The Bestest Of Vancouver: Thuggies

by Carmen Cruz

What's a Thuggie?

Think of this: If a Snuggie and a hoodie made sweet, sweet love, you'd get a Thuggie.
If you're a hoodie junkie like me, this is by far the most awesome piece of comfort clothing you'll ever own.
Conceived, designed and made all right here in Vancouver.
I'm not sure if you know this, but Thuggies are kind of becoming a big deal.
I had a chance to catch up with Kim, one of the co-founders and the marketing & public relations goddess for Thuggies.

Thuggies - How did this all come about?

Thuggies officially became a company in January 2010, though our official business name is Why Not Apparel Inc.
The idea and name happened quite organically. I saw my friend Bryan wearing them at a charity lawn bowling tournament for cystic fibrosis, and knew they needed to be available to the world.
He sewed them himself, till we found a local seamstress in East Van who has sewed every single Original Thuggie and Thugglet (the kids version of the Thuggie).
I actually came up with the name one day when I was crossing the Burrard Street Bridge, and it hit me: the Thuggie.
It capitalized on what I saw as an absurd yet popular thing, while poking fun at the idea of a long hoodie somehow being gangster, or thug-like at all. An enormous, brightly colored, pants optional hoodie doesn’t exactly scream tough, it screams leisure and a comfortable sense of self.

How would you describe the average Thuggie wearer, or the 'Thuggie Style' as it were?

One of the things that continues to bring me delight and surprise is how varied our wearers are. The most typical consumers are young adult males who like skiing, snowboarding, and more recently, wake boarding. That said, we have entire multi generational families sending us pictures of them wearing their Thuggies, from Thugglet-aged tykes up to grandparents.
One of my favorite groups of Thuggie wearing super fans is a crew of grade 11 and 12 students from Ontario who started “Thuggie Thursdays”. They wear theirs every Thursday to school and then go straight to the slopes after.

I've been known to wear mine to the grocery store. Fail????!!!

We’re strong proponents of wearer’s discretion. Wherever you are comfortable being extremely comfortable is the right time to wear your Thuggie. In fact, we are currently designing wedding Thuggies for an entire wedding party, at their behest. So if they can wear theirs to a wedding, the grocery store is A okay.

Where have your Thuggies taken you so far?
We went viral last summer and ended up all over the internet in some major publications including the Huffington Post, Allnet, BuzzFeed, Some E Cards, and were featured on the front page of the Vancouver Sun’s Business Section. We were also on CBC's Dragons' Den, where we were given two offers, one by Jim Treliving and one by Arlene Dickinson.
Playboy Bunny Thuggie Action
 Web Pitch : Thuggies - Dragons' Den - CBC Television

We’ve also been on a myriad of radio stations across North America. No major celebrities have rocked our wares, at least not in public, but we’re working on it. A number of up and comers in the ski, snowboard and wake boarding communities have been wearing them, and we have a pretty huge name in skateboarding in the works, but we can’t release his name yet. You’ll be informed, though, I promise. Oh and we did a TV segment on Good Morning Sacramento. Come to think of it, we also sent a Thuggie to a Playboy bunny, at her request (after she discovered us on twitter). That was something.

Who is the one celebrity who NEEDS TO OWN A THUGGIE?!?!

Well, obviously Betty White is the first to come to mind. But she is probably out of our realm of   possibility. It would be nice to see Tina Fey in one, every time I watch the 30 Rock episode with her in a Slanket, I want to leap through the screen and give her a Thuggie. Or maybe she’s more of a Funzie...So, Tina Fey (unless you’re reading this, Betty). For a male, going to buck the trend and not say Justin Bieber. Tie between Trevor Linden and Ryan Gosling, for some Canadian representation.

What's the future of Thuggies?

We’ve just launched our one-pieced cotton romper, the Funzie. It has everything you’d ever want in a one-pieced romper, including a bum flap. I shudder to think the kind of fan photos we’ll get, as our fans are hugely into sending us pictures of them in their Thuggies. We’re going to branch out into more apparel, as well as different fabrics for our existing products. Our winter sports enthusiasts are keening for a more waterproof garment, and our water sports enthusiasts would like a towel version.

As far as Thuggies as a business, we’re expanding further into retail, though we will always maintain our online store. We’re in numerous stores across North America, Australia, and New Zealand, predominantly near mountains or bodies of water. With a two tier structure of online and retail, I’m pretty sure that we’ll be able to expand operations and creep closer to the inevitable, the building of the Thuggie Mansion. The only caveat is that pants must be checked at the door.

How much do they cost and where can people buy them? Any sales or specials coming up?

An Original Thuggie retails online at $85 CDN, our Zip Thuggies are $95 CDN and our Funzies are $105 CDN. Our Thugglets, for the smaller set (children aged 6 months to 7 years), are $45 CDN.

As it happens, our annual Black Friday sale is in full swing and runs till Monday, November 26th at 11.59pm PDT, with sales of up to 50% off.

Wanna help support this local company?
Right now the cool kids from Thuggies are in a competition for a free exhibitor booth at a massive snow sport trade show in Munich, in Feb 2013.

Thuggies is up for nomination as one of the ISPO BrandNew "Hottest Brands" for ISPO Europe in Munich Germany this year. There's a voting component that will influence judging for Thuggies to participate in this worldwide event.

Your vote can help this local company out - BIG TIME.
All you have to do is click the link below and "Like" the page. To find Thuggies, click top right on A-Z (they're on page 10), then all you have to do is "Like".