With the advent of the popular Happy Socks in 2008, the sock industry has changed dramatically. Here’s the story of Happy Socks by Happy Socks:

“Happy Socks started in the spring of 2008. Two friends had a vision: to spread happiness by turning an everyday essential into a colorful design piece with a rigid standard of ultimate quality, craftsmanship and creativity. A concept now brought to perfection by the Happy Socks collective of creators.Today Happy Socks are sold in more than 70 countries and on every continent.Happy Socks features an almost endless variety of models and designs, using a broad spectrum of color combinations and original patterns. Simply put: there’s a pair of high-quality socks and underwear for every occasion, mindset and style.”

Today, there is a tremendous amount of competition in this part of the sock industry, including Little River Sock Mill. It is now run by Gina Locklear, dubbed the “Sock Queen of Alabama” by the New York Times:

“Nine years ago, when she was 27 and unhappily selling real-estate, Gina Locklear went to her parents with a proposition. She wanted to make socks. Not the basic white socks the family had specialized in, but fashionable socks, with organic cotton and dyes. A ‘mood board’ of socks, patterns and colors hangs in Ms. Locklear’s office at Emi-G Knitting. She produces two lines: Zkano, an online brand she started in 2008, and Little River Sock Mill, which was started in 2013 and is sold in stores like Margaret O’Leary in Manhattan.”

“Last fall (2015), Martha Stewart and the editors of Martha Stewart Living presented Ms. Locklear with an American Made award, which they give each year to a few artisans and small-business owners to provide a boost of recognition. Besides, ‘It’s a sensible business,’ Ms. Stewart said. “Everyone needs socks. Women are wearing socks as a fashion statement like never before. Turn the pages of Vogue and almost every fancy dress is worn with a pair of socks.”

Click the image for a NY Times’ slideshow of the Sock Queen.


16 Replies to “The Sock Queen: Slideshow”

  1. I believe that turning an everyday item, such as socks, into a fashion statement is a great idea and with the different colors or patterns available it can be a fun way to express yourself!

  2. Expressing yourself is often something that people aren’t comfortable doing but when it is done, it can create good results. This story reminds me of the Silly Bandz fad when that was the largest fashion statement during my middle school years. The moral is that sometimes the smallest little idea can turn into an enormous success.

  3. I think “Happy Socks” is the best way to express Gina herself. It becomes a fashion product in the world and also spread happiness to the consumers successfully. Innovation is the process of change that creates and grows wealth.

  4. When it comes to socks I feel that it is something that has been interesting over the years. Being a person that is always trying different things I feel that socks enable you to be different in a way ,but allows you not to go to the extreme. It’s great that people are finding success and following the American dream of running their own business.

  5. When it comes to fashion, people are able to express themselves in all different ways. What you wear sends a message to the people around you and gives an image based on the clothes you are wearing. Based on people freely expressing how they dress, it creates trends. I feel that wearing stylish socks is a great way for people to express who they are while not showing off too much. Trends come and go so it is important to be innovative and really create something that has the potential of making people want to keep the trend alive.

  6. Passion is one of the most important reasons that Gina can lead her company to succeed in this industry and go global. What we really want to do can motivate us better than what we are supposed to do. This story inspires me to look into my lifestyle or others’ lifestyle. Maybe some little change in our daily life can create a very big primary market.

  7. Nowadays, more and more great companies come from some little but amazing ideas. Where there is demand, there has opportunities. People hate boring and monotonous lives and want to make it interesting. Happy socks find the demand and bring not only great quality socks but also some life style to its customer and even changing the industry. As an MBA student, I believe our eye should not only focus on some giant companies, we can also wide our eyes to get to know some little ideas or companies and these will bring you a good future.

  8. I think the key to Gina Locklear’s success is “Keep it Simple”. In 2008, She realized that she could combine her desires of continuing her family’s sock making tradition, while supporting a sustainable lifestyle. And she is really good at it because she only makes one kind of sock. This story told me: From little things, big things grow!

  9. As you mentioned this color socks before several weeks ago in the class, I still remember that you showed us your yellow and black lines socks! LOL! After that, as I went to some company events, I mentioned that the cute color socks has been a fashion trend among business men, they are wearing professional suits, but they have color socks, which show off their casual style, and make the workplace a easier environment. Besides, the color socks is definitely a niche market, but easy to be copied.

  10. I remember you mentioning these socks in class a few weeks ago. Really interesting concept and I might start to buy some more extravagant socks in the next few years because all my parents bought me in high school were the Nike crew socks you see every guy wearing in the summer. One of the great things about the time we live in is that you can be very creative in what you wear. My parents told me that when they were my age, sneakers were one color: white, and socks were only a select few colors. I’m glad that we finally have the technology to make unique patterns and colors accessible to most everyone. Regardless, colored or unique socks are a niche market. But the sock market includes basically every person that wears shoes, so Happy Socks is in a pretty good place to market their brand to potential consumers.

  11. Hearing story’s like these really inspire me to take action and find the little things in life that can change you drastically. Its funny how something so silly as colorful socks has had such a great effect on her life. By taking charge in doing what she loves, she was able to spread a positive message for entrepreneurs everywhere.

  12. From a personal stand point socks are super important. Nothing makes me happier than when I have funny or cute socks on. As someone who almost always wears sneakers, socks are an essential article of clothing. In high school everyone used to wear funny socks and now in college im lucky to find two of the same style socks. There really is a huge industry for socks and people are willing to buy them even if they’re slightly expensive. That is why Gina Locklear has become so successful.

  13. I personally love colorful and crazy socks. It makes me happy knowing Im wearing an article of clothing that honestly does not match what I am wearing at all, but I’m the only now who knows about it. Hearing this story really makes me smile because I remember shopping with my dad one time, and he said he was on the lookout for bright red socks that he could wear to work one day. I think socks are a subtle way to express ones personality. Needless to say, this story made me smile due to the fact that I enjoy hearing about other peoples successes due to the fact that I hope one day I can be successful and be happy doing it.

  14. There are little things in life that can make a person very happy, and in this case it’s socks. This industry has been booming in the past couple of years and honestly I am not surprised. There are many people in my life, including me, who like to wear creativity socks rather than simple black and white socks. It doesn’t take more than a simple funny image or word to be on socks to make someone smile before they start a busy day. Knowing that there are people out there with a mind, like Ms. Locklear, who invent such products and businesses makes me very happy. It makes it more comforting knowing that there will always be people who want to come out with a new and innovative product.

  15. In today’s society you can turn anything into a piece of artwork, which means turning socks into piece of art was not a complicated task, all the person needed was the motivation and the desire for it. In my opinion, it is great to design colorful socks and then see what to do and what type of design to add them on. The more comfortable the socks are the better the sales will be for the person. In my opinion, creating something new is always a piece of art and is always considered to be the best option. Any creation is useful, especially something as useful and needed as socks in life.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.