Faf’s proudly South African swimming briefs fit for a prince
Britain’s Prince Harry should get a pair himself, Port Elizabeth businessman Kurt Schmelzer said of Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk’s proudly South African “undies”.
Schmelzer could never in his wildest dreams have imagined that his company, Bean Bag The Brand, would garner the kind of attention it has — but then he hadn’t really banked on De Klerk unleashing his inner party animal, and Schmelzer’s swimming briefs, on the world.
But party hard De Klerk did after the Springboks’ epic Rugby World Cup win on Saturday.
So much so that Schmelzer’s SA flag-emblazoned swimwear landed up close and personal to Prince Harry as De Klerk enthusiastically met the prince.
The memes rolled in thick and fast afterwards and the small company promptly sold out of the celebrated briefs, which, Schmelzer was quick to point out, are actually swimwear and not underwear as many believed.
Not bad for a company that started out because the owners like a bit of a laugh, give away free beer and support animal charities.
On Monday, Schmelzer, 29, an old Grey High schoolmate of Bok captain Siya Kolisi, said the idea for the company that specialises in men’s swimming briefs, bikinis and running attire, had started out as a bit of a lark.
Schmelzer, who runs the company with his girlfriend, Jessica Chellew, 30, said: “It started with my girlfriend’s father, because he always wore a Speedo, so we thought let’s see if we can bring them back just for a laugh and get young people interested in them.
“It was never meant to be a big business.”
To make things fun, customers are invited to send photographs of themselves wearing a Bean Bag item to the company’s Instagram page, with the winner of each month’s best picture taking home a free case of beer.
And so the business blossomed — and a little while before the Boks headed to Japan for the Rugby World Cup, Kolisi gave Schmelzer a call.
“Siya called me and congratulated me on the brand and asked if I would send a few pairs to the guys, who have used them in training swims and post training in the ice box.”
Schmelzer, oblivious to all the hype around the picture of De Klerk in his colourful, patriotic briefs — called the Saffa — was walking into the Bridge Street Brewery in Baakens Valley on Saturday after watching the rugby at home, when his phone “just went crazy”.
And then he saw it — De Klerk drinking from the Webb-Ellis trophy with nothing else but his South African flag swimming briefs on.
And things just got better and better for Schmelzer as he then watched an unfazed De Klerk meet Prince Harry — still in the now-celebrated swimwear.
On Monday, a highly amused Schmelzer laughingly suggested that Prince Harry pick up a pair.
The fun-loving company, however, also has a social conscience and encourages customers to donate R50 to the Animal Welfare Society.
The company matches every R50 donated and with sales soaring since the pictures of De Klerk in the briefs went viral, the Friendly City’s furry friends will also share in the World Cup magic.
By Sunday, Schmelzer had sold out his entire stock of the swimming briefs — but don’t despair, more are being manufactured.