Do you know Chubbies?


Chubbies shortsIf you’re 30 and under, you probably know what Chubbies are. I heard about these shorts from my step-son because he’s in that age range and I unfortunately, am not. I do have to say, when he mentioned this brand, I said excuse me, what did you say?

I met up with Kyle Hency, one of the four founders, at the flagship Chubbies retail store, located in San Francisco. The kitschy store has the decor of a retro backyard barbecue- meets frat house- at the beach. You can have a beer while you shop the fancy schmancy prints, play a video game or have a seat on the classic webbed aluminum folding lawn chairs on the porch. The store manager mentioned to me that vacationing customers run in and tell her that they couldn’t wait to come to the Chubbies store!  

chubbies shorts
I was madly in love with Magnum PI in 8th grade, I loved his short shorts

What you notice about Kyle is that he loves his job. When we walked into the store he said, let’s have a beer! He is the laid back, short wearing, Friday afternoon off to go beer drinking, California guy. The motto that the store is modeled after, is not made up, it’s a lifestyle that he lives. Maybe that’s the secret to their success, they really practice what they preach. 

So anyway what’s the deal with Chubbies shorts? The entire idea started with a passion to end the reign of the ever popular men’s long cargo short. Chubbies shorts are on the shorter side (5 1/2″ inseam) hence their motto, “Sky’s out. Thighs out”. The shorts are crazy prints and bright colors, even printed with Mt Rushmore across the front, appropriately called “the Mount Crushmores”. Some of the shirts are so far out they’re cute, like the towel lined cabana shirts to match the swim trunks, the styles and the prints are the opposite of serious, actually everything about this brand is the opposite of serious!

short shorts

Check out the website for the witty names of the shorts, such as the “rage against the inseams” and “the capture the flags”.  If you follow Chubbies on Snapchat you can see that the antics continue behind the scenes too. These 4 college friends still act like college kids even though they are obviously serious about their business, which is growing by leaps and bounds. 

The original plan was men’s shorts, online, only. As the brand is escalating, the retail store opened and more lifestyle items have been added such as socks, shirts, golf shirts and baseball hats embroidered with their famous flag shorts logo. The flag short is their number one best seller of all time, making the 4th of July their “Christmas season” for sales. 

About a year and a half ago, ladies shorts joined the roster. This was an interesting addition for the male owned company. They contemplated using a different name for this division but decided that the name needed to stay the same across the board. The ladies shorts have been wildly popular as well, so now they are thinking about what the next women’s additions should be. (I put my vote in for a poncho!)

chubbies california
Kyle pointing out the liner in these ladies shorts
shop chubbier
You’re looking at my 4th of July uniform

chubbies store

Me: Where did the name come from?

Kyle: We were all together on a bus to Napa ripping off ideas and this one stuck. You hear it, you question it and then you don’t forget it. It provides the levity to the brand which is fraternity, Americana, fashion-non-fashion.

Me: Kyle, do you shop anywhere else?  

Kyle: I primarily only wear head to toe Chubbies. As the founder of a startup you need to show up in your brand or people look at you like you don’t care.  I care a lot! It’s an honor to rock this stuff. So yes, he’s dressed in Chubbies, unless he has on jeans or pants “Chubbies will never make those!”

Me: Is your closet organized?

Kyle:  My closet?? Oh my closet is a disaster. It’s a tiny San Francisco closet but it is packed with Chubbies gear. Organized is the last word I would use to describe it. 

Me: What did your family think about you going into the shorts business?

Kyle: I was in private equity so my Dad was like, what? That’s the worst decision you’ve ever made. But my parents totally trusted me all along. I’m from St Louis, my parent’s always trusted my decisions. My girlfriend, now my wife, was totally supportive too. We started this in my apartment, I had 5 guys packing boxes in my living room.

Me: What does the future look like for Chubbies?

Kyle: An entire lifestyle brand, not only what you’re wearing for the weekend, but what your kids are wearing and maybe even where you’re eating.

Thanks for your time Kyle! Chubbies are rad dude 😉

chubbies shorts store
The bags are actually insulated cooler bags!




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