Pockies’ new-wave ‘couch couture’

From an idea born from the couch to a playful self-professed ‘couch couture’, Pockies is not your usual run-of-the mill underwear/apparel brand.

What started as an idea between three university friends to add pockets to boxer shorts, the Amsterdam-based business is now a fully-fledged label with plenty of character.

Founded during studies at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the North of the Netherlands, Pockies is today an offer of everything from staple boxers, through to swimwear, socks, t-shirts and lounge sweats, with some unique marketing campaigns to back it all up.

Here we speak to founders Karel Bosman, Michiel Dicker and Rob ten Hoove from their offices on the outskirts of the city.

“At the beginning we were just three friends studying at University with no credentials in fashion or design whatsoever,” says Karel. “It was Michiel who said that he wished he had pockets in his boxers so that he could take the TV controls with him when he left the room, to prevent us from changing channels, then it kind of snowballed.”

Studying history, journalism and industrial engineering, the trio decided to start their off-piste business idea where they would all jump in to take on various responsibilities to get their idea off the ground.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be like inventing a rocket ship and that what we had as an idea was achievable,” says Rob. “Personally, I’d always wanted to do something entrepreneurial since I was 10 years old.”

Pockies was officially launched in 2015 after a year of hard work where the team would find a reliable producer and also cover off elements including the design and launch of a company website, logo and general aesthetic.

“When we managed to get production sorted we were able to get a set of 1000 boxers made in just two stripe colour-ways with our starter budget of just 6000 Euros. Each of us putting in 2000 Euros,” adds Rob.

“We also had to divide tasks between the three of us from designing the logo, website and also importantly the tone of voice for the brand, which we wanted to be playful and where it came across that we were not taking ourselves too seriously,” says Michiel.

The first logo iteration featured a kangaroo because, according to the founders, many successful brands had an animal as part of their logo and of course their choice carried a pouch/pocket, and the steady evolution with lots of trial and error has continued up until today.

“We do feel that the fashion industry can take itself a bit too seriously at times and we are not that. Our playful, tongue-in-cheek approach is part of us. It is just clothes at the end of the day,” says Karel. “However, that doesn’t mean that we cut corners, that is the serious side of what we do and we are resolute in communication that the quality and design of Pockies is premium.”

The brief journey so far has also delivered territorial trends that help the brand understand the communication preferences in different territories who value perhaps different aspects of the brand.

“Moving into wholesale It has been a learning curve. We see that Couch Couture as a term connects quite easily with different markets because people understand the light-hearted take on the word ‘couture’ and our style, where ‘boxers with pockets’ alone, can be a little harder to explain,” says Michiel.

Pockies as a story today still remains consistent to its beginnings and happily references that eureka moment day of putting pockets on boxers. What has developed since then is great product, but also, quite distinctively, a lively and fun approach to the brand’s marketing. From reaching out to the female market to send old branded boxers of their boyfriends to be replaced buy Pockies product, through to sending out a job advertisement for the ‘laziest person’ (couch lingerers need apply) and a 24hour livestream watching people lounging at home, the Pockies brand is plentiful and creative with ideas.

“We don’t want to follow any traditional or ‘handbook’ marketing rules in our communication,” says Rob. “We do what we do for the love of it and for our independent values. Our campaigns follow that themes and we will continue top do it that way.”

A recent ad campaign entitled Widies v tighties pitched two very different characters against one-another highlighting why they were different and disliked each other, but in the end the narrative brought them together for the love of underwear and that it’s ok to be different.

With the product now made across various territories including Turkey and Portugal, Pockies is proving that breath of fresh air for consumers looking to add a bit of fun into their clothing lives, where honesty and humour provide a growing community of followers.

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