Behind the Brand: Sock it to Me
Everyone needs a little pep in their step every once in a while... And this is where Sock it to Me has your back (or your foot). Sock it to Me reaches out-of-the-box, taking an every day neccessity and combines it with whimsical notions to create a product that is truly extraordinary. We are huge supporters of our friends at Sock it to Me (at this point they're practically family). So let's take a look behind the brand this week with Ryan Kingrey to give us the inside scoop on their early beginnings, how they tamed unicorns, bottled the rainbow, opened new doors, and established the Sock it to Me name and community.
Read on for more and don't forget to register to shop for them and brands alike this February 21-23, 2017 at MAGIC.
What's your story? Tell us about the launch of Sock it to Me and the inspiration behind the brand.
Ryan: Our founder was inspired by the colorful knee high socks worn in South Korea while teaching English there. She began importing them, but didn’t stop there. She created her own designs and we now have over 400 in-house and fan designed styles. The same things that inspired the brand are what determine our course now: promoting self-expression, being yourself, and having fun, all done with a quality product.
Self-expression is a growing and ever-neccessary trait in modern culture. What key strategies are the driving force for your brand and maintaining its personality?
Ryan: Digital marketing, specifically building an engaged online community, has been a primary marketing tactic. We’re a brand that has traditionally spread by word-of-mouth with satisfied customers, so leveraging the digital counterpart of WOM was a natural choice. Brand awareness via our Design a Sock Contest and paid digital media buys have also helped to lift recognition. The primary growth of the brand, however, has been through continuing to improve distribution with retailers.
How has Sock it to Me gained momentum and evolved over time? Were there any pivotal moments in the growth of your success?
Ryan: Sock It to Me has grown from a one-woman operation out of her garage to a 50 employee start up with combined headquarters and warehouse, in the short span of 12 years. A huge component of that growth has been through new business generated at shows like POOL. Once our founder, Carrie, saw the potential for the business at trade shows, it became a fundamental part of our growth.
Why POOLTRADESHOW? How does the show impact your business?
Ryan: POOLTRADESHOW has been a very successful show for us each season we show our line. It allows us to be around like minded exhibitors, and provides us a unique audience to showcase our brand. We’ve created some of our best long-standing business relationships from new wholesale accounts from this show. In addition, our “sock exchange” provides attendees a way to engage with our brand in a way we don’t see anywhere else.
So spill it. What's new for this season? What should retailers be on the lookout for? Give us the FOMO
Ryan: For Spring ’17 we have exciting new designs in men’s and women’s crew. Designs included but not limited to Paul Bunyan, Pirates, cats and mermaids. Our Knee-High category is also stacked with all things magical, animal, and practical for a fun look. New designs in men’s and women’s underwear offer up many of our best-sellers from the sock category. Look to see kitty willows, aliens, and more to score on your drawers!
Anything exciting you can share about the future for Sock it to Me?
Ryan: Sock It to Me is continually pushing the boundaries on this sock and underwear place we call home. We have had the privilege of having devoted fans of our brand. Each year we are inspired by what comes from the minds of our design team, as well as the thousands of entries we see from our Design a Sock contest. We also are seeing new opportunities for growth in our categories. Men have shown us they want more fun designs on their feet! Our kid’s line is growing at a crazy rate. Women love wearing our crews as much as their Knee Highs. Stretch-IT! finds that everyone can wear those knee highs no matter your calf size!