We interviewed founder Howie Busch, a former corporate contracts lawyer and sports agent who told us the company launched on Kickstarter in May, which ended in June, selling about $67,000 worth in that month. After that, he transitioned to Indiegogo to continue taking pre-orders. And as of now, the New York-based business’ sales are around $90,000.
Their patent-pending products are only available on their website, but they hope to one day enter into retailers such as QVC, Bed Bath & Beyond, Urban Outfitters, department stores and Amazon. His future plans also include custom DudeRobes and Dudette robes for women.
Here’s what else he told us about…
How the Idea Came About
The shower, like all my great ideas, throw in some jealousy and trying to solve a problem, the problem being I’m not a robe guy. My wife was in her bathrobe and I remember being in the shower thinking how comfortable she looked. As someone who’s developed other products, I’m always thinking of improving things and solving problems, and given that the men’s robe has barely changed in the past hundred plus years, I knew it was time for a robe-o-lution. You have to admit, regular robes for guys are kind of creepy-just ask Seth Meyers. So I was thinking, “What would I wear?” I’d wear a towel if it looked cool…it would be absorbent and pretty comfortable. But towels aren’t cool to wear. The very next day I’m back in the shower, I see her robe hanging on the hook next to a hoodie, and it was like the lightning bolt you see in cartoons. I’d wear a towel if it was more like a hoodie.
The 1st Prototype
I dried off, hopped in the car, headed over to Walmart and bought six towels. I drove straight to my tailor Josè, who did my prototypes for some of my other products, and asked if he could make a hoodie and pants out of the towels. Less than a week later I picked them up and they were just cool, even better than I expected. I tried it, my son tried it; we both knew this could be something really cool.
It’s been a pretty even split between the robe and hoodie. Something I didn’t expect was my best selling thing was the full collection with all four pieces. People really seem to like that. And everyone loves the shorts. But if you think about it, it’s so much more than a bathrobe. I chose to keep ‘robe’ in the name purely so people would be able to have an image and understanding of it. But with the robe, the hoodie, the pants and the shorts, it’s just bada** loungewear, so much more versatile than what you think of a bathrobe.
Experience With Kickstarter
Doing a successful Kickstarter is a ton of work, especially for a one-man band. It was interesting because I had to educate my friends as to what it really was; they all thought it was either that they were getting a piece of my company or they were donating to me. I explained that you’re actually pre-ordering the product so that I can go to a factory with real orders in hand, as opposed to just making 5,000 of something and hoping I can sell it. Once they understood, they showed up. You have to have your people show up with these, and then other people will hear about it. But I will also tell you that so many people in my life showed up, not just by being buyers, but helping throughout the campaign.
Advice for ‘Tank’ Constestants
I know that everyone always says the most important thing is to bring a lot of energy, and that is important. But you can’t just be overly energetic just to check that box off. You have to determine what’s unique about you, and what’s unique about your product or brand. And then own that-bring great energy, but everything should come back to that unique special sauce that only you have. Plus, be nice to everyone and make their life as easy as possible. People like positive, nice people…even in New York!