In 2009, when Stance Socks was just a fledgling idea in its co-founders heads, no one could have guessed that the company would grow to raise $86 million in funding, with their product selling in some 7,500 retail stores. This is a company that completely disrupted its industry, and in the paragraphs to follow we will enumerate 8 actions its co-founders took in order to bring about this disruption.
Before adopting socks as the product of choice, CEO Jeff Kearl went to Target stores and checked out the merchandise. He was searching for a product that needed some spice, examining everything from home decor to jewelry, looking for a market that could use a bit of disruption. When he saw how boring the sock displays were, featuring blacks, whites, browns and the occasional obligatory argyle, he knew he had found a niche.
Uniqueness of style
Stance offers socks in every color and print imaginable, showing that they have the corner market on trendy looks. Like the team behind Scullcandy (where Jeff Kearl had worked formerly) did in the industry of earbuds, Kearl and his co-founders, John Wilson, Ryan Kingman, Taylor Shupe, and Aaron Hennings, took a plain, wearable accessory and jazzed it up.
High quality product
While researching samples of the product already on the market, Stance co-founders purchased and wore over 2,000 pairs of socks, noting details that they liked or didn’t like about the quality of those socks. Now, they have an incredible quality control lab, named Socks Hosiery Research Engineering and Development (SHRED). For example, quality socks are made with support in specific areas and fabric that draws moisture up out of the shoe for use by athletes.
Official sports gear
Speaking of athletes, Stance Socks are the official sock of the NBA 2015-2016 season. This type of association with a professional athletic organization elevates Stance Socks into a new realm, as they design their product to fit not only NBA stars but NBA fans as well. In addition, this is the first year in which the Stance logo will appear on socks worn during the games.
Celebrity investors and endorsements
Even aside from the NBA contract, star power has been invaluable to Stance Socks, with influence from celebrities in sports and the music and motion picture industry leading the way. For example, Dwayne Wade and Will Smith are investors in Stance Socks. In addition, Rihanna boasts the Rihanna X Stance Collection — her own line of Stance socks. Finally, Jay Z has even worked a reference to Stance Socks into his song lyrics: “This ain’t gray sweat suits and white tube socks / This is black leather pants and a pair of Stance”.
Niche retailers and general retailers
Stance socks are featured in large general retail stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale’s. They are also featured in smaller specialty stores. This balance in target retailers has contributed to Stance Socks’s selling over 15 million pairs of socks between its launch in 2010 and the end of 2014. These socks were sold in over 40 countries. This is successful market management.
Stance Socks recently began selling men’s underwear, and there is talk that they will also sell women’s underwear. This constant expansion allows the company to continue to shake things up in the industry. The brand will not become “stale” as long as the company is exploring new avenues.
Stance Socks recently launched its line of custom design socks called Canvas. This ensures continuing customer engagement with the company, since customers can now design their own one-of-a-kind pair of socks.
As you can see, Stance Socks is a company that has recently disrupted, and continues to disrupt, its industry. From its inception to the present, Stance Socks stands as an example for fledgling companies looking to shake things up in their industry. For more information on this topic, please feel free to contact us.