The Menswear Style Podcast

Ryan Palmer, Co-Founder of London Sock Company

December 07, 2020 Menswear Style Episode 102
The Menswear Style Podcast
Ryan Palmer, Co-Founder of London Sock Company
Chapters
The Menswear Style Podcast
Ryan Palmer, Co-Founder of London Sock Company
Dec 07, 2020 Episode 102
Menswear Style

London Sock Company believe that pulling on a great pair of socks in the morning has the power to transform not just your style, but your state of mind. The brand was created in 2013 to help modern gents embrace their personality and be inspired to be the best version of themselves. Great socks aren’t just a finishing flourish on an outfit, they are the first steps to effortless style. By using only the most advanced knitting methods and the finest materials they are able to make socks that not only fit, feel and look better, but they last longer as well. 

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Ryan Palmer, Co-Founder of London Sock Company about how the idea for the brand was thought up. The idea came when the Co-Founders were brainstorming subscription-based products after seeing the rapid adoption of this category in the US. Our host Peter Brooker and Ryan also chat about the launch of their new boot sock, how David Gandy become an early investor, and that time when Daniel Craig wore their socks.

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Show Notes Transcript

London Sock Company believe that pulling on a great pair of socks in the morning has the power to transform not just your style, but your state of mind. The brand was created in 2013 to help modern gents embrace their personality and be inspired to be the best version of themselves. Great socks aren’t just a finishing flourish on an outfit, they are the first steps to effortless style. By using only the most advanced knitting methods and the finest materials they are able to make socks that not only fit, feel and look better, but they last longer as well. 

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Ryan Palmer, Co-Founder of London Sock Company about how the idea for the brand was thought up. The idea came when the Co-Founders were brainstorming subscription-based products after seeing the rapid adoption of this category in the US. Our host Peter Brooker and Ryan also chat about the launch of their new boot sock, how David Gandy become an early investor, and that time when Daniel Craig wore their socks.

