SFU alumnus raises over $25,000 for sweatpants line

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For SFU economics graduate Winson Tam, nothing is better than wearing sweatpants every month of the year. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t exactly allow for that, which is why Tam decided to create a product he could wear all year long.

“I was walking around earlier this year in sweatpants on a hot day [. . . and] I was literally drenched in sweat, looking to buy an alternative. [That’s] when I realized nobody really offered what I want — a pair of sweats that look good, and would keep me feeling fresh,” Tam said in an email interview with The Peak.

He took his idea to Kickstarter, a website that enables fundraising for different start-ups and charities. Tam had a few friends that had fundraised on the site before and thought it would be able to help him get his business started. If the plan failed, Tam explained that he’d only lose money on prototyping and video costs, so the cost of evaluating market demand was very little.

As it turns out, his product was what the market wanted. In weeks, Tam has raised over $25,000 for his all-season sweatpants line, which he described as “a really stylish, functional pair of sweatpants made with premium material.”

The design is inspired by jogger-style sweats as well as high-end fashion sweatpants.

“I created the design with the help of my manufacturer,” he explained. “The drop-crotch style is what seems to be the new trend, and we’re trying to capitalize on it.”

Despite the overnight success of his Kickstarter campaign, Tam’s journey is a classic case of if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

“Before this I’ve failed at seven businesses, from selling USB lighters to drop shipping baby strollers,” Tam said. “[These were] all lean start-ups which have broke even or made very little money. It’s been a great learning experience to get me where I am now. I’ve learned to give the market what they want, and quickly step away to take another swing instead of lingering on bad ideas.”

Tam plans to make his sweatpants available in February of next year, and will sell them for $78 a pair.

With regards to his future plans, Tam is excited to continue his foray into the world of sweatpants: “My plan is to take every dollar from the campaign and invest it back into this business, [and] to bring my supporters what they want and give them a great experience with All Season Sweats. I want to be the king of sweatpants!”