Men’s bodywear brand t-bo makes significant changes to business model

by Stephen Garner

T-Bô, the Swiss men’s bodywear brand, is making significant changes to its standard business model, which will debut to consumers this month.

Changes include a revised pricing structure to benefit consumers; an easier to navigate consumer interface experience; and, with the most important change, based on metrics, its product releases will now be fully demand-driven e-commerce, something TBô has coined “Direct By Consumer,” or DBC, which is the natural evolution after the pure-play DTC model.

With the new DBC model, the TBô consumer, or the “Tribe” as they are known, will help inform and make every decision that TBô makes as a business. This includes decisions on new product offerings; pricing; sustainability packaging concepts, fabrications, and philanthropic initiatives; and even size range offerings.

With DBC, TBô is able to ensure that only needed and sellable items go into production, creating little to no overstock, which in turn means reduced waste reinforcing sustainability as a key pillar for the brand. This new model also creates and fosters a highly engaged and loyal customer because they are part of the overall decision-making process.

“Traditionally, brands would tell consumers what they should like and push products onto them,” said Allan Perrottet, co-founder of TBô. “Today’s consumer wants to be part of the brand and treated at eye level. From our experience, the consumer knows exactly what he wants, but was not asked the right questions and thus, his wants were never properly heard. DBC allows for the consumer to be the brand, it’s the natural evolution from the direct to consumer model.”

Along with the new DBC model, TBô has significantly reduced its original prices to benefit its consumers by rehoming “middleman fees.” When TBô launched, the underwear retailed from $24.95 to $34.95 in order to have an attractive wholesale margin for third party retailers. Under the new DBC model, customers can directly purchase underwear from TBô and thus, can pass those savings along to purchasers. A new pair of underwear will now sell for $14.99 for a single, $29.98 for a three-pack, $59.96 for a six-pack and $89.94 for a nine-pack, which is a 40-70 percent savings to the consumer. Under the new pricing model, TBô has seen a surge in revenue driven by a combination of more orders, up 45 percent, and higher Average Order Value, up 7 percent in the first month of testing.  In their third full year, TBô expects to see their revenue increase by 70 percent compared to 2019 with only a 30 percent additional marketing spend.

Alongside its “always offered” core products with delivery of 1-4 days anywhere in the U.S., TBô will create limited-edition products on at least a monthly basis based on feedback from its over 400,000 Tribesmen from across the globe. The Tribe then collaboratively creates a limited-edition product based on the information received from its community through online groups, webinars, newsletters, and TBô’s own website that the brand knows its community members want.

Those products then go into a pre-sale that at first is exclusive to the TBô Tribe and participants of the co-creation process. It is then made available to the public on www.tbo.clothing. After the pre-sale period ends, TBô produces the underwear only if enough demand was shown during the pre-sales event. Funds are returned to participants if the product does not go into production. If the minimum threshold is reached, TBô produces all pre-ordered products and an additional, limited quantity that will be sold on www.tbo.clothing.

Thus, reducing the amount of waste that would be produced if the brand were to estimate quantities needed. So far, no limited-edition campaign has gone unfunded. Limited-edition products will increase to at least two times a month starting in August 2020.

TBô has made significant updates to its packaging since it launched its “no packaging” option in February. Starting this month, T-Bô products will arrive at consumers in a completely recyclable envelope that is used both as packaging for the underwear as well as a shipping package further completing the brand’s goal to become more sustainable.

“TBô has always been a community-driven brand,” added Roy Bernheim, co-founder of TBô. “We see ourselves as catalysts of starting conversations between people and that has helped the brand evolve to what it is today. Originally, we built in margins with wholesale in mind but over the years and especially now, we’ve seen that it’s the Tribe that is loyal to the brand, not third parties. With that in mind, it was only natural to switch gears and invest all efforts into the DBC model that TBô has pioneered and passed those savings onto the Tribe who have supported TBô from the very beginning.”