All posts by Sock Robot

Happy Birthday to us!

It’s hard to believe, but Sock It to Me has been around for six grand years now. SIX! Even though I know the story of how it all began and where we came from, I am still wowed when I hear Carrie’s stories of the “olden days,” when she literally did everything herself. When I say everything, I mean everything. From purchasing to packaging, including boxing up orders and writing out shipping labels by hand, Carrie saw every order from start to finish. It’s a great story… so great, in fact, that we decided to share it with you.  🙂

It all began on October 4th, 2004, when Carrie returned from South Korea with two suitcases of socks and a plan. Her start-up plan was to sell at the local Saturday Market in Portland. With its well-loved collective of local and import goods, and its central location along the train tracks in Old Town, Carrie invested in a tent and a table, ready to take on some traffic.

We found a picture of Carrie’s very first day at the market – her first day of sales ever:

When I see where SITM is today, it’s hard to believe that she did this for several years, setting up and tearing down… rain or shine. In the midst of it all, she found favor among Portland. It was just enough favor to encourage Carrie to approach a hip boutique on Hawthorne Blvd called Naked City. She laughs about it now, saying she very awkwardly asked them about selling SITM socks. But they agreed (naturally) and became her very first wholesale customer.

Now Sock It to Me has hundreds of retail customers across the globe, but I love that Carrie started from such humble beginnings. You hear that phrase all the time, but I guess I better understand it now. She really built this business from the ground up.

Today, when you look at the website and see photos of the socks, they were photographed on a manaquen leg by a real photographer. But back in the day, Carrie used to lay out the socks on her kitchen floor, and shoot in-home snaps from her point-and-shoot (with Rocko’s help, of course):

That’s about when I moved in with Carrie. We both worked from home, and while she would take orders for Sock It to Me, I would write and research… both of us cozied up in our jammies and slippers, often spazzing over Carrie’s cat, Rocko. “Look at him, look at him!” Carrie would squeal. And I’d coming running over to ooh and ahh over his cuteness, all tucked into a drawer of her desk or curled up in the recycling bin.

Yeah, we were a bit consumed with Rocko’s adorableness. My mid-day breaks often looked something like this:

When Carrie landed her largest ever customer, she took a photocopy of the check (priced over $47,000) and realized it was about time to search out an actual warehouse space… in lieu of cramming it all into her single-car garage, which stored hundreds and hundreds of socks lined floor-to-ceiling.

As luck would have it, she found a warehouse just a mile from her home. So the transition began, and Sock It to Me moved into its first professional venue. As popularity grew, so did her product. It didn’t take long before she had to move into a larger warehouse space, then a third larger space. As she collected more employees, she saw the need for an office, as well. So she rented an office space adjacent to the warehouse space, called a graffiti artist to doctor up the walls, and viola: Sock It to Me headquarters were born.

Right about then, she sold her Saturday Market tent and started showing at more trade shows. All of the sudden, Avril Lavigne’s stylist was calling and Janeane Garofalo was seen sporting SITM Ninjas. Not to say it happened overnight, but suddenly… success. It wasn’t a secret anymore. People knew.

From there, Carrie’s customer list grew – nationally and internationally – so she started running an annual Design-A-Sock Contest to include the local fans in on the glory. After all, it was Portland who first loved Sock It to Me, and Portland who helped SITM grow. Now the annual contest draws a thousand-plus Portlanders each year, all vying for the $500 Grand Prize and their design’s inclusion into the line-up of Sock It to Me styles on the market. With a nod to Portland coffee culture, this year’s winner rocked our love boat, for sure:

All in all, it’s been quite the journey for this Portland-based biz. It’s gotten even sweeter within the last two years, as we started doing some fun new events, like a super spontaneous Knee-High for Haiti rollerskating benefit

…and then our first-ever fashion shoot at Buffalo Exchange…

… and that pretty much brings us to the present. Of course, there is so much more to the story. After all, it’s been an exciting six years. Above all, myself, Carrie and the SITM gang all thank you for joining us in the journey! We hope you celebrate with us as the years go on. xoxo

Contest Love

Here we go again… contest time! As we sort through the pile of submissions from our Annual Design-A-Sock Contest (see below), we are reminded of how much we enjoy the interaction with our customers and neighbors here in Portland.

This is ONE day's stack of contest submissions... and that's just snail mail!

It seems the joy is mutual, when we began to look at the love notes attached with some of the submissions. How blessed to have so many friends out there who tell us “Sock It to Me” is an everyday part of their conversation… and wardrobing. But speaking of love notes, we just have to share this one, because it is so flippin adorable (and kind)…

“I am a huge fan of SITM, and I own over 35 pairs of your socks!  I have worn them in more than ten different countries around the world!” … “I wear them when I climb at my gym 4 days a week. I wore them scuba diving in Thailand. I wear them paragliding in the Alps and the Himalayas and other mountains around the world. I wear them long boarding around Portland. I wear them doing everything!” -Spydermonkee

[Thanks, Spydermonkee! We want pictures!]

