Tag Archives: Buffalo Exchange

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

Vampire Kiss… Sold Out!

Most of the time we produce a new sock style, it gets lauded as over-the-moon cool, just as expected. But once every blue moon, we bring out a new design that ends up being… dare we say… a dud. Any wholesaler or retailer will tell you they struggle with the same thing. We’re telling you, fashion is risky business. But I’ve come to acknowledge that you have to be willing to take risks. Otherwise you’ll just end up with a product that looks like everybody else’s product. Boring!

I like to think our risk-taking is why people like us. Even so, I have to admit that I was a wee bit nervous when we ordered the Vampire Kiss sock, a black sock with a smattering of vampire mouths dripping with red blood. While Carrie stood by the design, through and through, I struggled to see their value and personally believed those vampire teeth would come back to bite us in the rear.

Oh how wrong I was! I’m happy to say that those Vampire Kiss socks were around a faint few months before we were wiped clean. Yep, these bloody socks sold out! So here it is: I was wrong. You heard it here, folks. I was wrong. As it turns out, this risk was well played.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this out-of-stock business may cause. We’ve got the order rolling and will have a new batch of Vampire Kiss socks in-house around November 1st!

Tashina wearing the Vampire Kiss in Portland, Oregon

Vampires and leopards and blood, oh my!

I hate to admit this, but I’ve gotten sucked into the Twilight Saga. I hate it because I am not a tween nor a teen; I’m not a “girly girl” nor one who gets wrapped up in romance novels. The fact is: I’m almost thirty, and under normal circumstances, I would take pride in telling you that I don’t even watch television nor read fiction. But I am here to tell you that Stephanie Meyer’s written story indeed snagged me, and I couldn’t help but compose a post that was reminiscent of vampires and werewolves. While you won’t find an Edward Cullen or dreamy Jacob below, you will find some seriously sexy snaps of Sock It to Me socks in action. Enjoy! xo

Isn’t our new Vampire Kiss sock kick-A? Apparently we aren’t the only ones who think so. It’s only been around for 2 weeks, and it’s already one of our best sellers! Think it has anything to do with Twilight? Nahhh.

The Photo Shoot

In my last blog post, I shared news about our upcoming photo shoot. Well, said photo shoot came and went without a hitch. It was a fantastic event, thanks to all who invested their time and energy. We have to give mad props (once again) to Buffalo Exchange for allowing us to set up shop at the crack of dawn, use one of their managers as a model, and pretty much destroy the place with our presence (which we, of course, cleaned up in the end). We will eventually show off all of these pictures on our website, in our catalog, and beyond. But for now, here’s a little glimpse of all the action…

Our “rack” of clothes and accessories!
Great models, great style.
Our photographer, Mr. Jared Birt, in action.
Ali showing off one of our new fall socks.
Model in the making (Stylist Ti Kivett is a master of her trade)!
Adding a silver locket for luck… or rather, luster.
Stoked about the Old Man Look (which we paired with beer socks, btw!).
Rockin the retro vibe… with Photog Master Jared.

SITM photo shoot in the works

I would argue that those of us who know and love Sock It to Me have developed a personal, unique style bent on pulling off the knee-high look with creativity and charm. Be it quirky or classy, my personal style changes day-to-day based on the socks I want to flaunt. At this point, we SITM fans have amassed a multitude of looks that reach far beyond the standard skirt-and-mary-janes combo.

All this to say, we’re finally (FINALLY!) doing a photo shoot. A real photo shoot (as in: not in Carrie’s bedroom with a simple point-and-shoot camera)… with models and fun clothes, plus our very own (and very loved) hair/makeup stylist, Ti Kivett, and the amazing Jared Birt as photographer. Can you sense our excitement? Oh, it’s great.

Our photo shoot space!

What’s more, we are shooting this awesomeness at one of our fave resale shops in town… yes, Buffalo Exchange, a place where all things wonderful hang side-by-side in one huge space of hip, creative expression. We love the look they have, with the exposed beams above and the raw brick matched with a luxe, lime green accent wall (they painted after this picture was taken, on the left).

PLUS we have access to all of their clothes, shoes, and accessories, which means we’ll be able to pull off all the looks we love with just one “shopping” location. [Speaking from someone who has directed other fashion shoots over the years, this makes life a lot easier. And more fun!]

We’re excited to make it happen, and we’re excited to get the photos from the shoot out there into the public eye. We’re shooting next week, so it should be soon! We’ll post a bunch of them on our website, so make sure to check the site often… well, if you’re dying to see them, like we are. Ha