Following up on my 2015 profile of unique mens’ socks designer Unsimply Stitched, President Alex Hendeles discusses how his startup has evolved, his new lines of boxers and loungewear, global expansion and how time flies.
About Unsimply Stitched
It is hard to overstate how much I love Unsimply Stitched’s socks. Los Angeles-based Unsimply Stitched was founded in the early days of 2011 by Alex Hendeles “with the hope of being able to support the growth of the ever expanding sock revolution” and providing men with “a large range of design and colors on a constant basis.” Hendeles’ socks, a blend of combed cotton, elastane and polyamide fibers, are super-soft and feature a wide range of unique and colorful patterns like plaids, polka-dots, stripes, windowpanes and zig-zags…These socks are comfortable, thin enough to be worn with dress shoes, durable enough to stand up to life, and spectactular. Hendeles’ focus on design development means I am always looking forward to the next season’s release.
How has Unsimply Stitched evolved since the last time Modern Fellows interviewed you in 2015?
Well firstly it seems like time has flown by! The last 2 years have been pretty crazy for our brand. We have been focused on expanding our global reach while continuing to provide the best of Basics to all of our customers. We also have expanded into Loungewear, which complements our Sock & Underwear categories quite well.
How are the new lines (boxers, shirts, shoelaces, etc.) doing?
Our customers have really grown tremendously and they continuously challenge us to provide them with not only great style, but also new products and categories. Some of the new categories include Athletic Socks, Boot Socks, Loungewear, Underwear and Casual Shirting. Our customer loyalty has been great as seen by the quick response and growth in any new category we bring to the marketplace. What are your plans for expanding to future categories in the future? We have Swim on our radar. Our primary goal has always been to become the one-stop-shop for mens’ basics!
In the past, you talked about the importance of getting your product physically in front of customers, particularly through trade shows. What are the best ways you have found to introduce potential distributors and customers to your socks and other lines physically?
As you can imagine, with the retail landscape always changing, it is very important to continuously keep your products fresh and in front of your competition. We attend as many trade shows as we possibly can each year. Every trade show has a different buyer demographic so you never know where your next avenue of sale will come from. In addition, we have shifted some focus on marketing our products through social media networks such as Facebook and Instagram. The analytics that can be used from these social platforms have proven to be huge assets for growth both with new and repeat customers.
Last time we spoke, you mentioned having several global distribution partners and that you are always interested in expanding your global operations. How has your global footprint changed?
We have expanded our global reach to more than 16 countries. Our biggest challenge with the global expansion has been setting up the proper distribution infrastructure and managing the fluctuation of international currency. However, through trial and error we have been able to figure out a successful method with each of our distributing partners. We plan on bringing our products to another 10 countries by the end of 2018.
What is the most important thing you have learned from your customers?
As cliche as it sounds, we pride ourselves on having the best customer service in the business. We truly believe a satisfied customer lasts a lifetime.
What other menswear brands do you admire?
I am a big fan of John Varvatos. It seems like they have figured out how to make the everyday average dresser look good. Paul Smith has also been one of my favorite brands. The innovation and concept that goes in to their style and design is incredible. I am drawn to brands that inspire through color.
About JakeJake is an expert on men’s style and fashion based in Washington, DC. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs and innovative clothing and lifestyle brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. He has published hundreds of articles on style and apparel, and regularly interviews small business CEOs and startup founders about industry trends. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine.
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