We also wanted to share a few of the submissions which have come in. These aren’t necessarily chosen candidates for Grand Prize Winner. But they might be! We just grabbed a few at random (because random is our middle name).

If you’re a Portland area resident, you still have two full days to get some designs our way! (So there is no excuse!) Just send em in via email (designcontest@sockittome.com) or snail mail (Design Contest, 5100 SE Harney #1, Portland, OR 97206), and make sure to review our rules and regs before you begin!

Elena Curtin's SUSHI YUM YUM
Lori Ellis' KEYHOLES
Anna Fimmel's THE MARINER'S REVENGE SONG
Matt Gauck's TRICYCLE
Jay Winebrenner's SCORPION
Spydermonkee's PARASOCK

Local Design-A-Sock Contest Returns for 4th Year!

Ohhhh Portland, how we love your sweet design skills. That is why, year after year, we give the local lads a chance at sock stardom with the Annual Design-A-Sock Contest, now in its fourth year. Not to be confused with our international design contest (which we ran earlier this year), this one is for the locals… because Portland pride runs strong in these parts.

With little over a week to craft and submit 5 unique designs, we expect to see Portlanders all over town with torn-out templates in tow, designing and sketching as they dine over breakfast, commute on the Max, and break for lunch along the waterfront. After all, the Grand Prize Winner will receive a whopper of a check ($500), not to mention bragging rights and TEN brand new, hand-chosen pairs of Sock It to Me socks. Just imagine how colorful your sock drawer will be…

The nitty gritty: Portland residents can find the Design-A-Sock template online at www.sockittome.com or rip-out options in both The Portland Mercury and Willamette Week starting on Wednesday, September 8th. Final design submissions are due by 5pm on Friday, September 17th. Entrants can submit up to five original, not previously published works. Prizes are offered for First Place ($500 + 10 pairs of socks + production of sock), Second Place ($100 + five pairs of socks) and Third Place ($50 + three pairs of socks), with room for “bonus” winners whose designs could be chosen for incorporation into Sock It to Me’s line of socks for men or women. Submissions can be sent via email (designcontest@sockittome.com) or snail mail (Design Contest, 5100 SE Harney Dr.  #1, Portland, OR 97206). For all contest rules and regulations, please visit www.sockittome.com.

Good luck! We can’t wait to see your submissions!

p.s. If you need some inspiration, here are a few submissions that made their way into our hearts earlier this year:

Helmet Style for the Bike Betty

Okay, so this has nothing to do with socks. But it has everything to do with style, and that’s really what we sell here at Sock It to Me.

Plus, we live in Portland, and biking is to Portland as igloos are to the North Pole. They just go together. More than that, biking has become our identity. So of course we were upset when that identity was recently robbed by Minneapolis, who overthrew Portland as the “Best Bike-Friendly City” in Bicycling magazine’s annual list of pro-cycle cities. Well, the 2010 results have only encouraged us Portlanders to do everything we can to earn back our #1 spot next year. Personally speaking, I think it’s time to pull out all the stops and go for fashion bonus points. (Because style wins ’em over every time!)

Well, I found this flippin gorgeous helmet manufacturer who scored huge in my book for re-thinking a market that so needs some fashion love. I mean, come on, helmets are perhaps the ugliest thing I’ve ever adorned. How do you expect me to wear one without putting up a fight? (NOTE: I advocate protecting the noggin’ at all costs… no matter how ugly it can be.)

So thank you, Yakkay, for creating something pretty for us. I truly adore this helmet, the “Tokyo” style. It’s just precious:

Yakkay – Tokyo

And I also love the “Paris”… it’s uber hip and sexy, with everyday appeal and wear-ability:

Yakkay – Paris

I would also argue that there is a too-far-gone extreme to this fashion-forward helmet business. It looks something like this. I’m speechless…

From me (Becky) to you (general public), please don’t go too far, like this. But don’t take yourself too seriously, either. Just have fun (in a style-setter kind-of way).

Roller Skating + Sock It to Me socks + Haiti love

We love spreading the love. And Haiti, above all, needs some love. So we’re throwing a fundraiser. What’s funny is that we really just whipped it together in the course of a few days, but it’s going to be epic. Because Portland has come through, and people are excited. Truly excited. (How can you not be? It’s roller skating!)

With the help of the Portland-based Mangrove Fund, we’re happy to say that 100% of all ticket sales will go to organizations leading relief and recovery efforts in Haiti. And we are also donating 100% of the proceeds from Sock It to Me sock sales during the event. (Yep, we’ll be there with a fully stocked booth!) What’s better: wear your SITM socks or buy a pair at the event, and you’ll receive raffle tickets to win some fantastic prizes. Think socks, tees, one-hour massages, amusement park passes, gift certificates to Portland hotspots and more (they keep rolling in!).

EventLogo

Here’s the scoop:

What: “Knee-High for Haiti” Roller Skating Benefit {sponsored by Sock It to Me & Oaks Park Amusement Park}

When: Saturday, January 30, 2010 {10 pm—12:30 am}

Where: Oaks Park roller rink {7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland}

Cost: $7—$10, sliding scale {includes skate rental}