Exercise is about to get a whole lot easier -- and safer -- thanks to a brilliantly simple idea inspired by US talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres.
Sydney personal trainer Matt Chapman created an innovative range of compression underwear calledPocJox that allows the wearer to train hands-free while still being able to carry a smartphone, credit card and key.
Witchcraft? No, it’s just a simple but brilliant concept of incorporating a pocket into the underwear.
But this isn’t any old pocket.
Your smartphone sits in a fitted, sweat-resistant, multi-layered pocket that protects it from moisture, but is within easy reach if it is needed for an important call or emergency.
And the PocJox concept is something fitness fans have obviously been waiting for.
The men’s range -- briefs, shorts, tights and half-shorts -- have already generated more than $50,000 in sales since launching in November with this figure expected to reach $210,000 by July.
“A lot of people say ‘why didn’t I think of that!?’ -- it’s definitely one of those ideas,” Chapman told The Huffington Post Australia.
“I came up with it through my own experience training in the gym. I’ve wrecked two phones by sticking them down the side of my pants so the sweat ruined them.
“It also came from my observations as a personal trainer, seeing so many people with phones falling out of their pockets, or people running holding their phone.”
The overwhelming number of orders since launching has inspired him to bring forward plans for a women’s range of PocJox, too.
“I’m developing that range at the moment and it’s due to launch at the end of April,” he said.
“We always planned to do women’s but brought it forward because there's been so many women demanding them!”
PocJox Women will include full-length tights, half-shorts and a crop top, which Chapman reckons will be the “hero” product of the women’s range.
In line with the men's range, you select the PocJox underwear that best suits your needs, couple it with your favourite workout outerwear and enjoy a stress-free training session.
The 29-year-old said he was also inspired by Ellen DeGeneres’ range of underwear to create his own line after winning a trip to LA to model on her show.
“That's what originally inspired me to do something myself -- I won a competition to go and model for her on her show in LA,” he said.
“That started it. It was about 6 months later I came up with my idea incorporating the sweat-resistant pocket, and wanted to push forward and give it a go.”
Chapman was so committed to the project that he sold his house to finance it.
“I sold a house of mine that I’d built when I was 18 to fund it,” he said.
“To date, I’m using that money which is putting everything on the line but I’m confident it will work.
“ANZ have been great too -- I was lucky to find those guys and I feel like they're with me long-term as I grow the business.”
Chapman said it took him about four months of designing and fine-tuning the concept before he started looking for a designer to make some prototypes.
“I basically sat down with a pad and pen and did multiple sketches until I was happy enough to take it and find a local pattern maker in Sydney who helped me rework my design and started the sample process,” he said.
“From pad and pen to first sample was about four months -- I started in Sydney with a local manufacturer for the original samples, it took me about 15 rounds of samples before I was happy with it.”
He said the PocJox range is constructed from a quality, breathable Italian compression fabric. All seams are flat-lock finished to provide strength, durability and comfortable wear.
“There’s three-layers of fabric and the inside layer has a water-resistant membrane that’s bonded to the fabric -- we did multiple rounds of samples until we got it spot on.”
He also had numerous test-runners, one of whom was actor Dan McPherson.
“He’s a good mate of mine and been a really big advocate of the brand,” Chapman said.
“He’s helped with the trialing and giving me feedback which was very handy.”
Chapman said McPherson was such a fan of the brand that he’d be wearing PocJox when he competed in next month’s LA Marathon.
Chapman said that social media also played a big part in getting the PocJox name out there, and talks with retail outlets would soon take place.
“Social media was a big one for us -- and we’ve got a great PR company too,” he said.
“I haven’t done any marketing overseas yet and we’ve already sold to 10 countries, and that’s just through the website.
“I do want some retailers, but I don’t want to rush it -- I want to wait and let the product grow and the brand grow organically for now.”
PocJox is also flying the flag for equality with the release of rainbow jox in time for Mardi Gras. The half-shorts are available from February 5 but can be pre-ordered on the site now.
Chapman will donate $5 from the sale of each pair to Australian Marriage Equality.
“My brother is gay and I’m a personal trainer, so 80 percent of my clients are gay men,” he said.
“I have a lot of gay friends -- so equality is something I’m passionate about, and that was basically the driving force behind releasing the rainbow shorts.
“I want to see a change.”
And to thank Ellen for her inspiration, Chapman plans to send her a pair of PocJox.
“I’ll definitely send her a pair, although she does have her own range of underwear,” he said.
“I made friends with the guys on the show and I’ve been in touch, so we’ll see.
“Hopefully she would put them on her show one day -- it would be the ultimate goal of mine, to go and model them on her show. Fingers crossed.”