Economy & Politics

How Mey Bodywear developed underwear

2015: The “undershirt” comes on the market – and becomes a sales driverPR

Matthias Mey got the idea for the world first while grilling. The managing partner of Mey Bodywear was sitting in the garden with a friend of his McKinsey consultant, at some point the conversation turned to T-shirts. Mey’s friend wanted to know whether it would not be possible to develop a shirt that could not be seen even when the business shirt was open. In 2015, the Swabian lingerie specialist developed a new product from the idea: the “undershirt”, a functional shirt made of breathable fabric and with an extra-deep V-neck.

The “undershirt” was a “breakthrough” for the company, says Mey. The family company, which became known for women’s underwear, still makes the majority of its turnover of 103 million euros in the women’s sector. But the proportion of men’s underwear is already around 30 percent. Mey redeems a tenth of this just with the “undershirt”.

The episode from our brand moment series was published in 07/2020

The idea of ​​the barbecue evening paid off not only financially for the company. When Matthias Mey, who had been responsible for the men’s fashion brand Windsor for years, took over from his family’s company in 2014, the white underwear from Mey was considered high-quality – but also quite plain. Back then, the brand lacked “emotionality and sexiness”, says Mey today. “However, it was clear to me that the brand had much greater potential.”

Mey started his refresher course for the traditional brand in the women’s area with a new, particularly light bra – accompanied by a campaign with which he increasingly positioned the brand as a lingerie label. To date, the ultra-light bra is one of the sales drivers, says the company boss. After a ten percent share of sales in 2014, lingerie should already make up half of the revenue this year according to the original planning before the Corona crisis.

“We were able to demonstrate our flexibility to customers and show that we also manufacture our textiles in Germany”

Matthias Mey

In other areas, Mey also expanded the range: for example with a modern nightwear line and a luxury sublabel for men’s underwear, with which the brand is now also present in fine boutiques. “I wanted to get out of the classic laundry area,” says the company boss. Mey is also planning new products for nightwear.

But finally, the pandemic also mixed up his family’s company plans. In the spring, Mey sold a product he never thought of: mouth-nose protective masks.

In two-shift operation, some of the employees temporarily sewed around 100,000 masks per week. The change in production should help to absorb at least part of the collapsing sales. After all, the situation is a good thing, says Mey: “We were able to demonstrate our flexibility to customers and show that we also manufacture our textiles in Germany. Not many in our industry can do that anymore. ”Now he hopes that his core business will also benefit.


Mey’s roots go back to 1928 when Franz Mey founded a knitting mill. After the war, his son Albrecht specialized in women’s underwear. To date, the company is based in the Swabian town of Albstadt and currently has around 1000 family-owned employees. In 2019, sales exceeded the 100 million euro mark for the first time.

The article appeared in 05/2020. The series Brand moment appears in every month. Interested in capital? Click here for the subscription shop, where you can order the print edition. Our digital edition is available on iTunes and GooglePlay

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