Howie Busch isn’t a robe guy.
He watched his wife wear a robe every day, he said, and realized he would never become a robe guy.
“I don’t want to be a robe guy, but I did want something I could wear after a shower, something to lounge in,” he said.
The Flower Hill resident said this led him to a trip Walmart where he bought six towels.
He took the towels and a hooded sweatshirt and lounge pants to a Williston Park tailor and asked “Can you make these out of these towels?”
And from there, DudeRobe was born.
DudeRobe is a men’s apparel company that produces towel-lined hoodies, robes, shorts and pants “for all your dude activities.”
Busch’s Kickstarter campaign for the men’s clothing line received $67,498 from 481 backers last week and he is in talks with Shark Tank to appear on the show.
“Originally, I thought it was a good idea, shared it with some people to get a response and it was viewed favorably, and that gave me confidence,” Busch said. “I can’t tell you how many people are talking to me about it. People are buying it and supporting it.”
Busch, who works in product development, has been through the process of inventing items.
But using Kickstarter, he said, was new to him.
“Through this entire process, I learned how to do a Kickstarter campaign successfully,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but I put together an email list, which was made up of a lot of friends and professionals.”
Busch said the Kickstarter success of the male romper, the one-piece fashion trend originally worn by women, encouraged him to try Kickstarter.
“If they can do it, I can do more than that,” Busch said after being frustrated that the male romper campaign was launched two weeks before his.
Although the male romper, the Romp Him, collected more than $353,804 in donations, Busch said, he was “certainly happy” with the money raised by DudeRobe.
“I am happy it’s over 200 percent funded,” he said.
Before getting into product development, Busch worked as a lawyer and a sports agent.
“At some point, a buddy of mine thought we’d do something together, so we created a product and licensed it,” he said. “I’ve always been creative, I just never knew how to get into the market.”
Busch, who is from Syosset, created an alternative to the travel neck pillow, which he licensed to Sourcing Network International, a leader in fashion and travel accessories.
DudeRobe is different because Busch is manufacturing the product.
“I did research on similar campaigns that appealed to the same audience,” he said.
Busch put together press information and reached out to BroBible, a website described as “the ultimate lifestyle destination for bros.”
“I reached out and they said ‘we love this,’” he said.
The website wrote an article and attached a video Busch had made for the products and it was viewed more than 55,000 times in the first couple of days.
Busch said some people said DudeRobe has a misogynistic feel to it.
“It’s more of a marketing thing than anything to call it DudeRobe,” he said. “You’re never going to please everybody. There’s always going to be someone.”
The word robe in French translates to mean dress, Busch said, “and I am personally not a robe guy and in part, I thought it was feminine.”
“Why can women have things that just they wear,” he said. “It’s not really something people should be getting upset about, but I get it. But I made this for the dudes, for the bro culture.”
DudeRobe shorts cost $65; pants cost $70; the hoodie costs $85; and the classic robe costs $95.