BY ADAM KENT-ISAAC
Two years ago, Bloomington High School North freshman Korbin Clark was playing basketball at the YMCA with a friend, who had left his wallet and cellphone in an unlocked locker. When they returned to the locker room after their game, both wallet and phone were missing.
Clark wondered—half seriously—if boxer shorts with a pocket might have provided better safekeeping. Most people probably wouldn’t have given it another thought, and neither did he, until a few days later, when the wheels in his brain began spinning. “I came back to the idea and realized it might not be too farfetched,” he says. And thus were born StashSpot Boxers—featuring a 5-by-6-inch zippered pocket.
The ambitious youth set about creating a prototype for his invention, which he describes as “really rough, not good at all.” But after experimenting with different patterns and practicing his sewing, he was able to refine the design. For the next two years, Clark, now a junior, also refined his business plan, taking high school classes in management and entrepreneurship.
He found a means of mass production by “calling every single factory that made boxers until I found one that could do the alteration,” he says. He eventually contracted with Bloomington manufacturer Image Boxers. (Yes, there is an underwear manufacturer right here in Bloomington!) Clark also handmade a limited “Spring Break” series of satin boxers himself. Image Boxers is now producing the shorts, which are made of 4-ounce cotton flannel in sizes small to extra large. Suitable for both genders, they sell for $10 to $20.
Clark says he’s taken maximum advantage of social media such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. One hundred pairs have sold since he first began selling them in November. “I’ve been studying a lot of guerrilla marketing,” says Clark, who turns himself into “a walking billboard” by wearing T-shirts advertising his product.
Though boxer shorts with a zippered pocket may seem like a novelty, Clark emphasizes that StashSpot was created to address a serious problem: the loss of valuables by accident or larceny. Not just for athletes whose body motion could shake loose keys or phones, he says, the pocket is an ideal place for travelers to keep their passports.