A Seattle-based start-up clothing company has been creating quite a buzz since its inception in 2013. The company has found they are filling a gap in women’s clothing market.
TomboyX started out by designing and producing boxer briefs styled for women and have in a very short window grown their business to include Tops, Jeans, Shoes, Outerwear, Sportswear in sizes XS to 4XL and Accessories.
This young company is not just winning over fans, they are winning at every turn. From their Kickstarter and Start-up Accelerator to most recently the NGLCC’s 2015 International Business & Leadership Conference – Biz Pitch Competition. Their products are clearly resonating with the public and that shows in that many items sell out as they become available.
It has been a joy getting to know Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez, as they shared a bit of their journey with me recently.
|Fran Dunaway (L) CEO & Co-Founder|
Naomi Gonzalez (R) COO & Co-Founder
Tell me about TomboyX. How did you decide to start a clothing line business?
I was frustrated with the lack of cool clothing options that was in between menswear and women’s wear so Naomi asked ‘how hard can it be to start a clothing line?’ And off we went.
How long have you been in business?
We sold our first retail item in April 2013.
How do you feel you are impacting the intimate apparel industry?
The TomboyX brand is about inclusion and empowerment of ALL women and we’re striving to be the anti-Victoria Secret. No one was making boxer briefs for women so we saw this as a perfect opportunity to reinforce what we stand for - women feeling comfortable in their own skin. We are working from the inside out and not the outside in.
Women have been borrowing from their husbands/boyfriends or shopping in the men’s underwear department for a long time and for many reasons. Sometimes they’re looking for comfortable undies to wear under a uniform or under dresses or to sleep in. Additionally, they are the go to style for a large swath of the LGBTQ community. We went the extra mile to make sure the waistband is silky soft and of the highest quality. They are really comfortable and super cute. We have sizes from XS to 4X.
Do you think you are going to inspire competition?
Where there is a good idea, there is surely to be competition. We make quality clothing that is ethically sourced. By Tomboys, For Tomboys (TM) is our motto. As long as we stand by our values and deliver, we think we’ll have customers for life.
What has your experience been regarding building your business network and developing collaborations?
We’ve been blessed by an outpouring of support from so many people and businesses. From the get go we had the incredible support of Lucia Gerbino of Lucky Dog Leather. That collaboration lead to introductions to an ever increasing network of women who have been eager to help.
Which came first your local chamber or the NGLCC?
When did you become aware of NGLCC?
Last year from Zippy Dogs! (Another Winning NGLCC Certified Supplier out of Seattle, WA)
What prompted you to join your local chamber?
How long were you a member before getting certified?
Just a few months.
How did you determine certification was something you wanted for your business?
It was a no brainer really.
How has certification impacted your business?
We got a big foam core check! :) We made so many great connections, friends really, when in Fort Lauderdale. We even picked up a new investor! And we feel like any city we go we have a network.
How has your relationship with the chamber grown since getting certified?
We just got to attend a really cool event in NYC!
If applicable and if you are willing to share - What types of special projects are you currently working on?
We have flannel PJ’s coming soon and really awesome tee shirts - made in LA. We have new button down shirts in the works and fun new prints for undies.
What would you say to NGLCC affiliate members questioning if certification is right for them?
It’s hard as an entrepreneur to have a network of like-minded people in any one city. NGLCC expands your network tenfold overnight!
What are some highlights of being in business?
I’m fortunate to own the company with my wife, so we get to spend ALL of our time together. :) We are our own bosses and have created something that wasn’t.
What words of wisdom would you like to share with our members as they build and grow their businesses?
Make sure you love it and be prepared to say goodbye to the life you once knew. You’ll find your life will be consumed with your business so you’ll really need to be committed to its growth when fun invitations from friends come along. That’s been one of the hardest parts for us.
Switching gears a bit; do you volunteer? If so, where do you volunteer, how long, etc?
I used to. I was on the original steering committee that started the HRC in Seattle and co-chaired the dinner for 3 years. I was on the National Board of Governors so used to spend at least 20 hours a week volunteering. Now I just don’t have time.
If you weren’t lucky enough to meet Fran and Naomi at the October M3. Please reach out to them and introduce yourselves. With the holidays fast approaching consider TomboyX for gift ideas. Women in your life will thank you!
You may reach Fran, Naomi and their wonderful team via the following:
Fran Dunaway, CEO
Naomi Gonzalez, COO
3421 Thorndyke Ave W
Seattle, WA 98119
@TomboyExchange – Twitter
@tomboyxstyle - Instagram
@tomboyx – Facebook
Look forward to seeing you at the NGLCC National Dinner!!!
Written by Ingrid Galvez,
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Outreach Committee, NGLCCNY
Organizational Development Consultant, Strategic Remedy Group
Interested in being featured? Please contact me at Ingrid@NGLCCNY.org.