CEO and President
UFM Underwear For Men and Polidan, Inc.
John Polidan is the President and CEO of Underwear For Men. A mechanical engineer by trade, John has more than 40 years of multi-industry business experience. He owns and operates Polidan, Inc. which acquires and operates product-based businesses that are financially sound.
John has a keen sense of marketing dynamics and knows how to employ modern marketing techniques to support his company’s overall business objectives. John’s broad skill set makes him a dedicated, hands-on CEO of both UFM and Polidan, Inc.
He specializes in reducing costs while improving quality and customer service through the implementation of Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma concepts.
THE POLIDAN PERSPECTIVE —
They say “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” I got frustrated with the chronic suffering, chafing, sweating, sticking and lack of support provided by the traditional men’s underwear solutions that were available at the time. There were some solutions available at the time, they did not provide the support men need. I also got frustrated with the stigma of having to wear tighty whities for support and then the elastic always stretched out. There had to be a better solution.
When I relocated to a warmer climate, thing went from bad to worse down there. Golfing, hiking, working in the yard, spending the day at Disney World, all would become a very uncomfortable situation. It was time to get creative and UFMs were born.
UFMs were initially targeted at the sports industry from an 18-year-old basketball player to a 90-year-old golfer. The UFM technology was also soon discovered as a medical solution as well as for guys on their feet at work all day.
I saw a natural partnership between UFM and golf, due to the comfort and support benefits that UFMs provide especially to older golfers. Also because of my geographic location. My hometown is a big golf community and is the location of PGA TOUR headquarters as well as the Players Championship golf tournament. Since golfers walk more than five miles in one round of golf, it got me thinking that golf had to be a priority market for UFMs.
This year, we exhibited our underwear at the PGA TOUR Merchandise Show. Underwear For Men was featured in the New Products Zone and also had a booth. From the show, we gained 20 sales reps and are developing strategic partnership with others.
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MATT WARD: What was the genesis for the product?
JOHN POLIDAN: “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” Underwear For Men was invented as a sports product to provide support, isolation and comfort for men of all ages. The brand quickly expanded into the medical, work, and everyday segments. It didn’t take long for the products to be noticed by urologists. As men get older, good support becomes very important. “Gravity is not our friend.” Men of all ages wear Underwear For Men in every aspect of their lives.
MW: How long did it take from product concept to product development?
JP: The first generation UFM took about 2 years to develop. Underwear For Men is constantly innovating so our product gets better and better with each Generation. We spend six to eight months developing our new products before releasing them. Our Gen 4 Golf Boxer Brief came out early this year and features a deeper, more comfortable pouch. Our prototypes are made in the United States. We also added a new fabric combination to include Viscose (Bamboo) that is cool and cottony soft.
MW: How does the product differentiate itself from others in the category?
JP: UFMs are the only solution that provide both support and isolation via the patent-pending adjustable support system. Other brands in this category leave you dangling. They only provide isolation not real support. The support UFMs provide is the reason why the medical community is recommending them. You tie the drawstring to create hammock-like support to isolate your manhood. This lifts, prevents chafing, prevents sticking to your thighs, and keeps you cool.
MW: Price points are always a major issue — how was that determined?
JP: We are very competitively priced as compared to other technical golf underwear brands
MW: The company attended its first PGA Merchandise Show this past January — what was the overall reaction?
JP: The reaction from the PGA Merchandise Show was stellar. The reason we participated was to get our product into the golf industry and get the product into the hands of influencers. We had some guys get underwear and come by the next day to let us know how comfortable they were! Underwear For Men has gained a number of partnerships from the PGA Merchandise Show and is now in several golf clubs across the country.
MW: In your marketing efforts — what is the approximate percentage you ideally wish to see sales occur for online efforts, retail outlets and green grass shops?
JP: Due to the unique technology that UFMs provide, we see an important role for shops at golf clubs, retail, and online. We see educating the consumer as a very important element in our growth and success. UFM has also pioneered several innovative programs to assist the green grass and retail shops get the word out. Our pricing policies keep it fair and competitive for all three channels.
MW: Many companies seek product validation through engaging professional golfers to endorse various products. What role will endorsements play in your efforts?
JP: We hope to engage professional golfers who develop a true passion for UFMs and want to help us get the word out to benefit all men.
MW: Customer service is often mentioned by companies. Define the term and how you separate yourself from others doing similarly?
JP: UFM has a very broad interpretation of customer service.
To the consumer explaining the products and solving individual problems via phone, email or chat support.
To the dealer by providing samples, product education and quick stock replenishment.
To the sales reps by providing excellent communication and our “Golden Rule” philosophy.
There are other underwear companies out there, but at UFM it is easy to get in touch with a real person and get the answers you are looking for.
MW: How do you plan to solicit customer feedback and will such feedback play a role in future products?
JP: We pride ourselves on the extensive customer feedback system that was a founding principle of our company. We have received thousands of reviews and everyone is read by senior management. We use this feedback to enhance our designs, plan future products and refine our systems.
MW: What’s the biggest challenge going forward – short and long term?
JP: The biggest challenge in the short term for UFM is educating the consumer on the benefits derived from our unique drawstring support technology. We know our product is excellent — the reviews speak for themselves. Now, we just need to educate the average man and golfer about why UFMs are better than their current underwear option. The biggest long-term challenge is to constantly stay innovative and ahead of the competition. We are building a brand with longevity and direction, backed by the most innovative technology.