I realize a story about underwear, specifically my underwear, is an odd topic and maybe even one you have zero interest. But, I promise, this is not about how perfectly shaped my butt is.
This is about America!
I have no real gauge of how the rest of you care about how your undergarments feel, or to their quality. At some point in my adult life I really began to care about how they fit, felt and stuff. It may be when I realized that I preferred boxer briefs, the longer versions that extended more down the thigh. And most certainly I realized the difference between your standard Fruit of the Loom/Jockey product and something softer and expensive like a pair from Tommy Hilfiger. The latter had been my brand of choice for a long time, but in the last couple of years even that brand had changed their design and lessened their quality. One part of underpants that I really pay the most attention to is the material inside the waste band. I loved the Hilfigers because they used to use a soft liner here and not just the backside the elastic. But that was part of what they recently eliminated.
So as I searched for a new brand I came across a Kickstarter campaign. This was for a new brand of men’s undergarments that promised not only high quality, but the even more intriguing idea of “Made in USA”. The guy behind Flint & Tinder is Jake Bronstein and what I learned from him is that none of the high end underwear products were made here in America. All of it is farmed out to Cambodia, Honduras and places other than here in the good ol’ USA. Bronstein is a bit of a known commodity with his teenage appearance on MTV’s Road Rules, dating 50 girls in 50 states and his part in the desktop toy, Buckeyballs. His Kickstarter campaign resulted in ten times the $30,000 requested funding and 23,000 orders. It is the largest funded fashion project to date on Kickstarter.
I saw the project and at the time had not yet “backed” a Kickstarter project. But I wanted to find a good new brand of panties, was really attracted to the idea of them being made stateside and decided to drop my $36 which would give me three pairs of whatever version and color I wanted.
Now the time that has lapsed since the funding was completed has far exceeded what backers were told at the beginning. While Bronstein did a pretty good job of sending out emails keeping everyone up to date, I’d be less than honest if I failed to admit that the growing list of lost funds from failed or scam Kickstarter campaigns was starting to loom in the back of my mind. There were stories about the difficulties of getting all the equipment and materials in place (manufacturing is being done at a a T-shirt factory in Orwigsburg, Pa) and the date for shipping was pushed back numerous times.
But yesterday I got my tyvex bag with the Flint & Tinder logo and found inside my three pair of boxer briefs in sky blue. I am happy to report the quality of the material, fit, workmanship and attention to detail is exactly as I hoped. The fabric is soft without feeling flimsy, the sewing doesn’t create seams that are uncomfortable and best of all, the inside of the waistband is a wonderfully soft creation that makes me happy. Each pair comes with a nice little box of F&T branded matches and the entire package included a nice print that shows how many different US states (11 to be exact) were involved in the sourcing of materials and services to create the product.
Most importantly Bronstein contends that for, “for every 1,000 pair of underwear we sell per month, at least one sustainable job is added within our supply chain.” Personally, I find this an amazingly compelling reason to purchase from him. There is a growing wave that we can produce high quality goods with competitive pricing here in the states. And I think it’s important to support those companies when you find a product that meets your needs. Yes, $18 for a pair of underwear is expensive, but it is not out of bounds (and even cheaper in many cases) when you compare to any other brand that even comes close to the quality of the F&T product. My most recent pairs of Hilfigers (and the versions that really got me shopping for alternatives) are no where near as nice as these.
So, theres a little peek into the world of “Peet’s World of Undergarment Wonder”. I found a new brand and at the same time got the feel good of buying something 100% sourced and produced here in the USA. Oh, and yes, for those of you reading and wondering – my butt looks amazing in them.