Granville man offers 30 styles
Thursday, August 28, 2008
BY AMY SAUNDERS
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Few people can describe their careers as
Steve Katz can:
"I sell pantyhose," the Granville resident
says, "to men."
G. Lieberman & Sons, his Internet
business, is among a few American hosiery
retailers that sell just-for-men leg wear -- more than 30 styles.
Ten years ago, selling tights to men was a wild idea that Katz devised in hopes of reviving his
great-grandfather's ailing hosiery business.
Then a plastics-industry consultant with a background in geology, he was searching online for
industry trends when he noticed men posting messages on hosiery forums.
"They weren't wearing them for appearance as cross-dressers or fetish wearers would be,"
said Katz, 59. "They were wearing them for the benefits: compression, warmth, prevention of
He found a North Carolina supplier to make sheer and opaque tights similar to women's
pantyhose, save for two notable differences: increased durability and the all-important "male
comfort front panel" and fly opening.
Katz declines to share revenue figures for Comfilon.com, named for his hosiery brand. But he
says the business -- which he runs with his wife, Constance -- has grown by about 10 percent a
"We're not a million-dollar business, but it's getting there," he said. "We'll be there eventually."
In coming months, he will introduce as many as 20 additional styles of tights with features
such as a control top and reinforced toes and heels. (His biggest competitors, he says, are
manufacturers of women's pantyhose, which offer a wider selection.)
Katz's customers include athletes and hunters, who want to keep their legs warm; and
members of the military, who wear pantyhose in the desert to protect their legs from sand fleas.
Products are shipped in a plain brown wrapper -- not in a pink box labeled "Here's your
pantyhose, mister," Katz said with a smile.
"We decided that wasn't going to get a lot of repeat business."