Set up in 2013 to bring the already-established brand to the United States, TANI USA is a major player in a market that is often overlooked: underwear and base layers. With collections that cater to every need, and technologies that compliment clean and sophisticated aesthetics, there is no reason not to have some TANIgear in your wardrobe.
Focused on the high-quality and highly-technical super fabrics that make their products the epitome of luxury, and under the guidance of Adam Dinkes, President of TANI USA, and famed designer Yarden Gagnon, Creative Director for TANI, the brand looks set to take a strong hold of the market in the States; continuing it’s expansion into a leading innovator in the global underwear market.
MINORHOUSE had the opportunity to chat with Adam Dinkes, to find out more about the brand, as well as to find out whether TANI could be incorporated into your golfing wardrobe. Here is our conversation:
Thanks for your time, Adam. Could you give us a little bit of background on the TANI brand?
Adam Dinkes: The brand is actually 11 years old and is based in Hong Kong. The brand has, over the last 11 years, built about 300 stores in China, which are all TANI boutiques. They have a position in the Chinese market of being a very high-end luxury player. So they’re strategy has always been to use high-end fabrics from Europe or from other countries that can provide the best, so Australia or New Zealand.
You’ve got to understand that we’re going for the best of the best.
In the past 11 years, the men’s offering has grown to include many collections, such as loungewear, men’s thermals, and socks; basically everything that you’d want as a base-layer. And even though the focus is on men’s, every fabrication has a separate series for women, but it’s usually panties. We don’t do bras. So it’s all base-layer stuff.
Are there any proprietary differences between TANI and other brands?
I don’t think there is anything proprietary in the category, actually. We’re talking about, truly, a commodity.
If you look at the men’s market in the United States, there are 150 brands. The majority of those brands focus entirely on the market that is USD$39 and below. Everybody. It’s very promotional-driven, and it’s very high turnover. Over the last few years we’ve seen quality [in the marketplace] diminish, so maybe the elastics don’t last so long or the fabric looks bad after a while. That’s literally 99 percent of the market.
So, even though it sounds simple, to come out with something that is really a quality-play, using fabric that is beautiful and will last you a while, is really a new thing in this category.
In terms of design, what is important in a good base-layer?
Comfort. It’s the first thing, and it’s everything. Comfort is the foundation of every garment we’ve ever put together. So when we talk about fabrics, we’re not looking for just any fabrics, we’re looking for the most advanced micro-fabrics that do everything you’d want them to do. They’ve got to be super comfortable, anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, anti-odor. Every TANI product features many, if not all, of these advanced functions. These are literally the most advanced super-fabrics used in men’s underwear.
With that said, is there a product of line in the TANI offering that is more suitable to a golfing demographic?
I think there are a lot of different collections that make sense. And in our brochure [and website], we try to explain to the customer when and where to use this underwear. It’s a great question because if you were asking me about the office, or going to work, I’d recommend something different. Now every collection can be worn whenever you want – once you’ve found something you like, that could be the end of it.
But if you were to ask me for a recommendation for a golfing or tennis demographic, there is a line that is exactly designed for that purpose. It’s called AIRFIT.
What’s amazing about AIRFIT is that it’s so light – 95 percent Micro Tencel which is a superfiber. It’s more wicking than cotton, and the three-dimensional pique knit helps to regulate the airflow and keep you comfortable. So it’s designed to help you go out and play golf or play tennis.
You mentioned that TANI is a Hong Kong-company, and that you’ve got a massive presence in China. But when did the brand make the shift to form a presence outside of Asia?
From the very beginning, TANI has had the opportunity to expand into other regions. TANI actually has a very well established presence in Australia. And in Australia, TANI is known as a women’s brand because the distributor that found them years ago was focused on women’s, and never really did anything with TANI’s men’s offering.
TANI also has a significant presence in the Middle East, in countries like Saudi Arabia and Dubai. But it’s still a relatively small company, still family-owned. And it’s only through a personal introduction that I was introduced to the company. And it was an interesting play for me because everyone wears underwear, and my husband, Yarden happens to be an underwear designer. So it wasn’t something I knew lots about, but from the sidelines I had seen it and understood the issues of quality.
I’ve always been asking for higher-end underwear, and I’ve always looked for higher-end underwear. I’m more comfortable with 10 good pairs of underwear, than 30 pairs of rubbish.
So when I was introduced to this brand, I saw that it was only slightly more expensive than your regular pair. Our base price is $40 versus $39 for anything else. But the difference is so dramatic. It’s hard to articulate it, and it’s hard to see it through the web. But when you feel TANI underwear and touch it, regardless of which fabric it is, you’ll think, “Wow, this is awesome.”
Which TANI line is your favorite?
My favorite line would be the SilkCut. But I’d have to say that I wear the SILKTOUCH and the AIR FITNESS and the PurSuit in a rotation.
And do you wear them for their specific purposes, too?
I’d like to say yes, but it’s really a matter of coordinating with what I’m wearing. So if I want to wear a certain color or a certain shape, I’ll pick according to that. But I do wear TANI all the time.
Last question, are there unique plans for the upcoming years? Will you be expanding the product offering with new lines?
There will be new things coming out on a regular basis. I think it’s important for all brands to have a seasonal perspective and have some evolution in their product. So I expect to see a continuation of that, maybe newer fabrics, and the fabrics that we’ve been using for a year or two will become more mainstream, allowing us to bring out newer generations of the fabrics. We’ll always go for the best out there so every couple of years we keep moving forward to keep our place in the market. We’re basically looking to keep ourselves in a leadership position in the market.
But for the future, yes, we’ll be adding thermals to the collection. We’ll also be adding socks and women’s probably in the middle of this year.
Also for 2014, we’ll be distributed on Nordstrom.com, which is very exciting. They were really excited about what we had, and wanted our product before Father’s Day, which is unheard of that a major company like that would move so quickly. That’s exciting for us.