Updates And Plans For Our $3.6M/Year Pouch Underwear Brand

Published: June 15th, 2023
Robert Patton
from Woodland Park, CO, USA
started February 2014
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
210 days
growth channels
Advertising on social media
business model
best tools
Shopify, Instagram, Klaviyo
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
35 Pros & Cons
18 Tips
Discover what tools Robert recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Robert recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi, I’m Robert Patton, a Former US Army soldier, entrepreneur, and the founder of SHEATH. SHEATH is a men’s underwear company that was founded in 2010, with an official launch in 2014.

SHEATH is a DTC product and the brand’s unique selling point is the patented Dual Technology, which is designed to keep a man’s genitals separated and supported for maximum comfort and performance.

The brand has gained a following among athletes and fitness enthusiasts and has been mentioned in several media outlets including Fox, Inc. 5000, the New Yorker, and more.

Sheath Underwear is respected for its dedication to creating comfortable and stylish underwear for all body types, promoting body positivity and self-love.

Here’s the link to my original Starter Story interview!


Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

The last 2 years since the covid lockdown have been both good and bad.

During the pandemic when everyone was on lockdown and the government was passing out the free months, sales were through the roof and we had our highest grossing year ever in 2021 breaking the 4 million mark, but when the checks stopped being sent out and prices for gas and food skyrocketed, our normal growth rate of doubling revenue annually came to a halt and we had our first year of declining sales in 2022.

Get to work and don’t stop. The beginning is crucial, you have to get momentum for your product and break into whatever demographic space that your product would sell well in.

We had a flat year all things considered, and did 3.6 million in revenue. Since then we have been trying to solidify the structure of our company by cutting unnecessary costs and outsourcing what we can handle in-house while expanding employee roles and clearly defining them. and refine our expenses to be more precision-based rather than being overly spendthrift when it comes to advertising.

We are still selling on Amazon and also trying to figure out how to minimize the percentage they take from each sale by becoming experts on the platform and refining our advertising expenses within the Amazon infrastructure as well. We have removed ourselves from eBay for the time being because we end up owing them money each time somehow and haven’t quite figured out how to utilize that platform for profit.

We did a marketing campaign that paired us up with a couple of Men’s Mental Health Organizations “Movember and Into The Dark Blue” which 25% of the proceeds from the sale of our Men’s V Iceberg pair are donated to those organizations.

The campaign was presented by Luke Adams, a very talented commercial film production company owner and the premise was that he could go to Greenland and free dive in freezing temperature water under an Iceberg in nothing but a pair of SHEATH Underwear.

It was quite a remarkable production which can be found easily on youtube.

The results were amazing and we are very proud to have participated in the endeavor. We are also partnering with a guy who is going to traverse the earth to over 500 countries wearing SHEATH along the way in an attempt to break a world record.

We haven't tried any new marketing channels. We got into one store in Colorado Springs, CO called Rutledges.

We are still using Touch of Modern as an outlet on a quarterly basis. They had a change in ownership last year and the new owners weren't able to pay the debt of 7 thousand dollars that was owed to us from Touch of Modern, previous ownership. We decided to let it go and continue working with the new owners with the understanding that they would pay invoices upfront rather than the net90 agreement we had with the previous owners.

What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

One key struggle over the past year was in trusting this hosting company called Shogun, they sold us on the idea that if we took our website Headless, it would increase our website speed and as a result, our conversion rate would increase significantly. This was a very false promise, and although we did get a killer new website. It cost us nearly $100,000 with the build out and hosting fees. I would suggest to everyone that they don’t take their websites headless. It didn’t make enough of a difference to justify the cost, and ultimately, we got a notification recently, that they were “sunsetting” their headless hosting service and it was going to cost another $30,000 to migrate our code to a new hosting provider. We decided to revert to our regular old website hosted by Shopify and it is fine. We could’ve saved $100,000 by not making that decision last year, but we learned a lot about website development.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

The biggest lesson we have learned in the past year has been the utilization of YouTube pre-roll ads. We went all this time without experimenting with this advertising option. It was recommended to us by another very prominent brand in our demographic, MANSCAPE. We met them at a comedy festival and the conversation was enlightening.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

The plan for this upcoming year is to maintain our ground in the pouch underwear space which has been growing with more competition over the past couple of years. And over the next 5 years, we plan to return to our level of growth during the first 6 years by doubling revenue annually while also maintaining the ability to keep expenses at a level that permits us to grow but also build a financial nest egg.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

I just read the biography of Steve Jobs as well as one of Benjamin Franklin and they were both written by Walter Isaacson. Both books were extremely well written and the stories and details of the lives of these two men were truly inspirational.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

As far as I can tell, it is only getting more difficult to break into our market of underwear and clothing. The competition is getting thick with many companies trying to get into the market. The longer you wait, the harder it is going to be.

I would say, get to work and don’t stop. The beginning is crucial, you have to get momentum for your product and break into whatever demographic space that your product would sell well in, and it’s probably the demographic that you fall into.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We aren’t hiring right now, but we are always interested in seeing who might want to work with us.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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