Weary of searching for men’s-style clothes cut for women, a group of Seattle entrepreneurs decided to do something about it.
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign in early 2013 that raised $76,000 in 30 days, the TomBoyX team of Fran Dunaway, Naomi Gonzalez and Barb Gauld decided it was the time to officially launch in April 2013.
With custom-made designed pieces created by Gauld, a former fashion designer for Eddie Bauer and Tommy Bahama, the owners of TomBoyX received positive feedback from customers and media recognition within 10 days expressing how the brand was meeting the needs of an underserved fashion market.
Among the clothing pieces that greatly resonated with customers were their signature button-up shirts that include their innovative “closing the gap” buttons. This design feature includes buttons sewn into the inside of the shirt allowing for easier wear by women who want to maintain a men’s button-up look.
Additional successful Kickstarter clothing pieces are their French knit terry blazers and two different versions of a polo that are made of 100 percent cotton and Franco performance fabric. The start-up also supplemented its custom-made pieces with lower-priced items such as branded T-shirts and hats.
The trio’s main mission behind launching TomBoyX is “filling the white space between menswear and womenswear,” Dunaway says. The “X” in TomboyX represents the exchange concept communicating the brand’s mission of being “a one-stop shop for Tomboys everywhere,” Dunaway says.
The brand’s style icons include Amelia Earhart and Katharine Hepburn, whom Dunaway says embody a “classic, cool look that’s menswear-inspired but made for women’s bodies.”
Also aiding in the quick success of TomBoyX’s launch is the brand’s connection with the D.C. area, one of the line’s top markets and home to several TomBoyX investors. Dunaway calls D.C. the brand’s second home, as several of the Kickstarter investors live here.
TomBoyX staff regularly visits the D.C. area to showcase new clothing pieces at networking events and even meeting with customers to address sizing issues with purchased items.
Dunaway says the company’s focus to create customers for life and ensure clients know the owners understand their market which has been largely ignored by the fashion industry. She and Gonzalez are lesbians; Gauld is straight.
“We want woman to feel we know who they are and want the customer experience to be that every step of the way” Dunaway says.
All of TomBoyX’s pieces are made in the United States and sold via their online store. The pieces are manufactured at a woman-owned factory employed with a team of workers who are mostly women and who are compensated with a workable living wage.
Future plans for TomBoyX include establishing retail locations in addition to further creating and curating clothing and accessories that enhance the TomBoyX style. TomBoyX is seeking to collaborate with several boutiques in several major cities across the U.S. and Canada to expand the brand. They hope to complete this next phase of the line within the next six months.
TomBoyX also plans to release extended sizes for petite and plus-size woman and add items to the line such as sweaters, quarter zips, branded boxer-briefs, slated to be released next month.