California retailer Chubbies uses sale to mark Austin arrival

Sara Johnson

A California-born online clothing company introduced itself to Austin this weekend with a sample sale on The Drag.

The company, Chubbies, sells men’s casual clothing, including shorts and swimwear. The sample sale was held at the former Co-op Art Store location, and it was the company’s first in-store event since its headquarters moved from California to Austin in late September, said co-founder Kyle Hency.

“(The move) was the best way to make sure all of our employees had the resources to live comfortably while working for us,” Hency said. “Me and the others who started this are younger than a lot of other executives, so we’re thinking about living costs above everything else.”

Hency and three other Stanford University graduates founded Chubbies in 2011. Hency said college-aged men are the company’s target audience and played a role in their decision to host a sale event near campus.

“It seemed like the best way to get people talking about Chubbies being here,” Hency said. “We may not have any plans to open a store on the ground, but it’s right at the center of the kind of community we want to serve.”


Chubbies’ September move into Austin reflects the city’s popularity with young entrepreneurs, said clinical associate professor John Butler. He said decisions to move headquarters come from a company making measured business decisions.

“The place a company identifies with is usually a huge part of their identity and isn’t something they make decisions about without thought,” Butler said. “A physical location change is something a lot of people pay attention to.”

Butler said the company’s decision to establish their presence in Austin by holding a sale near UT could serve as a test of their marketing practices. Through the sale, he said Chubbies can see what kind of customers they attract and how they react to the brand.

“Every company has their own way of going about showing their customers what they want to associate themselves with,” Butler said. “(This) might give them an idea of how much their branding is reflecting what type of customers they attract.”

Human development of organizations sophomore Brayan Reyes attended the sale on Saturday, and said he liked the way the clothing company catered to college men through their marketing.

“I have a couple pairs of their shorts already, and they’re really comfortable,” Reyes said. “My friends and I love their YouTube videos. It feels like they know their audience really well.”

Based on Chubbies’ social media, Reyes said the company’s move to Austin fit their brand.

“They seem like a lot of fun, and Austin is a really fun city to live in,” Reyes said.

Hency said the company hopes to incorporate its brand identity more closely with the student community in the future.

“I love the energy of a student community,” Hency said. “It’s so much more vibrant than I think a lot of clothing companies recognize. Being right where one of the more energetic student communities is will be the best way for us to grow.”