Saxx has a new head honcho.
The Vancouver-based men’s underwear brand has named Tom Berry chief executive officer. He will succeed Wendy Bennison, who has been in that role since 2017. She will assist in the transition before joining the Saxx board of directors in April 2024. Berry started Tuesday.
More from WWD
Prior to Saax, Berry was CEO Americas for the Danish footwear and leather accessories company Ecco. Prior to that, he held leadership positions at Levi Strauss & Co., Tecnica, Salomon and The North Face. During his career, Berry has been credited with leading brand transformations, new business development and launches, category and geography extensions, turnarounds and profitable partnerships.
Saxx was founded in 2006 and has become known for its patented BallPark Pouch, a hammock-shaped pouch built into each pair of underwear. It is the leading men’s premium underwear brand in Canada with a market share of 26 percent. It has a repurchase rate of 93 percent.
Berry said he had some limited knowledge of the brand when he was approached by TZP Group, a private equity firm that made an undisclosed strategic investment in the company in 2021, about coming on board. But since then he has seen the potential for the brand to expand its reach.
“Like a lot of American men, I treated basics as basics and didn’t think about it as the first piece of my wardrobe and the most intimate garment I own,” he said. While he admits to being obsessed with his high-tech climbing apparel and other performance apparel pieces, he didn’t feel the same connection to the “most personal product” he wears.
But now that there’s more focus on men’s self care, he believes that will change for him and other men. “And Saxx can be a big part of that equation,” he said.
“From a macro perspective, we’re [men] 20 years behind women. It took a moment to get my head around it,” he said, “and I have to digest why we haven’t had more conversations about that.”
Berry admitted that he has “a lot to learn” about the underwear market in general and Saxx in particular, but he accepted the post because of the team. “Saxx has a great leader in Wendy and it’s a great opportunity to learn from her in transition and then on the board,” he said. “Plus there’s no greater, more passionate group thinking about [underwear] than the people who work at Saxx.”
Its technology is also unique, he said, adding that “Saxx invented the pouch category with the patented BallPark Pouch technology,” which allows the brand to “solve a problem consumers didn’t know they had.”
Berry will continue to be based in Portland, Ore., where Saxx has a design office, and will go to the headquarters in Vancouver when needed.
He said the goal going forward is to have Saxx remain a multichannel operator with a strong wholesale business. A “big focus” for the future is to drive growth in the U.S. and expand its complementary categories. “Once we get the consumer into our underwear, we can migrate them to adjacent categories,” he said. Saxx also offers activewear, sleepwear and swimwear.
“With Tom at the helm and the continued dedication of our team and retail partners, we are heading into an exciting future as we reach more men with innovative, technical and life-changing products,” said Dan Galpern, chairman of the Saxx board and partner at TZP Group. “Wendy’s remarkable achievements, including overseeing a period of significant growth and expansion, will leave a lasting mark on Saxx’s success, and we look forward to welcoming her onto the Saxx board.”
Best of WWD