Creators of cool onesie for grownups get international attention
3 Dieppe men set out to create the 'world's best onesie,' and they might have done just that
Three New Brunswick men are getting international attention for their updated version of the onesie.
Derek Martin and brothers Marcel and Mario LeBlanc are the co-creators of the Tuxy, a one-piece built to look like a two-piece.
"We had the idea of creating the ultimate onesie, something that you'd want to wear on your cheat day or after a long day of snowboarding, after a long day of hiking or surfing around the campfire," Martin said.
The Moncton-area men said they launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Tuxy with no expectations, offering the onesie at a reduced price of $129 instead of the regular $189.
Within 24 hours, they raised their goal amount of $15,000 in pre-order sales through the crowdfunding site.
From there, the popularity of the so-called tuxedo of onesies began snowballing, attracting the attention of high-profile media outlets, which garnered millions of views online.
The Tuxy brought in more than $180,000 by the time the Kickstarter campaign closed Dec. 20.
People were ordering the Tuxy from all over Canada, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland, Italy and Germany, among other countries.
"We were blown away," Martin said. "It kept growing and growing.
The men never anticipated such a response.
"It just kind of blew up," he said.
"That's what we wanted to happen," Mario LeBlanc said. "But to actually witness it and see support from everyone around the world, it was overwhelming and crazy."
Martin said about a year and a half ago, he texted the LeBlanc brothers asking them, "What about a onesie?"
Despite some initial skepticism, the three took on the challenge and went straight to the drawing board, sketching and developing more than a dozen designs to create what's now the Tuxy.
The trio conducted dozens of interviews with people of diverse backgrounds and interests to get a sense of what people thought of onesies.
"The number one answer was, 'as long as it doesn't look like a onesie, I would probably wear it,'" Martin said.
The question was whether the designers make a cool onesie and make it not actually look like a onesie.
All three co-founders are active themselves, whether in snowboarding, CrossFit or camping.
They wanted their product to "reflect the moments in between," Martin said. A piece men and women could wear working out at the gym or on a lazy day.
Each of the co-founders has a history of entrepreneurship.
Marcel has a background in finance, Derek in retail, media production and tech and Mario in business, and each currently or previously owning several local businesses in the area.
Despite being from the small city of Dieppe, they didn't want to think small.
"We really had to think differently and put ideas that were a little bit crazy to leap and take a chance and put this on a worldwide scale," Martin said.
Slinging onesies worldwide
Even though the Kickstarter campaign has ended, there's been almost $30,000 in additional pre-order sales for the Tuxy.
"At then end of the day we've cut off or created a segment of people who might want the onesie's comfort but would never really wear one, especially less so in public," Marcel LeBlanc said.
Mario LeBlanc calls the Tuxy a passion project, with "friends first, business after."
"I think the friends first is what makes the business so successful and runs smoothly."
The guys have even turned down several possible investors interested in a piece of the Tuxy business.
"We never thought we we'd be slinging onesies maybe two years ago, but once we tried it on, and knew we had a prototype and knew how it lit up our days or evenings, we knew it would be something worth talking about," Marcel LeBlanc said.
For now, talk is still all that's possible with the Tuxy. The first batch of the garments won't be shipped until spring 2018.