GSBA’s Business of the Year, TomboyX, is far more than just a company that makes underwear. Now surpassing its sixth year as a business, the fashion innovators make “the most comfortable gender-neutral underwear, swimwear, loungewear, and activewear on the market,” according to Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer Naomi Gonzalez. Gonzalez and her wife, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Fran Dunaway, first launched TomboyX after Dunaway struggled to find a masculine-styled shirt fit for a feminine physique.
“I wanted a beautiful button-up shirt like a Robert Graham or a Ben Sherman, but made for a woman’s body,” said Dunaway. “We chose the name TomboyX because we just thought it was a cute name. But about a week into our Kickstarter campaign, we realized the name was resonating in a such a big way that we had an instant brand. We started doing some research to try to start building a brand, and we needed a ‘hero’ product. So Naomi said, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of customers looking for boxer-briefs. So off we went.”
As the company’s growth has ballooned over the past six years, taking in $5.4 million of revenue in 2017, its tenants of body-positivity and empowerment have remained steady. This philosophy and annual revenue have landed TomboyX on the Puget Sound Business Journal list of Largest LGBTQ-Owned Companies, since 2015, coming in at number 10 in 2018.
“We stepped into a wide space that no one in the fashion industry has been addressing. We have a very loud and vocal community that we feel personally responsible to and for. As members of the LGBTQ community, we know what it’s like to have been outsiders or have not been in the mainstream... So when we say we have a human agenda, that’s about being unapologetically ‘you’ all day, every day, and feeling comfortable in your own skin,” said Dunaway.
Nestled into their new headquarters above Krispy Kreme in SODO, Dunaway and Gonzalez built out an open-office workspace for their 25 employees, including quality assurance staff, customer service representatives, a marketing team, and more. Dunaway and Gonzalez expect to grow the team by at least ten more staff-members in 2019.
“GSBA has been a great supporter of TomboyX from the beginning,” said Dunaway. “(Through GSBA) we’ve not only found people to be vendors for us and help with our bookkeeping, but we’ve also done a lot of networking. GSBA has been a great home for us.”
Join us in honoring TomboyX during Justice For All: 38th Annual Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner on Thursday, Feb 21 at Seattle Marriott Waterfront: http://bit.ly/2Rzxo3i