"Excuse me!? Was that you?!" Not anymore! Eight years on from their introduction, Shreddies flatulence filtering underwear is cutting odour off at the source as strong as ever. We grabbed a few words with Shreddies representative Rebecca Jones.
Who are the brains behind Shreddies? And when was the idea to bring odourless pants to the masses conceived?
Shreddies were invented by our MD after he decided he wanted to tackle a problem that so many people face everyday. He spoke to his friend who was a fashion designer and asked if there was a fabric that would be able to block flatulence odours and he suggested carbon. They made a quick sample and they worked, not perfectly at first but they were effective. After 200 prototypes and rigorous testing at De Montford University, Shreddies was born in 2008.
What and who is the brand looking to target as an audience/customer?
We don't really have a target market, our products are bought from anyone in their teens up to their 90's+, we even offer a bespoke range for small children where we will sew a carbon panel into underwear they provide us with. I think most people assume that our products are mostly purchased by Men but our sales are usually around 52% female, 48% male.
Can you explain a little on the science that goes into creating an odourless brief? How do they function? Were there any disasters in the prototypes? You must have a large stash of emergency air freshener, no?
All of our underwear contains an activated carbon panel, which absorbs and neutralises all flatulence odours and can even be found in chemical warfare suits. A lot of people think that all of the odours get trapped within the underwear and when you remove them all the odour comes out - we can guarantee this is not the case and all gas is removed from the underwear, it's just the smell that disappears! Our underwear was scientifically tested at De Montford University by their gas Chromatography machine and was proven to filter up to 200x the average flatulence emission! Unfortunately, although people like to believe we had a group of 'product testers' this is actually done in a very scientific way - sorry!
With body confidence being shoved in our face daily through the media and advertising, TV shows probing into embarrassing illnesses, how does the brand approach these sensitive issues, when promoting the products?
We understand a lot of people find our product funny and we are the busiest at Christmas due to people thinking Shreddies are the perfect gift therefore we do offer a few 'jokey' gift boxes for these purposes. However we also offer a more medical based gift box and we are very strict about keeping our website as medically correct as possible. When discussing advertising with potential magazines and websites, we always ensure that any interviews we give are not for a joke purpose and if there is a humorous side to it that people do understand that the products were created to help people with medical conditions.
How do you go about the maintaining the quality control of the products? Do you have a 'regular' panel of testers? (No pun intended!) Or is it more scientific than that?
Our products are regularly tested by our MD, especially when we are developing new products but unfortunately we don't have a panel of testers!
Comfort and fit in regular underwear is high up there as a selling point, alongside the quality of material. How would you describe the feel of the Shreddies pants, does the design accommodate all body shapes and sizes, what fabrics are used?
Shreddies are very comfortable, you may feel the carbon panel at first but after a few minutes they just feel like regular underwear. Our underwear is suitable for most body shapes and for those who the underwear isn't suitable for we offer our bespoke service, so there is always something we can do to help! Shreddies underwear are made from a mix of cotton and elastane as it's important that the underwear is fitted for them to be effective.
The price for a single pair is at the higher end of the market; this may deter someone on a lower budget. What are the main reasons for the chosen price band? Are you looking to introduce a lower priced range version?
The only reason that our underwear is in the higher end of the market is because the carbon that we use is so expensive and therefore the retail price of our underwear reflects the technology used. We have adjusted the design many times to get the underwear to be as effective as it possibly can be, without increasing the price so the only way we could reduce the cost would be to cut the carbon down and risk an ineffective product.
You also produce a pyjama trouser, for both men and women, do these function in the same way as the pants?
The Shreddies Pyjamas include a whole carbon short (instead of a panel) that ends just before the knee, offering full flatulence protection and nowhere for the gas to escape! We have recommended sitting and standing positions for the underwear but these are not needed for the PJ's and Jeans.
As a design based project we were immediately drawn to the typography of your logo and the contemporary feel and layout on your website. Are Shreddies all about art & design? Would you ever consider collaborating with artists to bring a new range of colourful limited edition designed pants?
We are not all about art and design however we have a very talented squad of graphic designers who do all of our website design and create all our adverts. We would consider working with artists/brands/charities to bring in a new colourful range. We have done this before with OddBalls.
A brand dealing with helping people with their flatulence and odour, you guys must have fun with tag lines and puns when promoting the brand? But on a serious note, helping people must outweigh the humorous side of the coin?
Our tagline is 'Fart with confidence!' but yes, the product has been designed for people who have genuine issues with flatulence. We receive so many emails from people thanking us for 'changing their lives' which is really heart warming to hear.
Do any of your team suffer with IBD? Do you have a regular clientele/customer base connected to IBD related illnesses?
Yes, a couple of our team do suffer from stomach related illnesses. Most of our customers suffer from IBD or other related illnesses.
You designed some pants for former footballer and pundit Gary Linekar. Can you tell us more about that and what was it in aid of?
It was just a bit of fun, it was a suggestion put to us by a local paper. But it did fuel another campaign from a local hospice LOROS, who asked us to design them some underwear for their own fundraising campaign.
Are your pants available solely via your website? Or do you have retailers stocking them in the high street?
All of Shreddies garments can be bought through our website but unfortunately not on the high street yet, (but coming soon...)
Thanks for answering our questions, what new products can we expect in the future from Shreddies?
We are currently designing a carbon under-short that will be made fully of carbon fabric. This will allow the user the freedom to wear their own underwear and their own outer clothing (eg. skirts, trousers etc.) whilst still being protected.