Say it with a Sock Founder Daniel Seeff started his sock subscription business with his wife before they were married.
He was always obsessed with fun socks, and she used to buy them for him. They eventually wondered why they didn’t just start a subscription box for socks. Seeff saw there were a few options on the market, and he subscribed to them. But he didn’t see himself wearing any of the socks that he received. So, the couple decided to create their own offering, which has bloomed into Say it with a Sock.
Today, the company allows consumers to sign up for its subscription offering through its eCommerce website. Consumers can choose whether they want to receive pattern socks or graphic socks.
That’s “one way that we’ve kind of segmented the style of socks that people like,” Seeff said.
Shoppers can also choose to receive two pairs each month, with one of each style.
The company, Seeff noted, also has built in a “whole gifting functionality.” Users can choose when they want gift subscriptions to start. It may not matter to gift givers in, say, late December, but it may be an important feature to those shopping in November. At that time, Seeff said, consumers are “starting their Christmas shopping early.” As a result, they only want the socks to ship right before Christmas or right after Christmas. Customers can also schedule a gift email to be sent to the recipient, so they know who sent them a subscription.
The company offers different durations of subscriptions, including month-to-month, six-month prepaid, and 12-month prepaid options. And it allows consumers to pay for their subscriptions through credit card or PayPal.
When it comes the selections, Seeff said curating socks is a skill on which the company is continuously improving. He said he’s excited for next year because he thinks the company has finally cracked the science of it. At the end of each month, the company sends out a survey. It then aggregates all the feedback for each style of stock that it sends people, so it knows the top five colors that people like. With that information, the company works with an agency that makes fun designs.
And, for next year, the company plans to have socks around the world. Each month will feature a different country. The packaging will then tell shoppers some fun facts about a particular country. The company plans to have croissant socks for France, and pizza socks for Italy. When it comes to the target market, Seeff said its “honestly everyone.”
He noted that some people think socks are a niche market. But, when you look around, every person is wearing socks. (Although, he acknowledged that some guys wear plain black socks and those people are not the company’s market.) He noted that kids, grandparents and parents love the company’s socks. The company gets the word out through online marketing. It also has a lot of referral marketing, and Seeff said the site gets many shoppers from current customers through word of mouth. It also offers a referral program.
It’s impossible to have a sock that every customer is going to love, however, so the company also has a sock satisfaction guarantee. The company used to have some people write in upset they paid for socks that they didn’t like. It was hard to respond to requests in a way that would make them happy and still work for the business. Now, if a customer doesn’t like the style of sock they receive, they can let the company know.
“We’ll send you a replacement pair of socks with your next shipment,” Seeff said. (Customers can choose this option once every six months.)
The company had to figure out whether it should have people return the socks, but it decided to tell people to donate them instead. That turns the conversation from having a customer who is upset because they didn’t like the socks to a customer who is empowered to do good for somebody else. And, when it comes to timing for the company, Seeff noted that the subscription business has exploded over the past few years. He also said pricing for his own offering is only about $12 a month — “nothing ridiculous.”
The Road Ahead
Seeff has been around the subscription business for eight years. He said starting an eCommerce subscription business at that time was “technically really challenging.” Shopify hadn’t taken off much then, and there weren’t many plugins and tools to do a subscription online. If someone wanted to start a subscription business back then, he said, they had to pay a web development agency to build the whole subscription filling module for them. Now, companies can open a Shopify store and sign up for subscription processor Recharge.
The company is looking to broaden its sock offerings in the future, and, at the same time, its custom sock business is picking up. The company sells many custom socks for companies and corporate clients — a segment of its business that is quickly growing — as it aims to share fun socks with the world.