A cult-favorite clothing company that narrowly escaped bankruptcy could reach over $10 million in sales this year

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Women's Boxy Crop Tee

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Women’s Boxy Crop Tee
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Richer Poorer

  • Richer Poorer, cult-favorite women’s and men’s basics brand, was once a successful sock and underwear wholesaler.
  • The brand wanted to build out collections and scale its direct-to-consumer operations, and was acquired in 2015 for $12 million by digital sales company Shoes.com.
  • Richer Poorer’s founders Iva Pawling and Tim Morse found out the new owners were going bankrupt in December of 2016, and bought the company back for $8 million.
  • The company narrowly escaped bankruptcy, and is now bigger and better than ever.
  • If you ask us, Richer Poorer’s best items are their T-shirts, which are made from a supremely soft and comfortable silicone-washed organic cotton.

California brand Richer Poorer is known among its fan base for creating amazingly comfortable basics and loungewear. Its T-shirts are lusciously soft, sweats as cozy as can be, and bralettes as unrestrictive as possible – they sell out more often than not.

But there was a time when the brand almost lost everything.

The company, which was founded in 2010 by Iva Pawling and Tim Morse and invested in by the likes of Patrick Carney from the Black Keys, originally began selling comfortable, cleverly designed socks and underwear to upscale department store retailers like Bloomingdales. After a few years, the business found success as a wholesaler, but the company was interested in scaling to focus more on their direct-to-consumer efforts.

To begin that process, they knew they’d need to raise $2 million capital – but they also knew it was unlikely they’d get anywhere with investment banks that often go for larger projects. So when online retailer Shoes.com offered to buy the company for $12 million total, keeping Pawling and Morse on to manage, they agreed to the acquisition.

Promising to help them with operations, digital strategy, and website development, Shoes.com seemed like a great fit. They’d have access to resources like never before, and be able to focus on what mattered for the future of their business.

That was the hope – until they found out their new owner would be declaring bankruptcy, potentially bringing Richer Poorer down with them in the fire.

Pawling and Morse used the strong relationships they had built with two board members and bought the company back with them for $8 million just one month before Shoes.com officially went under (they have since re-emerged with decent success).

Classic Men's Crew Pocket Tee

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Classic Men’s Crew Pocket Tee
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Richer Poorer

After narrowly escaping a certain demise, Richer Poorer managed to rebuild themselves into a cult-favorite basics brand in a strange riches-to-rags-back-to-riches story of resilience.

They are now expecting over $10 million in sales this year alone, and are building out a strong presence in the direct-to-consumer market. Lately, they’ve launched some fun collaborations that pay homage to their roots as a (mostly) sock brand, like a selection of colorful pairs designed by popular graphic artist Will Bryant.

If you ask us, Richer Poorer’s best items are their T-shirts, which are made from a supremely soft and comfortable silicone-washed organic cotton. They have a cropped style for women for $34 that’s cut at the perfect length, and plenty of classic men’s versions, too – all ranging from $34-$38.

Interestingly, the brand’s laid-back vibe reflects nothing about the company’s history. Through tumult and turmoil, they were able to build up a successful identity that represents the most aspirational version of “California cool” that we’ve seen since the era of Vans’ skate shoes – and we’ve come to love them as much for their story as for their great clothing.

Keep scrolling to see Richer Poorer’s best sellers and collaborations, or click here to go straight to their website.


Women’s Muscle Tank

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Richer Poorer

Shop all women’s Muscle Tanks, $32 each


Men’s Crew Pocket Tee

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Richer Poorer

Shop all men’s Crew Pocket Tees, $34 each


Bralette

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Richer Poorer

Shop all women’s Bralettes, $28 each


Men’s Sweatshirt

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Richer Poorer

Shop all men’s Hoodies, $84 each


Women’s Boxy Crop Tee

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Richer Poorer

Shop all women’s Boxy Crop Tees, $34 each


Will Bryant Socks

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Richer Poorer

Shop all Will Bryant socks, $8.40-$9.40 each