By Jane Bartnett
In this land of endless summer, one thing that no man can have enough of is a pair of comfortable, great looking swim trunks. When they double as shorts, all the better. That’s where Trunkers, the new Sarasota-based men’s swimwear line comes in.
Made of soft-to-the-touch, fast-drying, non-chafing, easy-to-wear polyester fabric, with a mid-calf length, the line offers 25 different patterns for guys everywhere. “These are the most comfortable swim trunks I’ve ever worn,” said John Hendershott, surfboard table designer and co-owner of the new Coastal Flow shop that features Trunkers along with the work of local Sarasota artists. The soft, mesh lining and elastic waistband are a welcome reprieve from traditional men’s trunks that many men find extremely uncomfortable. “I wear them as shorts” says Brad Singiser, a loyal Trunkers wearer and investor in the company. “They’re unbelievably easy to wear all the time. They look good walking around Siesta Key or anywhere in Sarasota.” With five pockets, two of the outer pockets have a Velcro close. A secret inner pocket is large enough to hold a credit card, or ID. “Trunkers are designed to take a guy from the beach to the tiki bar,” said founder and designer Candace Brown. Speaking of her the two-year old Sarasota based company, Brown told the Siesta Sand that “what makes Trunkers stand out from the rest of crowd is that they are a useful, practical design in patterns and colors that men really like.”
An Oklahoma native, Brown began visiting Sarasota 7 1/2 years ago. Drawn to the beauty of Siesta Key, she decided to make the area her home. A successful, long-time entrepreneur with a strong business track record, Brown was only 24 years old when she launched her first business in Oklahoma City with a high school friend. The two created and published “The Jobs Paper,” a popular free weekly newspaper that that can be found at regional 7-11 stores and promotes itself as “your source for education, employment and more” in Oklahoma City and the surrounding communities. Today, Brown and her mother, who is based in Oklahoma, work together to publish the paper.
As the newspaper flourished, Brown decided to look for a new business model that she could launch in Sarasota. Frequent trips to the beach gave her an idea. Men’s swim wear, she discovered, was an underserved market with great potential. Unlike the crowded and highly competitive field of women’s swimsuits, Brown’s research showed that men’s choices in swim wear were limited. In January 2018, with six designs, she launched the Trunkers line. Today, only two years after it began, the company’s designs range from a conservative herringbone grey and black, to bright color combinations and designs.
As Brown developed the model for her new business, she found a way to integrate her love for animals and the natural world with her new retail line. After learning about a protected forest in Thailand where elephants are allowed to live freely in the wild on some 600 acres, Brown decided to pay tribute to the majestic and endangered animals by naming her company after them. The Trunkers logo pays homage to the endangered Thai elephants.
To show her support for the work done to help the giant creatures at the Boon Lot’s Animal Sanctuary in Thailand, Brown donates 5% of all Trunkers sales to the elephant sanctuary. It is a
place that Trip Advisor calls a “small, family run home for elephants and all other animals in need that focuses on saving land from deforestation and helping elephants recover from their traumatic pasts.”
The colorful Trunkers swim shorts are selling well. For the past two years, Brown has focused her sales efforts on-line, through the company’s website, as well as Facebook and Instagram. Coastal arts & crafts fairs in Sarasota and around Florida have also provided Brown with a welcome marketplace.
In designing the line, Brown first conceptualizes the designs and then works with graphic artists to make her vision come to life. “Our swim wear is designed to appeal to a wide range of tastes and for men of different ages,” she said. Each design has its own name. The line’s best-selling designs, according to Brown are “Road Trip” and “Patriot.” The colorful, vintage inspired Road Trip design, in shades of navy and orange is billed as “classic cars and nostalgic road signs come together.” The Patriot design is “beachy red, white and blue design mixes, bold stars with waves of sea life.” All sell for $59.50 and ship free in the U.S.
Women, Brown says with a smile, have also discovered Trunkers. She reports that the “Island Time” design with its pink background, dark pink flamingoes, turquoise dolphins, blue tiki huts, pineapples and hibiscus flowers, has become a favorite of women who discover the brand while shopping for a gift for the man in their lives. “They’re really comfortable and look great on ladies too,” she noted. The Trunkers website showcases the young Sarasota company’s full line at: www.trunkers.com.