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The three most requested items at homeless shelters are socks, underwear, and t-shirts. Bombas, the direct-to-consumer giant ever-building off its “Shark Tank” success, is committed to helping with that.

When co-founder Randy Goldberg discovered this, he founded his sock company Bombas with a “buy one, give one” approach. When the company sold a pair of socks, it donated a pair to the homeless.

As of 2023, Bombas has both sold and donated over 75 million pieces of apparel. Keep reading for more details about their tremendous success and commitment to helping their communities.

Venturing Into the ‘Shark Tank

The co-founders visited the “Shark Tank” in 2014, having just nine months of operation under their belt. Their courageous move paid off, and then some; Bombas is now considered one of the greatest successes in the history of “Shark Tank.”

When Bombas traipsed into the tank, they received a measly $200,000 for 17.5% though they were looking for the same number at 5% equity. Bombas proved the doubtful Sharks wrong, though; their valuation of the company at $4 million is now far below what the company is worth.

Since being in the Tank, the company has expanded its clothing line to include shirts, underwear, and slippers. It’s gone from a trendy apparel company with a hand in giving to the needy to a top-tier brand offering everyday comfort.

“It’s a product that really has a big impact on how you feel all day, and it’s the same with underwear and with t-shirts,” Goldberg said to Modern Retail. “These are the things that you put on first in the morning, the things that you wear closest to your body. And I think there’s a responsibility for that, that we have to make these things really comfortable and we have to make them supportive.”

An Emphasis On Quality Leads to Overseas Expansion

Goldberg’s commitment to “making base layers that people want to do laundry to wear” has certainly paid off. While Bombas continued to grow selling only directly to consumers in the United States, the founders of the company were thinking bigger.

At the end of 2021, the company announced that it was expanding to the United Kingdom to further advance its customer base. This step can be detrimental to some companies who are simply grasping at straws and trying to find sales, but with a firm base in the United States and a plan for expansion, Bombas felt comfortable with the move.

The step was not without planning and research. Goldberg and his cofounder David Heath felt confident that the same principles that resonated with American customers would transfer across the pond.

“We’ve done a lot of research on the U.K. consumer and it seems like a lot of our ideas and the things that we care about — comfort, support, inclusivity — really resonate there as well,” Goldberg said to Modern Retail.

The country had its own selling site with slightly limited products for about a year as the company scaled up its overseas operations, but as of fall 2022, all Bombas customers can buy products from the company’s main site containing all of its clothing lines.

The company kept up its charitable work across the pond, as well. In the United Kingdom, Bombas partners with St. Mungo’s and the Single Homelessness Project to continue donating items for each piece they sell.

Charitable Commitments Champion Challenges

The foundation of Goldberg and Heath’s business idea was the buy one, give one approach now so closely associated with the brand. They chose socks as their hero product because of the overwhelming need for them in homeless shelters, and this need has informed their expansion as well.

The two second-most asked-for items in homeless shelters are underwear and t-shirts, and those were the frontiers Bombas chose to explore next. Bombas now offers all of these products plus slippers in color ways suitable for any customer.

Bombas’ donated clothes are the exact same high-quality products as its customers receive when they order, but they’re in dark, simple colors so as not to show wear. They’ve donated over 75 million items of clothing as of this blog, showing genuine commitment to their mission even as the company scales.

Bombas was built from the ground up by two motivated entrepreneurs. They saw the chance they had to go on “Shark Tank” and took it — the publicity they’d receive would be well worth the disgrace of potentially not getting an investment — and their business has grown significantly over the years since.

The cofounders focused on creating a quality product at a reasonable price: $9 for a pair of high-quality, long-lasting socks. Their product came out comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and ready to sell. And by combining this passion for quality with a genuine, easy to understand mission, they cemented themselves in their niche for years to come.

Many businesses could stand to learn a lesson from Bombas regardless of their size. By leaning on investments and marketing opportunities early on, the company created their own success and situated themselves for future success. Get used to hearing the name Bombas, and familiarize yourself with Randy Goldberg, because this new DTC socks and underwear giant isn’t going anywhere.

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