Teresa Zimmerman got into the men’s underwear industry for an interesting reason: her husband asked her to. And, when she did, the former technology and commodities brand marketing professional quickly found there was a problem in the marketplace. Example one: her husband couldn’t find a nice pair of underwear. It seemed to Zimmerman and her husband that all that was on the market was either low-end multipacks of tighty-whities or was too out-there, both price and skimpiness-wise.
“Underwear almost seems like an afterthought for men as far as fashion goes,” Zimmerman told The Underwear Expert. “These stores I’m going into will have nice fashion socks, but no underwear! And the ones they do have, it’s pretty risqué and too expensive — you know, they can be very revealing. That’s not where most guys can go, in terms of finances and where their comfort zone is. So we wanted to put out a nice pair of underwear that would be approachable and accessible, at the right price point, and mainstream enough for guys to feel comfortable buying it.”
And so Wood Underwear was born, staking out a position in the market as playful and a bit titillating, allowing men to pun on the name’s sexual allusions — still fun, but less risqué than a jockbrief. The underwear itself is a solid, handsome piece of work: grey or orange boxer briefs with small logo on the waistband and a flyless pouch. But with her PR and brand marketing background, Zimmerman is able to craft a larger narrative about the brand itself, and what it’s doing.
“What we wanted to do with Wood was, first of all, get men out of tighty-whities. Some of my girlfriends even refer to them as ‘passion killers,’” Zimmerman joked. “Those three-packs of briefs — I’m sure they’re fine for some period of time, but I don’t think that men are replenishing their underwear drawer nearly as often as women are.”
“In terms of brand peers, we really love where Axe Bodywash goes, and Red Bull energy drinks – they’re irreverent, fun, on the edge, and everybody gets it,” Zimmerman continued. “There doesn’t seem to exist a comparable brand for men’s underwear, at least not in a big, mainstream way. There’s lots [of brands] out there but they’re all still at the point where I am. And so many of them are so logo’d up, we don’t want to do that either.”
That’s not to say the brand identity isn’t out in front: the name alone will draw plenty of attention. “We were having a little fun as a way to draw a little attention — it’s a provocation, a pun-fest all over the place,” Zimmerman said. “But at the same time, wood, the actual product, is timeless, it’s everywhere, it’s flexible, and it evokes a piece of art. It’s about the most approachable material because it’s familiar to everyone all over the world: wood is truly global. And some of what we see in physical wood is what we’d like to see in the product and brand. Universal yet flexible – something that can fit in every situation.”
And as for her husband? “Now he only wears Wood,” Zimmerman confided. “He talks about it all the time — probably more than he should to strangers.” But then, that’s the power of a good brand, right?
SPONSORED BY WOOD.