Hey guys! Welcome back to Products Worth Talking About — the show about disruptive physical products and the people who built them. Today, we’re going to take a close look at some of our favorite men’s T-shirts and what sets them apart from other brands.
In this episode, we’re looking at three brands — Lululemon, BYLT Basics, and Cuts Clothing. We start with a product review and give our personal opinions about the quality of each product and what we like and don’t like about each T-shirt. Next, we dive into their company backgrounds and discuss how they started and launched their businesses. Then, we transition into a discussion about business strategies and marketing methods — something that we entrepreneurs love to talk about. Finally, we end with a final scorecard, showing which company takes the crown for the best men’s T-shirts out there.
This is truly a David and Goliath episode. Lululemon is one of the top brands in activewear for both men and women, while BYLT Basics and Cuts Clothing are lesser-known companies. Does that mean that Lululemon is objectively better? Will Goliath triumph in this episode, or will the two Davids rise up to the challenge?
You’ll have to keep reading to find out.
Let’s start with the behemoth — Lululemon.
Instead of showing you a freshly bought Lululemon shirt, we decided to be a little more authentic and show you one that has been washed 100+ times. The 5 Year Basic V is one of our favorite products from Lululemon — it’s lightweight, comfortable, and it holds up reasonably well, even with weekly use.
One drawback is that it does shrink a little bit over time, and the fabric is a little thin. However, the softness of the tee really makes up for it. Sometimes, RT doesn’t even wear it during workouts because he’s afraid he’ll somehow mess up the softness.
If you’ve shopped from Lululemon before, you know that their products aren’t cheap. Their T-shirts average around $50 each, and some pieces of clothing are even more expensive — up to $200. The 5 Year Basic V is $48 and comes in nine different colors on their website. These T-shirts are made from 70% Pima cotton, 24% Lyocell, and 6% Lycra® elastane.
Lycra® elastane is a super stretchy material that makes the shirt great for athletic wear, and Pima cotton gives it that amazing softness. The shirt also doesn’t contain tags, which is an added comfort measure. Overall, 5 Year Basic V shirts are made of great materials; however, they are expensive and sometimes shrink and thin over time.
In 1998, Lululemon was founded in Vancouver, BC, by Chip Wilson, a Canadian businessman and billionaire. They currently have about 14,000 employees on LinkedIn, and that number is steadily growing. When COVID-19 hit, their current CEO Calvin McDonald shared that they had one billion dollars in the bank prior to the crisis, and they’ve even opened more stores during the pandemic. Needless to say, Lululemon is doing just fine.
Lululemon is a publicly-traded company, meaning that shareholders have a partial claim to their profits. They went public in 2007, raising about $327 million in that year alone. Their market cap is currently $45 billion, and their current stock price is roughly $350 per share.
While they’ve become such a huge, innovative company, Lululemon’s mission statement is still grounded in the quality of human experience — “to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness.”
While BYLT Basics is a smaller company than Lululemon, they offer a variety of men’s -T-shirts in different styles. In the video, you can see that Tyler is wearing a drop-cut BYLT Basics T-shirt, which he prefers over Lululemon. The Drop-Cut T-shirt is made for men with a taller, built body type. Compared to Lululemon’s 5 Year Basic V, this BYLT Basics shirt is thicker, containing more fabric on the front and back of the shirt. The shirt is also not as form-fitting so that you have plenty of room to move.
If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, you can try their LUX Drop-Cut T-shirt which is made from high-cotton blend fabric. However, Tyler said that he prefers the original Drop-Cut T-shirt over the LUX version. Once you wash the LUX tee, the fabric tends to stiffen, while the traditional Drop-Cut tee has more flexibility.
If you want a more stylish look, BYLT Basics also has a Henley Drop-Cut tee, with three buttons at the collar, that’s available in both short and long-sleeve.
These BYLT Basics shirts aren’t as soft as Lululemon’s, but they tend not to shrink as much overall.
Available in 13 colors, the original BYLT Basics Drop-Cut T-shirt is now just $28.99 on their website! The LUX version is also $28.99 and has six additional color choices. Compared to Lululemon, BYLT Basics is much more affordable and still provides great quality T-shirts. If you decide you want to buy one, use this link to receive 10% off your first order!
