Greg Shugar, who founded the online men’s accessories retailer The Tie Bar, and two partners have launched a new company that markets bed sheets, comforters and duvets to men. Thread Experiment, which Shugar created with Justin Mikita and Greg Winner, debuted this week with a sale on Gilt Groupe and a site launch at ThreadExperiment.com.
“Men spend a lot of time on the way they look with grooming and clothes,” explains Shugar. “We think the bedroom should be an extension of the way a man looks. With so many options out there that are pink and turquoise with flowers and lace, it doesn’t give men many options. We found that men who stayed away from feminine bedding bought solids. We thought there should be more options. My neckwear background had something to do with this—our designs don’t necessarily look like ties, but I like patterns, and I couldn’t find any patterns in bedding that appealed to me.”
Shugar, who’s handling marketing, branding and front-end e-commerce for Thread Experiment, says he came up with the idea for the company in 2013 while roaming the sourcing section of the Magic trade show in Las Vegas. “It dawned on me that there’s no bedding brand dedicated to men,” he says. He sees a sizable market for Thread Experiment, including single and divorced men, college students and gay men—and any other guy who doesn’t have a woman making the decision about sheets and comforters in his life.
There’s also a charity angle—Thread Experiment will donate a bedding set to homeless shelters and other places in need (parts of Haiti and Nepal are recent examples cited by Shugar) for every full bedding set (sheets and duvet or comforter) sold.
Mikita is Thread Experiment’s creative director, overseeing the design and look of the products. He and his husband, actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, met Shugar when they teamed up with The Tie Bar on a collection of bow ties supporting marriage equality called Tie The Knot in 2012.
Winner, a longtime friend of Shugar’s, heads up operations in the company’s Chicago headquarters.
The first collection is built around 100% cotton, 300 thread count sheet sets with duvets, comforters and shams in masculine colors and patterns. Retail prices for sheets sets range from $98 to $208. Shams run from $28 to $45, duvet covers from $158 to $198 and comforters from $168 to $218. Sizes run from Twin through California King.
Thread Experiment will launch a fall collection that includes linen/cotton blends, some textured woven cottons, duvet inserts and a design collaboration with menswear designer David Hart.
For now, Thread Experiment will sell online on its own site but Shugar says he hopes to wholesale to independent retailers. “We see an opportunity for these retailers to sell to men in their stores,” he says. “We’re going to continue to pitch this as a menswear fashion brand that happens to be in the bedding category, rather than pushing it exclusively in the bedding market.”