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Unknown:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The menswear style podcast. I'm your host Pete Booker and on this episode I'm going to talk to Ryan Palmer, co founder at London SOC company. And I'm going to put a short clip from the website here, which you can find by the way at WWE, WWE London company.com. The London stock company, or LSE, was built on a belief that the little things like socks make a big difference. At LSC. We believe that putting on a great pair of socks in the morning has the power to transform not just your style, but your state of mind. Our founders created this brand in 2013 to help men add a dash of colour, embrace their personality, and be inspired to be the best version of themselves. Great socks aren't just a finishing flourish on an outfit. They are the first steps to effortless style. So that interview of Ryan to come, and I really enjoyed it. really enjoy it. We actually hit it off quite well, I thought. We talked about how they fought out of the box as a company to get the likes of David Gandy on board as an ambassador. And what happened when Daniel Craig tried on their socks, so plenty of takeaways, I think you'll enjoy this one. But before we get to Ryan, don't forget to check out the show notes at WWE, WWE menswear star dot code at UK, and we're on the social app menswear style. Now, if you want to come on the podcast and tell us about your brand and your journey, you can email the show here at info at menswear. style.co.uk Okay. Let's get to it. This is a good one. I hope you enjoy it. Here's that interview with Ryan Palmer, co founder at London sock company. Well, it's my great pleasure to introduce Ryan Palmer to the show. Ryan Palmer is a co founder at London sock company. How are we doing today, Ryan? I'm very well. Very well. Thank you for having me, sir. It's great to be on. Great to have you on whereabouts in the world. I I'm currently Lancaster gate. So fairly central but West fortunately very close to Hyde Park, which is, which has been a bit of a godsend to be honest over the last months. Getting a bit of outdoor space is certainly, you know, a breath of fresh air no pun intended. And your firm Scotland of Italy. Is that right? Yeah, actually mongrel. So I was born in Scotland. Both of my parents are Canadian. So they moved to the UK in their 20s and then moved up to Scotland in their 30s. And my sister and I are both born out there. But most of my family's back in Canada in Toronto, and I've been I've been living in England now since I was 19. So coming up for half about half of my life. So you're climatized? Well, exactly. Ryan, perhaps you can give us a bit of a backstory to how you started London sock company, please. Yes, actually, it came on the back of a bit of a brainstorm. My co founder, Dave Packard and I were walking in the in the corporate world, you know, right in the City of London for a technology consultancy company. And we're both very entrepreneurial, we're both very kind of excited about, you know, kind of business ideas and new projects. And we saw a wave of subscription models kind of coming over from, from the US and it was like, a team of Dollar Shave Club and every, you know, kind of like massive retailer was, you know, shaking in their boots, are these disruptive new models of upselling, you know, to customers with, with, you know, arguably kind of a cheaper basket proposition and, you know, we really started thinking about, you know, just are they were like, were there opportunities for subscription, you know, kind of led brand in the UK. And we started off by just thinking like, what are some induce the moment they wake up in the morning to the more people asleep and, you know, then looking at, okay, well, we're there just observational growth theories market, you know, it's things like health and fitness, it was veganism and vegetarianism, it was men's fashion, you know, and then we just, we kind of matrix out, we looked at, you know, what are, you know, what are all the reasons that this could fail? What are all the reasons that we think we can make this successful? Like, you know, do we think that there's anyone else out there doing a really good job of this, and the more we can go into it, the more we realise that actually, there's just something about socks. And I'm not like we genuinely tried to get away from it so many times can really rather than just as just as silly, like, why would we do that? It's socks and the more we The more we researched and the more the more we can look into and the deeper we buy into we just saw such a massive opportunity and very kind of Sleepy category, where no one was really trying to reinvent a brand new one was trying to own it from an aspirational Luxury, about the quality about the experience, I think what was interesting as well as coming from that kind of corporate environment, it was very obvious that, you know, guys were just so uniform, they were all wearing the same colour suits the same colour shirts, same colour shoes, you know, and less and less guys were wearing ties, and the only real opportunities that they had was adding a bit of colour to their socks. So for us, it was, you know, that that kind of awareness of, right, you know, there's definitely something there, we can see the opportunity here, it's also very clear that, you know, there's a lot of the socks that were kind of being worn more and the more novelty side, you know, we just thought that, you know, yes, there's an opportunity here to really kind of try and create something that's aspirational, that's really high quality, that's an incredible experience, you know, that is going to help guys, you know, add some styles and personality and ultimately add a bit of confidence and, and self belief into into how they live. That's interesting that you say that, so that we're talking about year 2013 when it launched, is that right? We soft, launched in 2013 in December, but we we got let down by our factory. So we didn't actually have any socks. So basically, we sold I owe us to friends and family. And and then and then launch properly in January 2014. When I when our socks arrived. Okay, and so but how many years before this? Was this in the pipeline? From the first idea on the back of the napkin? market to conception? How long are we talking here? Um, we're probably talking. So we started brainstorming the idea. I think it was around March of the same year. Okay. Pretty fast turnaround of Yeah. Yeah, we genuinely thought, well, let's just do this until we come up with a better idea. That was the logic at the time. And yeah, like, fortunately, we were in a position where we both took a leave of absence from our from our jobs, which we were able to do. And we just, we just jumped in with two feet. And I love