Thanks, Bro Out to Change the Stigma of “Bro-on-Bro” GiftingBusiness Profiles — By Susan Post on December 18, 2013 at 8:00 am
With the days until Christmas winding down, are you putting off shopping for the hard-to-buy-for guy in your life? Thanks, Bro has a solution. OSU grad Josh Folan founded the guy-gifting company to make it a little less complicated for guys to buy gifts for each other.
The manly-themed gifts focus on beer and beef jerky with a side of nostalgia. Folan founded the company after his own personal experience of stumbling for a good gift for another guy. Creative touches like hand-written notes on sandpaper or pizza box flaps provide a gift with some entertainment.
Below, Folan answers our questions about the creatively-branded company and walks us through how exactly to buy a bro a gift.
Q: Tell us about your background as it relates to Thanks, Bro. Is this your first business venture?
A: I graduated from OSU with a degree in finance, worked briefly in the field in town before moving out to New York in the summer of 2005. I’ve been working in the entertainment field since, first as an actor before quickly refocusing more on writing and producing. That led to the formation of my own production company, NYEH Entertainment, under which I’ve produced a couple of features (and each one of those amounts to its own standalone company) and slew of smaller projects – which adds up to the long winded answer that no, Thanks, Bro is not my first business venture. But it is my first business venture where I didn’t have years of experience in the industry under my belt before starting it. I love jerky, and I’ve drank a beer or two in my life, but I knew nothing about either of those industries or the gifting industry before forming Thanks, Bro.
Q: What is Thanks, Bro’s mission? Why do you see a need for a service like this?
A: The mission “statement” of the company is, “To banish the oppressive stigma of bro-on-bro gifting,” which is a rather comical way to put the genuine social movement behind the brand. The simple fact is, it’s not all that socially acceptable for a guy to give another guy a gift in present day society, and it’s even less acceptable for the thankee to be excited about getting one. Thanks, Bro is trying to make it cool for a bro to give another bro a gift by offering masculine gift pack options that are presented in a nonchalant, no-frills and somewhat underhanded way that appeals to guys. The idea was born out of a personal need that came about in my own life.
Q: How does Thanks, Bro work?
A: We have a really fun video explanation called “Thanks, Bro 101” – but the simplest explanation goes as follows:
1. Bro or bro-ette does cool stuff for you that they deserve to be told thanks for.
b. You go to thanks-bro.com and either pick a preordained gift pack, or build your own custom arrangement from scratch DIY-style, to send your bro/bro-ette.
III. We put that baby together and it’s delivered to them, you don’t have to do anything beyond the few website clicks.
Q: You have some clever inclusions in your Bro, packs. How did you decide what to include and come up with ideas like writing notes cardboard?
A: Going back to the idea of trying to keep it simple and masculine, our core offering is beef jerky, beer and a hand-scrawled note on a piece of crudely ripped-up sandpaper delivered in our signature brash and offensively-branded packaging. Beyond that, we offer a variety of unique add-ons that all have an air of nostalgia to them – old school NES game cartridges (who cares that the thankee likely does not have an NES – it’s still an amazing thing to open up a package and see), unopened packs of football and basketball cards from the early 90s, cap guns, etc. Those are just the beginning of where I’d eventually like to take it. I have ideas like choose your own adventure books from the 90s, actual bootleg NES game systems…how about a Batman Big Wheel?
The notion of nostalgia-based gifting isn’t all that unheard of, given the popularity of anything retro these days, but the actual impetus again came from a personal experience of my little brother mailing me an unannounced package of unopened football card packs from the years we collected them as kids. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling I got when I pulled those out of the mailer, and that feeling went through the roof as I actually opened the packs. I immediately knew that if I could find a way to harness and “sell” the ability to give someone that feeling, there was unlimited opportunity there. That’s what we’re trying to put in these gift packs, something that generates that kind of response in the recipients.
Q: Where do you source the goods that go into the gifts?
A: The jerky is from artisanal vendors I personally think make amazing jerky, and everything else comes from a myriad of places. Particularly things like NES game lots – you can’t just pick up the phone and order a bunch of those from your average wholesaler.
Q: What has the reception been like?
A: Amazing. Some of the press blurbs, and the caliber of entity that they’ve come from, have been truly mind-blowing. The user response is even more encouraging – repeat customers are a frequent occurrence, and I get emails from people simply wanting to say what a cool idea it is.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
For more information, visit thanks-bro.com.