B.C. 'Thuggie' is part irony, all comfort
Sarah Massah, ctvbc.ca
Published Thursday, August 25, 2011 12:45PM PDT
A Vancouver company is making big waves in the fashion industry with the introduction of its product, the Thuggie.
Described as part oversized sweatshirt, part Snuggie -- the sleeved blanket which is sold on infomercials -- the Thuggie is the best-selling product of Why Not Apparel Inc.
The mastermind behind the Thuggie is Bryan Pudney, who created the piece to poke fun at fellow snowboarders and skiers.
"It was gently mocking people who wore oversized hoodies and thought, the longer the hoody, the cooler they were," said Kimberly Bowie, a co-founder of the company. "So he decided to make the longest hoodie on the slopes."
The comfy piece of couture made another appearance at a charity lawn-bowling event in 2009 that was hosted by Bowie, who realized there was potential in it.
"After constantly harassing Bryan, he said if I could come up with a name, then we could market it," said Bowie. "I was driving and it hit me, it's similar to a Snuggie and we're making fun of thuggish people, so Thuggie."
Bowie and Pudney are just one-half of the company. Brad Westerop is the CFO and handles the finances, legal representation and international sales while David Belanger, the creative director, handles the website and design aspects of the company.
"It's a perfect quadrant," said Bowie. "We believed we had a really good idea that was local, made in Vancouver and was prefect leisurewear for a cabin province like B.C."
But the Thuggie is not without its share of critics. There have been many fashionistas turning up their nose to the leisurewear.
Aron, a blogger on helablog.com writes: "Basically it is a lifestyle statement that says, "I have no sense of fashion. Style is such a vast concept, however, these guys all look like they are in a bad part of town trying to sell or buy crack!"
But Bowie said that people who think the Thuggie is a serious fashion venture are missing the joke.
"It's funny that people are up in arms about it being the worst fashion trend because it's funny that it's even considered to be fashion," said Bowie.
Bowie and her partners can continue laughing all the way to the bank. Since going viral after story by Guy Kawasaki was published on his website and having the story tweeted by followers the company has received an onslaught of orders from all over the world, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and France.
"I could never have imagined how big it would have gone in two to three days," said Bowie. "I'm up until midnight checking out all our Google alerts."
The Thuggie sells for $75, while other versions, like the Chuggie, a six pack of mini-covers for beer bottles sells for $45. For new parents, there is even a Thugglet for babies, which sells for $45.
And the four friends show no signs of slowing down. The company has been toying with the idea of expanding the company in order to keep up with demand and focus on corporate clients.
"We're just four people that came up with an idea that is great and fun," said Bowie. "We're not trying to offend anyone; we just want to spread leisure to the world."