Mads Fibiger Rasmussen
Co-founder & CEO Organic Basics
We need to be present where our customers prefer to shop
Four Danish men, tired of buying and using overpriced big-branded underwear, in 2015 decided to create Organic Basics. Launched with the aid of crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, the brand began with a subscription service and then expanded into a cool online store. Organic Basics is trying to break free from the mainstream fashion industry by making products that are sustainable and built to last. Co-founder and CEO, Mads Fibiger Rasmussen, shares the journey from the Kickstarter days to launching silver fabric treated products.
What was the seed capital you began with? Who are the major investors now?
Organic Basics launched through Kickstarter, which gave us the initial capital for our first production. Since then, we have done several Kickstarter campaigns, and in the late summer of 2017 we took in our first venture capital from Nordic-Eye Venture Capital, Bumble Ventures and an angel investor.
What products did you begin with in 2015?
We started manufacturing GOTS-certified organic cotton boxer briefs and mid-rise socks for men. Initially, we sold those on a subscription basis, but later pivoted to a more regular e-commerce setup focusing all of our efforts on making sustainable products.
What course corrections did you have to do from conceptualisation to implementation?
We did a lot of pivots in Organic Basics. As mentioned, we initially sold our products only through a subscription service and only wanted to make two products (boxer briefs and socks). After our initial launch, we saw a lot of demand for other organic and sustainable basic products for men, and about that time we also started getting a lot of demand from women who wanted the same basic products. Thereafter, we wanted to create even more innovative products, and decided to introduce SilverTech. We took our organic cotton and spun actual pure silver into the material to make it antibacterial. This year, we have started to work with Polygiene in order to make technology-advanced underwear, which is more durable, comfortable, odour-killing and sustainable than any of our competitors'.
How successful has Organic Basics been so far in terms of financial viability?
Organic Basics has been growing significantly since we started in 2015, where we have experienced yearly growth rates between 200 per cent and 400 per cent.
Which are your major markets? Which new markets do you plan to explore?
Obviously, our home market Denmark is big for us, but besides that we have seen a lot of traction in California where people really believe in our sustainable vision. Second, we have large markets in Germany and in the UK. We plan to explore a larger part of Europe in 2018.
Which are your best-selling products? Which price points work well for you?
Our best-selling men's products are our original boxer briefs. For women, it is our bikini briefs. Both are in GOTS-certified organic cotton and made through a sustainable production process.
What is the USP of your products?
We have a brand mantra saying "Basically Better Made. Consciously Created. Designed to Last". We want to make the most comfortable and sustainable basics for both men and women sold primarily on a direct-to-consumer basis.
How have you managed to make innerwear biodegradable?
One of the next big steps for us is to dive deeper into the lifecycle of our products, and make sure our products are fit for recycling. We believe this is the key to sustainability.
Where do you source raw material from? Do you manufacture your products or outsource them?
We manufacture our products and source our own raw materials through different manufacturing and sourcing partners around Europe. We have most of our production focused in Turkey and Portugal, where they are also able to harvest the GOTS-certified organic cotton that we use.
What is your outreach? Do you plan to get into offline retail?
We're just starting to look into the options of going into offline retail, after having only sold online for the last couple of years. A large part of the market for underwear (especially women) still prefer to buy their products in physical stores, and in order for us to have an impact on the fashion industry and drag it towards a more sustainable direction, we need to be present where our customers prefer to shop. That said, we still focus mostly online and believe this is the future.
What new products do you plan to introduce next?
We're introducing our SilverTech 2.0 products this summer for both men and women, which are by far the most advanced products we have ever made. We enhanced our design for more comfort, heat regulation, durability, and breathability. We have partnered with Polygiene, one of the most advanced and sustainable silver fabric treatments in the world, to give an even better anti-microbial, odourless experience. All our underwear and tees are made with 100 per cent recycled nylon, making them more comfortable, more breathable and more durable, while reducing our environmental footprint. After this, we'll manufacture more seamless underwear and make use of tencel, which is a great and sustainable fabric.(HO)
Published on: 19/06/2018
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