Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bill Barba, Founder and CEO of UnderGents, located in Scottsdale, AZ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We develop and market the most comfortable men’s underwear. We focus on comfort above all else and strive to deliver comfort without compression to men. Our customers are generally men (and the women they are in relationships with) that are 30-65. Our customers probably no longer a 29-inch waist and like to feel comfortable rather than being constricted (like wearing bike shorts). Our products are ultra-soft and are designed to skim versus squeeze and keep men cool and fresh underneath.

Tell us about yourself

I have been the CFO and COO of a few larger consumer products businesses in different categories. I had been through a few exits and liquidity events and really wanted to try and build something on my own and experience the zero-to-1 challenge, followed by growth and expansion. Personally, I had gone from being active in endurance sports/events to having young children and having much less time to keep active, and with kids, I was finishing their plates and gaining weight every year. Things started to be less comfortable, especially underneath, and I decided I could focus on every man that no longer had chiseled abs (well, maybe I never did) and was evolving into the "dad bod" and develop products that would keep that guy comfortable and feeling his best all day, every day. I am motivated each day to try something new and take some chances to grow the business and learn something I didn’t already know.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

This is a tough question to answer. As an entrepreneur, I tend to look forward to what we have not yet accomplished. We want to always be moving forward and gaining customers and share to accomplish bigger things in the future. It is hard to rest on something we have done afterward; it always seems a bit less than what is ahead of us.

But, to provide something, I would say it was getting our first products to market. In developing the UnderGents concept, there were a few false starts and prototypes that just didn’t feel as good as we wanted to launch. Once we had a product design and manufacturer that met our specs, we were excited to begin selling. No matter what we thought, it really all came down to the consumer that would wear our product, and seeing those early 5-star reviews had us feeling proud.

We love the idea that men are experiencing their best lives in UnderGents. It makes us smile when we think they find comfort in the first thing they put on, and perhaps the last thing they take off (if they take them off at night) is a product we deliver to them.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

There are many challenges that come with being a small business owner. The biggest challenges revolve around the same problems many entrepreneurs have, and that is dividing time between working in the business and working on the business. A lot of time can be used working on tasks and daily action items that keep everything moving and can feel like productivity. But, carving out time to stay focused on strategic items that can make much larger impacts and drive those items forward has a much bigger impact on our growth. Sometimes, these strategic items are evolving and take patience to fully tease out, and this can often feel like a delay, but once they are developed and implemented, it is exciting to see these items bear fruit and become more efficient.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. I usually tell people to just jump in. The timing can always be better, we all want more capital, and guarantees of success don’t exist. The longer you wait, the more reasons to say no you will find.
  2. I tell them that while I agree with the 1st point, don’t be naïve about what you are embarking on and that it will always take longer and cost
    more than you think.
  3. Take what other people say with a grain of salt. Everybody has different opinions, but not everybody will take the risk that entrepreneurs will, and it takes guts to put yourself out there, and you are a winner for even trying, and when you find yourself being wrong, it is ok. Just shift and learn from it.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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