Founded in 2016 by Eric Mear in Costa Mesa, California, BYLT Basics is a young company. However, they are absolutely killing it, which is incredible since they’re so new! On LinkedIn, they have 18 listed employees. We couldn’t find too much funding information on BYLT Basics on Crunchbase, but we estimate that they must have had funding through private angel investors.
While they don’t have a mission statement directly present on their website, their mantra is, “BYLT for everyday” — indicating that their clothing is both durable and comfortable for casual and active use.
In our video, you can see RT sporting a long-sleeve Cuts Clothing tee. Similar to BYLT Basics’ Henley Classic tee, this Cut’s Henley Classic Tee has three buttons at the top near the neck, providing a stylish and comfortable look. While you probably don’t want to wear this shirt working out, it’s great to wear to casual events or lounging around the house.
Made from 33% cotton, 62% polyester, and 5% spandex, these shirts have been pre-shrunk and are also extremely soft, coming in three standard colors (black, grey, white) and three seasonal colors.
The Long-Sleeve Split-Hem and Curve-Hem tees are $68 on their website, while the Short-Sleeve Split-Hem and Curve-Hem tees are $58. While these specific shirts are more expensive than Lululemon’s 5 Year Basic V, they are thicker and offer a more stylish option. You can sign up for emails to receive a 15% discount for your first Cuts Clothing order; however, they don’t seem to have many sales going on currently.
BUT if you use this link to purchase your Cuts Clothing, you’ll receive $20 off your first order. Pretty sweet, right?
Cut Clothing’s company background is ridiculously similar to BYLT Basics. Founded in 2016 by Steven Borrelli in Culver City, California, Cuts Clothing is also a young company that’s doing remarkably well. We couldn’t find any funding information about Cuts, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have funding through investors. On LinkedIn, they have 27 listed employees.
One interesting fact about Cuts is that they engineered their own custom PYCA™️ fabric to make their clothes soft, flexible, and durable. They’re definitely living up to their company mission: “We believe that everyday style should have extraordinary quality.”
Now, let’s look at their social media scorecards — we run through Instagram, Facebook, and so forth to check out their social media presence and advertising. Tons of people base their buying/investing decisions on what’s on a brand’s Instagram page — that’s why RT spends so much time on Vortic Watches’ Instagram and Tyler spends time curating Rebl Jane’s Instagram. Social media is usually most people’s first impression of the company. Let’s begin!
After taking all of these statistics and our subjective opinions into account, we give our final score — the Beer Score (AKA which founder we want to find and have a beer with).
We both gave Cuts Clothing the higher score on this one, but it was very close between all three. For all these brands, you basically get your T-shirt in a bag; however, Cuts Clothing’s packaging is a little cleaner. Also, Cuts Clothing offers a more durable T-shirt than Lululemon or BYLT Basics, and they are very shrink-resistant.
We already touched on this above, but here are our final scores for this category. Tyler gave a 9/10 to Lululemon (we couldn’t really find anything wrong with their strategy), while RT gave Cuts Clothing a 9/10 because of their use of humor.
Lululemon won this round — being such a large and prominent company, they have their own boutiques which allow for a more instant shopping experience and more sales. BYLT Basics and Cuts Clothing aren’t doing a bad job; however, we both agree that they need to offer free shipping 24/7 in order to make more consistent sales online.
Lastly, we scored each brand based on their disruptive appeal — how they stand out from other brands and catch our attention. Here’s the thing — Lululemon was the company that really gave this industry a boost. For that reason, we both gave Lululemon a higher score, but we both agree that BYLT Basics and Cuts Clothing are disruptive as well. (They’re doing their best to disrupt Lululemon from its throne.)
Cuts Clothing made the cut for this episode of Products Worth Talking About! It was very close, Lululemon and BYLT Basics were not too far behind. For the first time EVER, Lululemon didn’t come out on top. Oh well … when life gives you Lululemons!
Okay, we’ll stop with the dad jokes now. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Products Worth Talking About, and be sure to watch the video here to learn more about these incredible disruptive brands.
Make sure that you support these companies — especially the smaller ones like Cuts Clothing and BYLT Basics. They need your help to grow as e-commerce businesses, and they’re making fantastic products that you’re sure to enjoy.
On Products Worth Talking About, our mission is to not only give you reliable information on disruptive products but also give you valuable insight into what makes great businesses successful. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to build a product-based business, check out our business plan that literally writes itself! Within no time, you’ll be ready to pitch to investors and start the company of your dreams.
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Thanks for reading! Until next time—
RT & Tyler