesque shows in NYC and that’s where I realized I LOVED making men’s underwear.
What made you decide to pursue making undies for the burlesque/strip shows?
My “real” job is costume design for theatre in NYC and there have been several shows I’ve been involved in that required custom men’s underwear for any number of reasons.
Thongs have really taken off with all kinds of men, gay/straight, married/single, what made you start your own custom Thong/underwear business? Why do custom over a ready to wear line?
Working on burlesque/strip shows for several years, where I’ve had to fit each dancer’s underwear individually, I realized that guys really love to have underwear that fits them specifically-especially when they didn’t know it was possible. I give my customers the option of pairing their thong with whatever size pouch they feel that they need. If there’s a guy who says the waist is a tiny bit tight or the thong strap is a little loose, I’ll make notes and adjust it for the next time they order. For guys that live-in Manhattan, I offer the option of a complimentary initial fitting. This lets them try on the underwear before it’s complete so I can adjust the waist, thong strap, and pouch to fit their body and then I forever know what fits them for future orders.
Not only do they get to customize their thong sizing, but they have complete control of the fabric. If they want half the pouch to be one color/fabric and the other side to be different, then that’s what they get. My library of colors, prints, and sparkle is endless!
Since I’m still very new to selling my work, custom orders are easier to accommodate than a ready-to-wear line because I don’t have to worry about making a bunch of underwear that may not sell or fit. Eventually, I may have a ready-to-wear line in addition to my custom work, but for now it’s just made-to-order.
Where do you want this venture to take you? Do you want a full-time gig making men’s underwear or more of a hobby? Have you considered a brand name?
The brand name is “M Wear NYC”. I’ve constantly been thinking about where I want this to go and it all depends on how well I do. A lot of brands start out with a business loan to get their momentum going at the beginning. I’m really trying to take it slow and make sure this specific type of company is something worth investing before I make a bold move like that. If it works out, I’d love to make it my career but for now I guess you could say it’s more of a hobby that I get paid for.
How does your custom-made underwear process work? How does a guy order?
Well, the business is literally just a few months old and since I’m doing it on the side of my normal design job, it’s a pretty straight forward process. New customers, who I don’t personally know, reach out to me via a direct message on either Twitter or Instagram with an inquiry. From there, I’ll explain briefly how it works-I let the customer know the fabric selection process which is still literally just sending photos of fabric swatch cards to them while ensuring them that if there is something specific they have in mind (pink and blue zebra print, for example) that the sky is the limit and I can always get follow up photos from my distributor. From there we discuss fit. I ask what size they tend to wear in other underwear brands and try to base it off of that while allowing them to go up or down in pouch size based on what they think they need. This process can get much more precise if the customer lives in Manhattan since I can do an initial fitting.
If someone was to visit NYC could they arrange a meeting with you as well?
Absolutely! An in-person fitting is the ideal situation because the underwear can be totally custom in every way (fit, fabric, etc.). If someone knows they are traveling to NYC, I’d love to schedule a complimentary fitting with the purchase of a thong or jockstrap.
I have seen that you are traveling to Chicago, are there any other cities you plan on visiting? Have you had several requests to do custom fittings when you get there?
Yeah, I’m in Chicago Jan 26-29 and I already have four fittings scheduled and am hoping to get some more on the calendar for that weekend. No other cities on the radar yet, but it’s still early. I’m definitely updating my Twitter followers as I schedule trips. I’m hoping to get a Boston trip scheduled at some point this year.
I know you said you want to introduce a brief, any other styles you want to eventually come out with as well?
Hopefully a couple different brief options and a singlet. In the distant future, hopefully some fetish wear.
What has your general clientele been? UNB_Tim believes more straight men are catching onto the thong craze, do you agree?
So far, it’s been mostly gay men. I’ve had a couple straight men express interest, but no orders yet. I imagine that would change once I’ve made my website active. The reason I’ve had most of the clientele I’ve had is because at the beginning I reached out to gay porn stars, go-go dancers, etc. as a way of fast, maximum exposure (see what I did there?). Also, it may be more of a hassle for straight men to think about making creative decisions about their underwear versus just picking out something ready-to-wear (which I hope to make an option once my website goes live).
Why do you think straight men are less creative with their underwear decisions?
I target more to gay men, because that’s who wear them in a more public way. I imagine that straight men wear something more for their partner and less for social media to see. Although, I am certain there are straight men who wear them more publicly. As time goes on, I really hope to target straight men in addition to gay men.
Let me ask about you, where are you from?
I’m a southern boy. Born in Charleston and raised in Arkansas. I lived in Chicago for most of 2015 and now thankfully live in Harlem, NYC.
What made you decide to stay or leave?
I had to go where the work was. As a costume designer for theatre, my chances of getting constant work are greater if I’m in NYC.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Besides making sexy men’s underwear, I enjoy going to the gym, cooking (and eating), playing with my dog, and traveling.
Do you like to watch sports? Favorite teams?
I’m sorry, what is a “sport”? Haha! I enjoy watching college football if I can attend the game but watching sports on TV is not the slightest bit interesting to me. My favorite team is my alma mater, the Arkansas State University Red Wolves.
Favorite movies, tv shows, Netflix?
I rarely watch tv. It makes me feel like I’m wasting my life. If I’m watching TV, it’s 1 of 3 shows: The Barefoot Contessa, Will and Grace reruns, or more recently, The Big Bang Theory.
Anything else you want people to know about you or your brand?
I am so thankful for all the retweets and shout outs on social media from my customers! I get giddy every time I get a notification. The reason I’m taking this venture slow is
because I want to make sure I’m able to do business fairly and efficiently and I want every step of my customer’s experience to be simple, but exciting! I mean, underwear that’s made for ONLY YOUR PACKAGE should be exciting!
What are the ways our readers can contact you?
Right now, I can be contacted via Twitter Direct Messages (@m_wearunderwear). I hope to have a website together by the end of 2017.