BUSINESS: Skivvies goes wholesale

GENTLEMEN PREFER SKIVVIES | Dave Richardson shows off one of his new Skivvies designs that will soon be available in stores across the country. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Owner David Richardson has designed a line of men’s underwear that is now selling around the country

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Dave Richardson not only sells underwear at his store Skivvies on Cedar Springs Road but now wholesales a line under the store’s name.

“I’ve always wanted to create some underwear styles of my own,” said Richardson.

This week he and his partner Todd Seaton are in Las Vegas at MAGIC, the largest men’s apparel wholesale market, looking for new lines for their store and selling the new Skivvies line to other stores.

When it opened, Skivvies was the first men’s fashion underwear store in the country, Richardson said. With its 5,000-square-foot space, it has remained the largest.

Richardson said that others have copied his idea and some individual brands have opened retail outlets. But his concept of selling underwear as fashion was new when he created the store.

About 30 years ago, Richardson began his retail career at TapeLenders with his partner, Steve Freeman. After Freeman’s death, Richardson took over the rental outlet and expanded with a store in Austin.

In 1994, he and Seaton, his new partner, opened OutLines and about five years later Skivvies. They have since sold the other stores while expanding Skivvies.

“I’ve learned what design aspects sell the best,” Richardson said. “So in my new line I’ve combined the colors, fabrications, fit, pouch design and waistband materials that our customers like best.”

Through a contact in the garment industry, he found a factory in Medellin, Columbia that is manufacturing the product in relatively small runs of 10,000 pieces at prices he can wholesale competitively.

After the first manufacturing run, Richardson and Seaton tested the brand in their own store.

“To my great surprise and pleasure, it’s been selling very well,” Richardson said.

Then they held their product launch party on the last Atlantis cruise and picked up a few retail accounts. Skivvies is now selling in stores such as LA Sporting Club in Los Angeles and Underwear Station in Miami.

For the Las Vegas market, they chose the top five models, counting on those models to catch on across the country.

Since “skivvies” is a military term, Richardson decided to use military terms for each of the designs in the line. “Rear admiral,” he said, has the butt cut out.

Richardson said that when he got into the business, most underwear lines had two or three styles and colors.

“Now we get new styles in constantly,” Todd said.

As for the wholesale line, Richardson said he’s hoping to grow slowly and steadily.

“We don’t want to be a flash in the pan,” he said.

He said he doesn’t want to overextend his company and would be delighted with about.

A slide show of men modeling the new Skivvies line is available on line.

—  John Wright