CEO of SYNC – StuffYouNeedCheap.com, Kevin Pluimer looks to make good hygiene a priority through monthly undergarment distribution.
Kevin Pluimer decided to dive into the startup business by targeting the hygiene issues of college males. Each day through his work with his company “Stuff You Need Cheap,” Pluimer looks at boxers, briefs, socks and ideas for how to allow maximum access to these items. At home, it’s a much different story.
Pluimer has five daughters. No college-aged son and no current personal involvement with the college scene. What he and his company do have is a sight for a much needed issue across college campuses and some disturbing feedback from their main demographic in the field of hygiene.
“I was doing work for a sports marketing company for the UCLA athletics basketball team,” Pluimer said. “I was on campus all the time and I started having lunch with some guys from one of the fraternities.”
What he found out from these lunchtime conversations ended up being the muse for SYNC.
“When you started listening to these guys and their lifestyles it was very interesting to me when they started talking about their hygiene,” Pluimer said. “Many of the guys said that they would go commando or wear the same pair of underwear for long periods of time and I was shocked to see that the things I noticed in college were still an issue today.”
With a strong background in apparel, Pluimer set out to find a solution that would fit the very obvious need he saw throughout the twenty-something year old male population.
“I began to connect with designers and worked to come up with a plan,” Pluimer said.
The main thing I observed was that there was a strong element of laziness present and laundry was not something that was being done often.
After some experimental work, Pluimer found that the subscription model was the most encouraging way to put his plan into action. His plan being to create a monthly subscription opportunity for individuals to get fresh, stylish underwear and socks send conveniently to the consumer’s door with a simple online subscription.
The idea took off like wildfire. With over 1,000 subscribers from every state looking to purchase these Southern California “beach vibe undergarments, the company developed a full staff, 6-7 contractors and interns. SYNC proved to be filling an immediate gap in the world of home delivery.
However, the name for the company came before the starting success of SYNC.
“I was on a run and I was thinking about how I could come up with a name that would also be an acronym,” Pluimer said. “The reason we have a broader name is so we can expand. I think this name encompassed what we wanted to express at the time as well as what we could do in the future.”
This broad, more relaxed approach was something Pluimer also wanted to apply to his business approach both inside the company and out.
“We put a lot of emphasis on social media marketing,” Pluimer said. “We are growing really quickly and one of our main goals is to get our name out there and let people know about what we are doing and what kind of a service we can provide.”
Though advertising requires a large chunk of cash, it is not something you can cut corners with Pluimer said.
“I think trying to get your message out in the first place is difficult because you have to push and figure out how to target everyone,” Pluimer said.
Another way SYNC connects with clients is by allowing parents to buy subscriptions for their sons. With an “Ask Mom” button, sons can request subscriptions from a parental figure or those moms and dads can setup a subscription directly on the website.
“We thought that moms were going to be the decision makers but the guys wanted to be in control. The problem was in the funds,” Pluimer said. “We targeted moms and the guys responded overwhelmingly.”
Over 100 people have forwarded us to their moms.
Subscribers also have several options to customize their orders online so that they get exactly what they need sent to their residence without ever having to leave.
Though Stuff You Need Cheap hasn’t seen any large-scale issues yet, Pluimer acknowledged that there is always an element of risk.
“We’re working with factories overseas for production,” Pluimer said. “Any day there could be an issue with delivery or unexpected costs.”
One way SYNC is working to save their customers money is through their distribution model. Products are not going to retailers during the distribution process, instead, SYNC has total control of their products and can, in turn, get products to consumers for a competitive price.
All underwear and socks are made with comfort and durability in mind Pluimer said.
“Everything is very branded,” Pluimer said. “All underwear have the same charcoal waistband and all socks have the same cuff and heel toe inserts. People seem to love the designs and styles.”
Though the brand currently only focuses on male undergarments, they have plans to expand to female garments and other hygiene necessities such as shampoo and other personal care items.
“I would love to do a girl’s line and ship other products to college kids without them having to go to the store,” Pluimer said. “I think this is something that would benefit a lot of students in a convenient way.”
As SYNC continues to grow and provide more and more resources, Pluimer reminds those looking to start a business endeavor to believe in their idea but be open to outside ideas.
“If you have a great idea, listen, don’t just assume that your idea is amazing,” Pluimer said. “Take feedback and concerns into account and work through them instead of avoiding them. There are going to be issues, what defines your company is how you push through and overcome.”