Enthusiastic investors bank on French scented underpants for men

PARIS (AFP) - A company that specialises in "Made in France" underwear has raised nearly 19,000 euros (S$30,660) from enthusiastic investors banking on its next titillating creation - sweet-smelling underpants for men.

The so-called "Indomitable" briefs will be manufactured by Le Slip Francais, a company set up in 2011 by 27-year-old Guillaume Gibault, who decided to bank on a trend for all things made in France to sell underwear.

"You want to change the world, you want to change things, start by changing your underpants!" the firm writes on crowdfunding website www.mymajorcompany.com, where it has already raised close to 19,000 euros.

The idea behind crowdfunding is that anyone on the Internet can contribute money to a project, in some cases in exchange for shares in a company or other rewards.

Mr Gibault told AFP the briefs will be scented thanks to micro-capsules full of homemade perfume that will be incorporated into the cotton used to make the underpants in the Lille region of northern France.

As soon as the lucky owner of the briefs moves around, the capsules will release the perfume and the scent will last up to 30 washes, he says.

"It's quite a masculine perfume, not very strong, based on musk and pears," he said.

Le Slip Francais has become something of a success story in France, which is suffering badly from lack of competitiveness and a general perception of hostility towards business owners and entrepreneurs.

The company employs five people in its Paris headquarters, and outsources the manufacture of the underwear to factories in different parts of France, including Lille and the south-western Dordogne region.

The firm has so far sold some 20,000 of its red, white, blue and black briefs, and plans to develop its presence abroad, with Japanese people proving to be particularly enthusiastic clients.

Mr Gibault said the company is already profitable, adding that the whole project shows "that we are capable of innovating in France".

Le Slip Francais had originally intended to raise 10,000 euros for the scented briefs, but has surpassed that amount by far and could still get a lot more before a June 3 deadline it set on its crowdfunding page.

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