Barbell Apparel, jeans, chinos and shorts made with athletics in mind, entered the Shark Tank in Season 8.
We interviewed founders Hunter Molzen and Alex Hanson, who used Kickstarter to launch their business in the spring of 2014. “We knew people needed our product, but had no idea we’d sell 8,000 pairs of jeans in 45 days,” Molzen said. It was the most amazing experience to see something we believed in resonate so deeply with so many people.” In fact, at the moment, they put a new multifunctional pant on Kickstarter, which is already gaining traction on the crowdfunding site.
Here’s what else the entrepreneurs, who refer to their customers as the “Quad Squad,” told us about their Vegas-based business…
How the Idea Came About
Hunter: We all grew up mountain biking, weightlifting, and playing sports together, and developed the same problem: muscular legs, with no one making clothes to fit them. No pants ever fit. They were uncomfortable, and the fabric gave zero flexibility. We knew others HAD to experience the same problem, and decided to do something about it!
What Makes Their Pants Different
Hunter: Our jeans, and now chinos and shorts, use an athletic fit we developed by measuring hundreds of athletes. The Athletic Fit provides more room in the glutes and thighs to keep your legs comfortable, with a tapered waist so your pants stay put, look great and avoid unflattering gaping at the waist. We also use high-end technical fabrics that give the pants complete freedom of movement, so you get the same performance you’re used to out of your favorite sportswear.
Alex: Our bestsellers are hands down our Athletic Fit Denim and Chino pants. Our customers often tell us we’ve taken over their entire pants wardrobe. We make the one pair of pants you’ll never want to take off.
Appearance on the ‘Tank’
Alex: Funny story! We’ve been in the trenches and struggled as entrepreneurs, so we’ve always loved watching the show and seeing people doing the same thing. We saw there was an open casting for Shark Tank at a hotel down on the strip and decided to try out on a whim. We lined up at 5 am, stood in line for a few hours, amped up on coffee and gave our pitch to a casting agent. The rest is history!
Operating a Business in Vegas
Hunter: I love Vegas. I was born and raised here, and have seen this city explode since childhood. The main industry here is entertainment, so running a business like ours here can have it’s challenges. There’s not a lot of permanent industry around e-commerce or fashion here, so in a sense we can feel very isolated. However, most of the major industry conferences happen down on the Strip so it’s incredible to easily attend all of those. Zappos is here, and has been a huge inspiration to us. It’s easy to travel in and out of town, and there’s a ton of outdoor stuff to do that keeps our team fit and happy. Overall, we love it here!
Plans for the Future
Hunter: We’ll continue to make awesome, athletic fit clothing that compliments the lives of active people everywhere. We won’t stop until Barbell Apparel is a household name, synonymous with incredible fit and performance. Our clothing will continue to push the limits…We love what we do, and know there’s tons of potential Quad Squad members who have yet to hear about us!