WWD

Bombas Expanding Into the U.K. With Socks and Underwear

Bombas is moving overseas for the first time.

The seven-year-old brand will begin selling its socks, slippers and underwear in the U.K. starting today.

The offering will include casual, performance and dress socks for men and women as well as cotton modal underwear for both genders and seamless models for women in singles or packs. In addition, the company’s newest product category, slippers, will be sold in the U.K.

The New York-based Bombas will also continue its mission of giving back to those less fortunate for every product sold. In the U.K., it is partnering with St. Mungo’s, a charity that works with local communities to end homelessness and rebuild lives.

In honor of the launch, Bombas will donate 5,000 pairs of socks to the organization this month, followed by an additional 5,000 pairs later in the year. From there, Bombas will look to partner with other charities in the country.

David Heath, chief executive officer and cofounder of Bombas, said the company’s decision to move beyond U.S. borders came as a result of its success here. The U.K. brings a unique aspect that makes sense for us as a brand — we can build something foundational there, like we have here. We’ve created a movement that is transferable and we believe, based on the climate of the U.K., the customers and the community will appreciate it.”

Bombas already ships to the U.K. from the U.S., but to better serve the market, it has engaged a local fulfillment center in Kettering, England, north of London, that will allow it to deliver to customers within two to four days.

Although he didn’t venture a projection on how large the business could be in the U.K., Heath believes there’s an opportunity to carve out a substantial niche. “The U.K. sock and underwear markets are forecasted to grow from $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion and $4.8 billion to $6 billion, respectively, as reported by Euromonitor International in February 2021, and Statista in November 2020,” Heath said.

Bombas has quietly built a $250 million-plus business and donated nearly 50 million pairs of socks and T-shirts to the homeless in the U.S. since its founding. The business was created by Heath and Randy Goldberg with the goal of creating a profitable business with a philanthropic mission. They found that socks were the most requested item at homeless shelters and homed in on that product for their company. They appeared on “Shark Tank” in 2014 and scored a $200,000 investment from Daymond John, founder of FUBU, to launch the brand.

The company expanded into T-shirts in 2019 and earlier this year, moved into underwear.

Earlier this month, Bombas collaborated with Disney on a unisex line of socks for adults and children inspired by the company’s princesses. Single pairs retail for $16 for adults and $8 for youth and six-pack gift packs range from $35 to $95 for six-packs.

Heath said business in the States has been strong over the past year, and in the past 10 months, its special collections, including the 2021 Pride Collection and the Black Hive Collection, have been “well-received.” He also categorized the underwear launch as particularly successful. “Within the first month, we sold through more than half of our initial inventory — one and a half months earlier than anticipated,” Heath said. “This early success has led us to develop additional silhouettes, fabrications and colors for the future. Most importantly, as a result of just eight months of sales, we’ll donate some 245,220 pairs of underwear to the homeless community in the U.S.”

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