Solendro make the buying process of men’s underwear as easy as possible
Why did you decide to create a company?
Six years ago, we decided to establish Solendro because of a market shortage. It is difficult to find a brick and mortar store with a wide range of underwear. There are many women’s lingerie stores, but just a few for men’s underwear. That seemed to us like an aberration on many levels. First, we see brands investing more and more in the innovation of their products: different cuts, materials, properties (seamless products, thermo-regulated sports products, etc.).
On top of that, they are increasingly investing in the marketing of this product category, that has emerged from its convenience status and is now becoming a real fashion item. Thus, all the underwear advertising campaigns with celebrities such as Rafael Nadal, David Beckham, Justin Bieber and so on.
And despite these investments, no one was specializing in order to correctly display and promote those products.
Finally, we saw how clothing e-commerce was developing, even though we were struggling to make sense out of it. In order to buy shoes or jeans online, we needed to know our size and for that we needed to try on these products in store to avoid unnecessary returns. So, for us, if there was a piece of clothing that really seemed to make sense in e-commerce, it was men’s underwear, because you can’t try them in a brick and mortar store anyway.
What vision is behind Solendro?
The vision of Solendro is to make the buying process of men’s underwear as easy and pleasant as possible. Easy, because we offer a choice of more than 5000 items, which allows us to meet any underwear need. Pleasant, because we created a website specifically designed for underwear, which means with only 3 clicks you can find whatever you’re looking for. Beyond the aesthetic aspects of the website, the categories are clearly organised, our filters numerous and specific, so that the customer can invest as little time as possible in their search. As we make this purchase simple and pleasant, we allow many men to purchase their underwear themselves again, as some were leaving the purchase to their partner out of convenience.
However, we also try and make the gift purchase of underwear between couples, or family members, as easy as possible.
How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome and how did you get your funding?
The beginning was not that difficult. Since there were no real online retailer specifically catering to brands needs in terms of underwear presentation, many very selective brands agreed to partner with us even before the website was online. As for funding, we started with our own money. We had to borrow money from banks, which was not that easy when you start a business, especially online and at that time.
Fortunately, we were able to rely on some public organisations to guarantee these loans and help banks in risk analysis.
After a few years, we resorted to investment funds to accelerate our growth, through the improvement of our communication and brand awareness. After very positive results, we achieved a second fundraising to increase further our communication and to expand in Europe.
Who is your target audience?
We target men as well as women. Our customers cover a very wide range of ages and social categories.
And this is what we strive for: Everyone ought to find what they want on our Website. That’s also why Solendro sells very fashionable underwear as well as more functional ones, or more technical ones, very prestigious brands as well as more affordable ones.
What is the USP of your website?
We currently have the widest range of men’s boxer briefs and many items are only sold on our website. We sell them at the minimum price imposed by our brands and deliver them for free (for orders over 30€, which is more than 90% of our orders). Our customer service is inside our office, it is not an outsourced call-centre, that enables us to maintain a warm and human contact with our customers.
This is extremely important to us!
How is the feedback?
The customer feedback is excellent. This allows us to grow continuously in an industry that is dominated by a few very large companies. We believe that trust matters more and more to customers.
Where do you see yourself and your startup Solendro in five years?
We want Solendro to become the top of mind for online-shopping of men’s underwear in Europe.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
We don’t really like to pontificate and dispense general truths. But I would recommend working in a sector in which the founder is genuinely interested. Since nothing guarantees success and it can take a lot of time before it comes, and we believe passion makes it much easier to continue and persevere.
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