BATV Q&A: Supporting Men’s Health with Daren Elsley, Founder of Undergarments Business ‘Bollox’

Daren Elsley, Founder and Owner of men’s underwear line Bollox, speaks exclusively to BritAsia TV to raise awareness about men’s health through his brand of boxer shorts that support men’s cancer charities.

Some of the cancer charities Bollox supports include:

  • UCARE: UCARE (Urology Cancer Research and Education) is an independent charity committed to improving the treatment and care of cancer patients through research and education.
  • Prostate Cancer UK: Prostate Cancer UK’s top priority is funding research to stop prostate cancer killing men. We’re investing millions to find better treatments and better tests that can spot fast-growing cancers early, and could be used in a screening programme to save thousands of lives.
  • Orchid: Orchid is the UK’s leading charity working on behalf of anyone affected by or interested in male cancer – prostate, testicular and penile cancer.
  • It’s In The Bag: It’s in the Bag Cancer Support provide hands-on support for men with testicular cancer in the South-West of England, as well as raising awareness of the disease across the region and beyond.

What was your inspiration behind the charity business and brand?

The inspiration came from the untimely death of my best friend of 32 years, Peter, who died at 40. Before his diagnosis at 38 years with secondary cancer, he had many symptoms for 2 years which he ignored and/or was too fearful to go to the doctor’s/hospital.

After his death I wanted a brand and business which would ultimately raise awareness of men’s cancers and men’s health — as awareness is our best initial defence in those early stages where survival is at its greatest.

If you have an ‘it’s all clear’ result you have peace of mind. If it’s a negative result you have an increased chance of survival. It’s so simple yet so many refuse to acknowledge the signs and symptoms hoping it will ‘go away’.

I wanted a brand which would shock (not insult), remind us, draw attention, start a conversation and maybe create a smile. So Bollox was born, but also to have quality, credibility, comfort and style so it could become more than a pair of boxer shorts with a risqué name .

When things get tough with developing the brand, I think of Peter and the mental strength he mustered during his cancer journey —  that inspires me. It makes me realise I’m lucky to have life and to pursue challenges, so the journey continues to develop the brand and the cause in represents.

(As the brand grows, Elsley is able to bring in resources that allow him to grow the brand further and highlight how the response has been so far):

It’s always been a positive response in the main (despite the occasional ‘oh my, does that say bollox’). But my biggest hurdle was 100% believing in the brand myself — to become Mr Bollox, to live it and breath it, be proud and confident of the name and achievements to date.

What are some of your popular lines?

Currently we don’t have a huge range but developing more styles and colours this year. But our Mr Bollox characters, especially Mr Clever bollox and Mr Lazy bollox are especially popular. I started these as a bit of fun but they are great sellers.

What is the aim behind the Thumbs Up campaign?

I wanted to create a campaign and a following where guys from any background, be it short, plus size, White, Black, bald, young or old, could participate in. By giving the Thumbs Up picture to demonstrate they have checked themselves, they are health aware — maybe create a Bbollox Blub’ that says “Look… I’ve got a new pair of bollox” – type of thing. It’s early days but as the brand develops so will the Thumbs Up message

While COVID has has created more online sales in the past 12 months, Elsley tells us about the new products he continues to develop):

There are plenty of new styles (briefs, H style boxers and new colour-ways). I am also developing Mr Bollox characters and our new concept ‘Bollox & Sox’. Also further developing my BX brand (men’s athleisure) – as the fitter we guys are, the less likely we are to have cancers and improved mental health.

Elsley has also launched The Bollox Foundation – the charity arm of 4e products for Bollox and is develop his ‘talking bollox’ conversations to groups.

Find out more information on the website and see how you can support the charity here: https://www.mybollox.co.uk/pages/support

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