October 10, 2013
Have you seen Craig Sager’s suits when he is interviewing the Black Mamba, King James, or Durantula court side? The royal purples, bright pinks, and exquisite patterns abound; he is all about making a statement.
The rest of the men’s fashion world can thank Sager, along with many other sports commentators and public figures, for bringing some life to the drab grays, navy blues, and blacks that dominated the look. But no matter the outerwear, there is one piece of the ensemble that is sometimes forgotten: socks.
Instead of ruining that colorful suit with boring socks, spice it up with a matching blue pair. Better yet, compliment your startup casual, dark indigo jeans with a flash of bumble bee yellow. Whatever route you decide, make sure to choose Sock 101.
Lea Bailes, Dave Feyerabend, Kelly Yarborough, and Jason Grill noticed that there had always been a void in the market for professional yet colorful socks costing less than $30 per pair. Their mission, then, was to disrupt the sock industry with a $7, colorful, professional option.
“Most other socks do not feel nearly as good as our socks do,” says Grill. “And we are the best deal out there.”
To help them in their disruptive quest, Sock 101 has a clever marketing approach outside of the typical word-of-mouth advertising. People can sign up for a sock-of-the-month club and receive different pairs of socks every month.
Not only does it make a great gift, the sock-of-the-month club offers a viable outlet to get the product into the population for an entire calendar year guaranteed. Their early success with this club, plus the favorite six pack, has brought a profit to Sock 101 without any equity investors needed.
A lot of startups feel the need to seek massive quantities of funding when they start out, but Sock 101 shows us that working hard to bootstrap can provide just as much opportunity for growth. The added benefit with this approach is that you do not have to sacrifice your operations and vision.
Taking a page right out of Aesop’s Fables, specifically from the classic tortoise and the hare story, they have kept their pace slow and steady. There is great value in keeping your startup small until you reach the point where you absolutely need to increase, and that is exactly where Sock 101 has currently landed.
They recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new line of team-inspired socks for their fans. People in their 30s tend to cast aside sports jerseys and apparel, but socks are always in fashion; why not show your team spirit by wearing crazy colorful socks?
And no matter what you take away from examining Sock 101’s successes, remember the most important aspect of being an entrepreneur: have a good time.
“That is the greatest thing about our company – it’s fun,” says Grill, smiling.
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