the fact that you were trying to find a better idea. But then, now this is there's absolutely nothing wrong with this. We fleshed out my scenarios and come up Trumps every time. And you mentioned ties as well. So I mean, I was just actually thinking of ties thinking, well, this is you have shirt subscriptions. And I don't know if you do have tie subscriptions. I'm sure people still do them. But it's over an age where people aren't really wearing ties, like you say, so it's not always going to be the go to staple even if people are going to the office these days because of the casualisation of menswear. I guess over the last two days. Yeah, yeah, totally. And I think for us the I mean, the subscription is just part of our, our business model, like we do, you know, the majority of our businesses, you know, kind of traditional e commerce, you know, DTC we've got wholesale as well. So, you know, we, you know, we work with, you know, Harrods and Fort Mason, Mr. Porter, you know, matches fashion and you know, other some other kind of high end you know, menswear boutiques and retailers but, but yeah, most of our most of our our businesses is coming through that traditional DTC, and then we've got, you know, not an insignificant percentage, but it's not not the majority on that subscription where members are receiving you know, kind of one two or three new pairs of socks that are a box every month, right? Okay. The socks are made and maybe you can correct me the socks are made of Scottish Lyle cotton, is that right? known as Murcia sized cotton. nationalised cotton Yeah, exactly, exactly. We know. It's all it's all it's all good. We probably shouldn't use it when we first started. So yeah, I mean, the majority of our of our cotton socks are from a kind of really high quality yarn, you know, which is which is also known as mercerised. Also known is going to feel the cost as well. And we do now have other materials as well, you know, and merino wool and cashmere and, you know, kind of other types of cotton equities, we just launched some, some outdoor socks as well kind of focused on kind of, you know, boots and, and a bit thicker. But, yeah, it's just all about quality. It's all about that, that kind of customer experience. And, you know, I don't like soft socks are it's an opportunity, right? You know, where it's one of the first things that most people do when they wake up and then we have a lot of our customers gonna get in touch with us gonna see you know, there's just, there's just something about pulling on a fresh pair of socks in the morning that can really, you know, put put your day in the rater and the right kind of forefront. Well, Ryan, you'd be a welcome dinner guest in this household. Let me tell you because my girlfriend is always on about me and my socks that kind of go through many life cycles beyond their pasture. And I don't think I'm the guy. I'm the only guy out there that wears their socks to the last Fred. I think it's handed down from dad, you know, from granddad to Dad, you know, they'll always be wearing their socks and then when it's right down to the bare bones, they'll use it and they'll Polish their cars with it. You know, I think guys just hate throwing socks away. That's, that's just my opinion on that. But Anastasia, my girlfriend literally just goes through my sock drawer and without my permission now Just has the final say, Joe here. You love to get involved, we we actually run a sock amnesty, where we basically encourage people to send us their unwanted socks. It's we built or upcycling them into into other kind of other products actually. But, but yeah, it's just a common, I guess, game situation. I think most guys where they just have that top layer of stuff that they were and then about five layers below it of, you know, kind of sort of having seen the light of day Yeah. You start burrowing through and you've been crazy. I didn't even know this drawer was that deep. And then you get to the soaks that you were in your college, I might just be going through my own personal life. But Forgive me for that. It's also it's interesting. You mentioned the boot sock that's just been released that right that's coming out this weekend. Yeah. Oh, yeah, we just launched it last week, actually. Great. Can you tell me a little bit about that place? What people can expect you? Yeah, I mean, we the challenge, the challenge that we that we kind of had was, you know, one, people are just being outdoors a lot more. And, you know, I think that wears our socks were fine to kind of wear you know, whether it's with trainers, or smart shoes, or even in home, you know, we just wanted something that was just going to be a little bit thicker, you know, kind of, um, in terms of the, the material in the brand of the salts, and we've kind of added in some antibac as well. So, you know, their affiliate kind of antibacterial, they don't smell, which is really nice. So we've kind of thrown a few features in into, but it's really just about, I think as much as anything, it was Dave and I just thinking we need to, we need to support people, we're just embracing, you know, kind of the Great British outdoors at the moment, like everyone's stuck inside, everyone's frustrated, you know, let's, you know, let's just do something where we can actually try and you know, kind of promote some get outdoors, you know, and try and try and get a bit of positive kind of impact from that through some fresh air and relaxing. It's a nice touch. And I was speaking to a friend earlier today, who's an avid customer of yours. And he posts regularly on Instagram and tags you and and and all that business. I said, Oh, you'll be interested in the podcast from talking to one of the co founders tonight. And he said they've just released a bootcut sock. Oh, great. I'll ask him about it goes. Yeah, yeah, no, I told him all about it. Two years ago on the feedback forums, I said, release a bootcut sock. So he's very chuffed that you've taken his suggestion two years ago, and it's now come to fruition. So if you'd like to let me let me know who it is. Some good socks are happy to. Well, as a sidebar to that. him and I are in this kind of James Bond community. And so we got to tag our clothes and brands and whatever James Bond wears, we were and I think he tags London Southern coat because the rumour is Daniel Craig wears them. Yeah, yeah, he. Yeah. Yeah, no, no, it's true. Yeah, Daniel Craig. It's actually his Swiss stylish scarf. Schofield, great guy kind of, on Instagram is kind of upscale geezer is, yeah, is a phenomenal supporter of the brand and just loves the product as well. And he was actually styling Daniel Craig for all the press and premieres for Spectre. And asked us if we can get some socks to Daniel and so we can send them to we sent them to, to Gallup. And it's quite a funny story, actually. Because he told us that, you know, there was a moment where he walked into the trailer, and Daniel Craig is in there and just his underwear, pulling on a pair of our socks. See how great the foul and Garrett was like, I just want you in that moment. I could have just taken a picture for you because it just would have been absolutely phenomenal. page on the website. