Los Angeles-based Unsimply Stitched recently released a new, colorful spring line of socks. Modern Fellows caught up with President Alex Hendeles to discuss their global journey, trade shows and expansion into boxer trunks while testing out their new spring line.
Alex sent over a range of new spring styles from Unsimply Stitched, which iterates on three years of production. The new designs are in keeping with the company’s colorful heritage, and the patterns — heavy on stripes and polka dots — are playful and bright while largely avoiding veering into questionable color combinations or designs.
The socks themselves also went through a redesign. The new batch features a double-reinforced nylon heel and toe for extra durability, and a thicker yarn weight than previous years’ models that Modern Fellows reviewed. That new yarn makes the sock slightly heavier, but it also washes better, keep color better and last even longer. The socks retain most of the cross stretch that made them one of our favorite socks of 2013, but now feel slightly more substantial and durable, improvements that keep them at the top of our list of best buys.
New as well for 2015 are a series of no-show socks — pictured below — which retail for $10 on their website.
To follow is an interview with Unsimply Stitched President Alex Hendeles, who elaborates on the new line, research, global markets, the importance of wholesale and new directions for the company.
How do you go about choosing new designs and styles for the new collection?
Research is central to the design process. We spend months researching patterns, season’s color trends and forecasting the hottest palettes. We then blend them together to build a cohesive, colorful and wearable sock. Lastly, we have more than 500 SKUs in our archives, which gives us the opportunity to go back in time and recolor some of our best sellers.
Has your place of production or manufacturing changed since last we corresponded?
We have established strong and strategic relationships with our manufacturers in Asia. To remain competitive, we press them to improve sock quality and push the boundaries on innovation. We also have manufacturing partners in Thailand and Italy that ensure a steady source of inventory and diversification across countries.
What is your game plan for getting your socks out into the marketplace? How much of your business is direct to consumer versus wholesale?
While our website serves as a direct-to-consumer portal, we are predominantly a wholesale brand. Our go-to-market strategy has proven scalable because we find great wholesale partners that have a vested interest in our success and get our socks in the hands of our loyal customers.
How important is it for you to get your product physically in front of potential customers?
The importance of trade shows cannot be overstated, especially for a brand like Unsimply Stitched. Clients and customers need to touch, see, and compare the quality, design and color of our socks with the competition. You can find our booth at Project @ Magic, a fashion exhibit in Las Vegas, in February and August. We also maintain a showroom in Los Angeles. Our buyers stop by to see our latest and greatest styles.
How global are you and how important are global markets to your business?
We are an international brand with global distribution partners in the Philippines, Hong Kong, South America, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom, and Singapore. We are committed to expanding our global operations, and are constantly looking for new international partners.
Now that the new collection is out, what can we expect next?
In 2014, we decided to extend the Unsimply Stitched brand to include boxer trunks, offering customers a wide range of design options, patterns and colors. We sold out of our first test run of boxer trunks within 60 days, which was really exciting. Now, we are bringing in bold prints and 40 new SKUs with similar style to that of our socks. It has been a wild ride with amazing growth over the past 3 years. We are looking forward to what the future brings next for Unsimply Stitched.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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