Smokin' Hot underwear a success
UNDERGROUND miner Mick Ikin was standing beside a washing line filled with bras and briefs when he conceived the idea for his business.
At the time, he shared a house with five females and was impressed by the amount of underwear that had been hung out to dry.
"That stuck in my mind," he said. "I thought 'there are 22.5 million people in Australia - that's a lot of bums to cover'."
Mr Ikin thought it would be a good idea to attempt to cover some of those bottoms and set out to establish his own clothing and underwear brand Smokin' Hot Australia. So far it has been a successful business venture which has also surprised a lot of Mr Ikin's friends and family.
"I've got the persona of a bikie I suppose... so going into the clothing business was a big surprise for a lot of people," he said.
Mr Ikin works underground at Grasstree Mine, so juggling the unusual combo of a seven-on, seven-off miner and underwear entrepreneur keeps him very busy. Mining and underwear has also proved a great business combo - miners account for about 50% of Smokin' Hot sales.
Maybe that's because Mr Ikin's underwear has proven to be quite durable below ground level. In May 2009, before the launch of www.smokinhot.com.au, Mr Ikin got this first three pairs of Smokin' Hot underwear and just finished rotating them underground.
Mr Ikin said he was not one to blow his own horn but many friends urged him to share his business success story following the Daily Mercury's story about whether Mackay men preferred boxer or briefs.
Mr Ikin offers both options for blokes, with the Smokin' Hot range featuring four different styles of men's underwear. The women's range has 10 different styles, ranging from g-strings to full briefs. There's a range of colours with the men's shades named after mined materials.
Sales are steadily increasing and Mackay shoppers will soon be able to buy Mr Ikin's underwear at Terry Deane, Sarina Menswear and Fashion Ave.
So far feedback about Mr Ikin's undies has been good.
"A lot of the blokes say they're the best jocks they've ever had in their lives," he said. "The ladies are a bit more timid when it comes to expressing their feelings about underwear."