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Female Disruptors: Laura Dweck of Basic Outfitters is shaking up how men shop

“When they zig you zag.” Always have a strong point of differentiation. When we started, we noticed a bunch of other direct…


“When they zig you zag.” Always have a strong point of differentiation. When starting Basic Outfitters, we noticed a bunch of other direct to consumer brands popping up with the promise of reinventing the design of underwear and socks. With my background in the industry, I was confident in our ability to produce the best quality socks and underwear, without the need to “revolutionize” the design. Instead we decided to focus on revolutionizing the shopping experience, which has proven a successful model.


I had the pleasure to interview Laura Dweck. Laura received her Bachelor’s degree from FIT in Fashion Merchandising and Management where she interned at prominent fashion companies including WWD and Bloomingdales. Since graduation, she has worked in the fashion industry for over 5 years as a merchandiser, designer and fashion director for major contemporary fashion brands. She leads the creative and marketing team at Basic Outfitters.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

In 2014, my husband Michael and I moved into our first cozy apartment in New York City together. Like most in the city, it had very limited closet space and we quickly realized whose clothing collection would take precedence. Michael had amassed a collection of worn-out clothes over the years — socks, underwear, t-shirts, etc. We just didn’t have the space, and I told him it was time to get rid of anything that he hadn’t worn in over a year and replace it with a fresh, new and curated collection of basics.

The process of shopping for all of these basics became extremely frustrating for him. He found the shopping experience to be stressful and expensive when looking to replace everything at once. That’s when we realized there was a need for men to be able to refresh their basics in an extremely convenient and affordable way.

That’s when we came up with our Create-a-Drawer concept. Men can replenish their basics in under two minutes and for an unprecedented price — up to 17 high quality items including socks, underwear, t-shirts and jogger sweatpants for only $60.

Why did you found your company?

There was a study done a few years ago that uncovered a frightening statistic; on average men keep their underwear for seven years. After learning that, and conducting our own market research, we realized why. We wanted to solve the problem for men and take away the stress of shopping for their basics. We found there was a need to make the whole shopping experience seamless, easy, fast and affordable so that’s exactly what we did!

What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We’re revolutionizing the way men shop. There’s no other solution on the market that provides the ease-of-use or value we do without the commitment of time spent in stores, long-term subscriptions or pricey products that don’t last.

How are you going to shake things up next?

We’ve recently partnered with JetBlue to have our signature SuperSoft socks featured in their Mint experience amenity kits. Additionally, we are wrapping our first dip into brick-and-mortar selling at the “Market @ Macys” pop-up concept at the Herald Square Macy’s in New York. We’re always pushing the envelope with new ideas and have some exciting initiatives brewing!

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

“When they zig you zag.”
Always have a strong point of differentiation. When starting Basic Outfitters, we noticed a bunch of other direct to consumer brands popping up with the promise of reinventing the design of underwear and socks. With my background in the industry, I was confident in our ability to produce the best quality socks and underwear, without the need to “revolutionize” the design. Instead we decided to focus on revolutionizing the shopping experience, which has proven a successful model.

“Get scrappy and think outside the box.”
When we were trying to market the quality and softness of our SuperSoft sock line, we realized how difficult it was to communicate hand feel through images alone. It wasn’t until we thought outside the box that we came up with the idea to video random pedestrians’ authentic reactions to the socks and their softness that we were able to convince so many more people of their incredible quality. We let people’s reactions do the selling for us.

“Throw your hat into the ring.”
When we first started Basic Outfitters, so many people who heard about us said “You’d be perfect for Shark Tank!” It seemed like a far stretch to actually get on the show and the odds were stacked against us, but we sent a cold email to the producers, threw our hat in the ring and after a long and arduous casting process, got on the show!

What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Share a story with us.

Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg

Before I found this book, I was always thinking about the future and getting way ahead of myself. After reading Lean In, I realized that mindset was holding me back a lot of ways, both in my career and life. The book painted a different picture, reinforcing the importance of paying attention to the present and existing in the RIGHT NOW. Because of that book, I started focusing more on actively going after my dream career rather than holding back out of the fear of “what happens when”.

The book also emphasized the importance of having the right partner — whether that’s in life or business. It made me really realize how lucky I am to have that in both. My husband Michael has not only supported me in our relationship, he’s been an incredibly supportive business partner as well. He’s worked so hard right along side me to build our business and drive Basic Outfitters to skyrocketing success, year after year.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter: @BasicOutfitters
Instagram: @BasicOutfitters
Facebook.com: /BasicOutfitters

Originally published at medium.com

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