Video Audio

Male-torso mannequins display a selection of patterned boxer shorts and briefs. All bear the label name KNOBBY on wide elastic waistbands. A sign reads 'Funk up your junk'. A large painted mural depicts a blonde woman in a bikini top and sailor hat. She carries a flag which reads 'KNBY'.  

Text: Small Business Story. KNOBBY. Rob Rand, Founder of KNOBBY.

ROB RAND: It really does give them this hidden confidence in their pants to feel really special about themselves. My name's Rob Rand and I'm the founder and managing director of KNOBBY Underwear. KNOBBY is a subscription underwear club. My wife and I, we first started in 2014. We're a fun, light-hearted, colloquial Aussie brand.  

In a warehouse with soaring ceilings, employees place products in small fabric bags. A stack of thin black cardboard KNOBBY boxes sit on a table.  

A smiling brunette woman holds a pair of yellow, red and green boxer shorts. Pictured on the crotch is a winking koala. Corks dangle from its hat. Australia Post bins are stacked nearby. Male employees hold up roomy boxer shorts that feature animal and floral prints. One man displays a bag printed with the words 'The best bag since goon. KNOBBY.'  

ROB RAND: We ship a new unseen design to members all over the world every month.
Rob approaches a blond man who's working with an iPad and Apple Pencil. A snarling, green-eyed tiger glares from the iPad screen.  
ROB RAND: This is our genius illustrator and designer Phil here. This one he's working on now, which is a bit of a sneak peek. PHIL: Big inspiration on the tiger - nothing more powerful than a tiger, so... That's the original design on the screen. That's how it comes out on the KNOBBY.  

As Phil shows the iPad screen, Rob holds up a pair of boxers that is printed with the snarling tiger design. Rob sits in a studio, the mural on a wall behind him.  

Graphics showing social media comments and images of people wearing KNOBBY garments appear beside him.

ROB RAND: So the brand is quite unique because it's created a culture about guys no longer... hidden with their underwear. So they now are quite open about their underwear. They'll take photos of their underwear. They'll talk to others about what designs they're wearing. We use social media more to, you know, engage with our customers, we listen to our customers for feedback. It's allowed us to create new products, new styles.
A male employee wears a black T-shirt printed with a KNOBBY logo. He reads from a laptop on his desk.  

MAN: A couple of the feedback and reviews we get coming in... I think my favourite one is just that it's so short and sweet - "You're less of a company and more of a mate." "Massive complaint about KNOBBY - they're so perfect, how am I ever meant to go back to wearing anything else?"  

ROB RAND: We never in the slightest set out to create a women's range when we first started the brand.

A slim woman with curly hair sits at a table. Behind her, mannequins wear men's and women's KNOBBY garments.  

Text: Ash Rand, Director of KNOBBY.

ASH RAND: We were getting emails all the time from women saying, "Why can't I get mine? I see my husband get his surprise in the mail. Where's mine?" So in the end, we were like, "Hm, why not? Let's do it."
Smiling employees hold up racer-back women's tops printed with fruit designs.  

ASH RAND: We have two sides to the business. There's the subscription side and then there's also the online store. The online store has some previous months' designs in there, but it also is an avenue for us to do some special edition releases.  

ROB RAND: We see KNOBBY as very much a tech company. We struggled to just be able to purchase an off-the-shelf shopping cart system. You know, we were so much more than that. We were based on a subscription model. That entailed us having to create our own software applications behind the scenes. It allowed us to really integrate in with Australia Post's system. In all, it just creates a really seamless integration.  

Employees neatly package underwear into fabric sleeves, then into thin cardboard boxes. The boxes are placed in Australia Post bins.  

A computer monitor displays a map of Australia and New Zealand. Coloured icons are dotted over numerous cities and towns.

ROB RAND: This is a part of our back-end software called Backbone You know, we've built in some real-time mapping technology. It allows, you know, everybody in here to really stay aware of where every single pair that's been packed and where it's been sent to. We reach some crazy corners of the country. I still scratch my head as to how Australia Post manages to get to some of these places.  

ASH RAND: A big focus of what we do is... We call it the KNOBBY experience. So everything has been meticulously designed and crafted, from the package that arrives, the way it's opened, the messaging that is written on the box as you open it until you finally open up your underwear, which is a surprise design. People love that.  

ROB RAND: Australia Post has been with us since the very first pair was sent. We're now really fortunate to have a really nice local support network with Australia Post. It allows us to ship our product to so many places in the world, dependent on the... whether it's the customer's budget, how much they want to spend, how quickly they need it.  

An Australia Post driver closes the back of a red company van. He sounds the horn twice and drives away.  

Rob unloads a pair of beagles from the back of his four-wheel drive. He and Ash lead two young children and the beagles along a beach.

ASH RAND: We approach our work life with more of a work-life integration approach. It's so handy having us both work together because we can go to the beach with the dogs and the kids and be working. We might go from talking about what we're having for dinner to talking about the marketing strategy to talking about the kids at kindy.
At the warehouse, employees play table tennis. Later, they chat around a long cafe table. Rob holds up a pair of white shorts printed with blue insects.
ROB RAND: We have a small team. Our team is very much what creates KNOBBY. We're always really looking for somebody who fits the brand, the culture and just, you know, the personality as well. So the cool thing about having really awesome people is you can just let them go and do their job and you just have so much trust and you know it's going to be awesome.
The red-and-white Australia Post logo appears on a white background. Text: auspost.com.au/smallbusiness
 

The underwear subscription company that stays true to its cheeky Aussie roots

Rob Rand has never been a fan of boring undies. Or shopping, for that matter. So when it came time to shop for briefs, he found himself in a world of consumer pain.

So he did something about it.

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