Suspender Learnings - Bobby Hundreds, Author: This Is Not a T-Shirt.
A few months back I met Bobby Hundreds (Bobby Kim) at his book talk and signing at Brookline Booksmith here in Boston, MA (technically Brookline, MA obvs). I’ve never been to a book signing in my adult life, but I saw Bobby would be coming and I had to go once I realized it was free. “This is Not a T-shirt” is one of the best books I’ve read. The storytelling is gripping, and the business intel is priceless. Additionally, I was able to gift him some suspenders (see photo of him jazzed up).
Many know Bobby and his brand The Hundreds from their origins on Bobby’s fashion blog in the web 1.0 era. I discovered The Hundreds in Zumiez, as many who are my age (early 20’s) did. It was always a punk mall brand to me until I saw Complex’s blueprint episode with Bobby. It changed my entire outlook on the brand and his entrepreneurial background. I won’t spoil the book, but Bobby (and The Hundreds) represent so much more than a t-shirt. It is a culture and movement that has shifted over time.
The way Bobby discussed t-shirts and streetwear, and evolution of labels reminds me of Rowing Blazers. Brands like Rowing Blazers are category agnostic (though many proclaim them to be ‘quintessential prep’ and what should have been the continuation of Ralph Lauren’s Rugby line - RIP). People like Timothee Chalamet wear all of their pieces as streetwear, prep, casually and formally. Rowing Blazers Founder Jack Carlson was recently on Failing Upwards, and he talked about their SoHo flagship store (dubbed the RB clubhouse) and the diverse clientele that comes through. Their bread and butter is made up of Rugbys and Blazers, and you’ll see everyone entering eyeing their pieces with a different intention. Some are brought to the dreamy collaborations (see: Willy Spiller, Barbour, Land’s End, Sperry). Some are coming from the Supreme shop and others are older and buying Rugbys that remind them of their originals years ago.
All this really means is that a brand is not exactly what it appears to be. The underlying mission can help to define a brand. The people and customers define the brand, and the definition might be hazy from one customer to the next - and that’s alright. We’ve taken this into consideration at Better Than Belts, where suspenders are consciously made and every detail is considered. We make a versatile product for anyone to wear anytime. In doing do, we aim to highlight what really drives us; fashion, comfort, and inclusivity.
Here are two other awesome takeaways from meeting Bobby:
- Strong opinion makes good design.
- Stand for something.
About Better Than Belts; Suspenders for the modern human
Better Than Belts (BTB) was founded by siblings Tori and Tyler Farley who are alumni of Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Tyler’s weight fluctuated due to health issues and he grew tired of tight belts. He wanted to buy suspenders but found everything on the market to be costumes / novelty goods, formal wear, and construction apparel. No clothing brand was making a suspender durable and good-looking enough to replace a belt. Cue BTB, a modern suspender that is comfortable and versatile. As he neared launch, Tyler recruited his sister Tori who has extensive experience with startups, growth marketing, and analytics. The BTB Kickstarter raised $11,400 in one month, bringing the project to life and spreading quality, genderless suspenders to our first wave of dedicated customers. The suspenders are made in New York, USA of the highest quality components sourced from around the globe.