It's a dry heat, they say. But try telling that to someone who sweats profusely, Billy Thompson says. In 2017, Thompson and Randy Choi appeared on the television show “Shark Tank” to pitch their patented Thompson Tee, which purports to prevent armpit stains. They agreed with Robert Herjavec on a deal — $700,000 for 25 percent of the company. After the show, though, they decided to go their own way due to “creative differences and vision of the brand,” Thompson said. They’ve since moved the business from California to Las Vegas and are driven by their mission to change people’s lives.
Tell us about Thompson Tee and how the concept was conceived?
The Thompson Tee is an undershirt that blocks underarm sweat. Proudly handcrafted in the United States, we have customers in over 135 countries.
I suffered from axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweat) since seventh grade. Necessity being the mother of invention, I knew that an undershirt that could block sweat from passing through to the outer garment would be a simple yet effective solution. I met Randy, who suffered from cranial hyperhidrosis (excessive head sweat), so he knew exactly what I was trying to do. We partnered to offer the world a convenient, safe and affordable solution to this embarrassing problem.
• Address: 7540 Dean Martin Drive, Suite 506, Las Vegas
• Phone: 888-579-6675
• Email: support[email protected]
• Website: thompsontee.com
• Hours of operation: Online 24/7
• Owned/operated by: Billy Thompson and Randy Choi
• In business since: 2012
What is the science behind your products?
That’s the secret sauce; I’ve got it written down and tucked away in a time capsule. It’s a layering and stitching system using common fabrics and an ultra thin, four-way stretch film that absorbs sweat, doesn’t allow it to pass, and draws in air with the user’s natural arm movement, creating a billowing evaporative cooling effect.
It’s also machine washer/dryer safe, just like any other normal undershirt. There are no chemical treatments, so its effectiveness doesn’t wash out over time.
What prompted you to move your business from California to the Las Vegas Valley?
Aside from California ranking among the states with the lowest quality of life, it’s no secret California has never been business-friendly. The biggest reasons for our move were the economics — it’s less expensive to operate and live, and there’s no income tax.
We offered all our employees moving packages; those able to move saw an instant increase in their quality of life. The other reasons are tied to the political climate there and we hope the politics don’t follow us to Nevada, given the recent influx of California transplants. We love Las Vegas and everything it has to offer, from the Strip to the slopes and everything in between. The middle-class dream is still a reality here. We’re happy to support the local economy and wished we moved years ago.
Are there plans to expand?
We’re always looking to grow our business. There are many folks around the world who need our product; they just don’t know something like this exists.
What challenges or obstacles have you overcome while building your brand?
No money. No existing distribution. No historical data to learn from because a product like ours never existed before. No ecommerce experience. Yeah, it was a learning experience with many mistakes along the way. Thankfully we did more things right than wrong.
What’s the best business advice you’ve received?
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Anything else you want to share?
It’s easy to get caught up in the nuts and bolts of running a business, all the moving parts, the growth efforts, etc. But at the heart of what we do are our customers. It’s difficult for those who don’t deal with excessive underarm sweat to understand how much this burden negatively affects the daily lives of those who suffer from this condition. Only recently has it started to get the attention and dialogue it deserves. We regularly receive life-changing testimonials, and the feedback keeps us going through the tough times. It’s a reminder about the importance of our mission: to provide the world with a safe, affordable and convenient solution to this problem.