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to capture it, but I'm fairly kind of assured kind of guidance that did happen. And yeah. That's terrific. That's great news. Well, outside of Daniel Craig, you've you have other ambassadors on the website, as well. David Gandy was an early investor in the brand, and there's a great article that people should go check out the website, by the way, London salt company.com because there's some nice early draft journals to get you going and how you introduce to the founders. And there's a nice picture of David Gandy and I think it's your co founder, Dave on the couch spark out. That was that was the first that was the first evening that we met and, and yeah, it was it was it was a very, very kind of entertaining, funny, amusing, Museveni. You know, when you just meet people, and you just realise that, you know, they're just great, but just great humans, right. And we just got on really well with with, with dams. And, you know, we kind of talked a lot about what we were doing and you know, he'd actually kind of experienced the subscription and was just really keen to support and provide us with a little bit of, you know, his perspective and momentum. fashion industry which is something that when we started you know, we we didn't really have a lot of experience and and yeah, we we got we got his attention by actually inventing a cocktail for him which which was for his birthday and what yeah one of my really good friends just very conveniently as a world class and zoologist and she she enters competitions all around the world and you know, kind of we we knew that well, we can get cans like a box of ourselves, but why don't we do something that's a bit more a bit more above and beyond. And I remember Dave kind of coming up with the idea saying why don't we just do a show and then a cocktail for him. And it was it was the day before his birthday. And yeah, managed to just drop her a message on WhatsApp and she was in New York at the time. So we fortunately had some some positive time difference. And just explained that we needed her help desperately to kind of invent a cocktail for, for David Gandy. And we knew that he liked an old fashioned so it had to be strong. And yeah, I woke up the next morning had a recipe in my WhatsApp, you know, kind of inbox had no idea exactly what it would taste like, but you know, back backed up, and, yeah, free, we put it into a really nice credit card printer in a framed mahogany wooden frame and put it on top, put it on top of the 15 per box resort to the parking lot from actually seeing, you know, thanks for your support, because it actually warned them during London collections of which it was at the time. And you know, we just wanted to say thank you. And also you know, we know Joe one of our other friends who knew David can do really well at all the services his birthday and yeah, we're just really excited. You know, one of our friends you know, was really excited to invent this cocktail for him, which we agreed on the London Gandy but the one condition was that we get to buy them his first one. And we took it we took it to the agency to select how did we get this gift box the big candy in there, like Oh, if you just leave it here, we'll put it in the room with all the others. Remaining and overflowing. Like guys, like you know, you just partly sink to that moment. Just so curiosity, like how many gifts does he get? Yeah, you know, without without any exaggeration. She said to me, oh, we're sending an additional minivan right into his house later this afternoon. And he's not even going to open it it's going to get rejected or something like that. I'm not next morning had an email in my inbox from David Gandy saying absolutely adored the London Gandy, you know, you'd love to kind of meet us for a drink and let's get something sorted. And three weeks later that that night that you are that you can see on our blog with my co founder, Dave pastor and his coach was that I mean, while I'm cooking omelettes in his kitchen, it's five o'clock in the morning, just just a very random night. But no great, great guy, and we get on really well. He's become a very good friend. That sounds great. And yeah, the picture kind of encapsulates those moments of being out all night. But then he's got the dignity not to do any defacing today. Like if this was my if this was my meat. So I've written ethics when I have shared, he wouldn't wake up with anything, you know, close eyebrows or anything. You'd have a new face to the likes, but we know Dave again, he's much better human being. Ryan, could you also talk about the the personalised messaging that you did in the socks and how you did this about a year ago, and I saw a friend do it. And because I followed his blog post, and this personalised message service was fantastic because you open up the box and there's a video that you can actually record and it was he did one for his dad that was quite touching. Is that still a thing for you anymore? Is that still going on? How did that project work out? Yeah, I mean, it was it was originally just for it was for a one off? I mean, for us it was around how can we really encapsulate true personalization within, you know, kind of within gifting when you're sending something to someone and you know, thinking about that moment where you give someone you know, kind of a gift and maybe you kind of have a moment to chat to them or whatever. And we just thought what if we were to Yeah, what if we were to actually kind of you know, have a gift box where you could record a personal video message you know that you know, kind of the person you're gifting it to can experience the moment that they open up a gift box and yeah, it did phenomenally well we we decided that we didn't we didn't do it last year. But no, i think i think that you know, we may well bring it back even more improved level. So yeah, yeah. So it's just it's just something that I think worked. It worked really well. Yeah, it's just nice to be able to kind of share that moment you know, like that was the Yeah, because it's it's nice to get the gift. It's nice to get the socks but it's also nice to get that kind of considerate thing that extra mile isn't it because I was listening to again as another sidebars listening to a podcast the other day about this guy was talking about the difference between being nice and being considerate. And how you can tell the difference is mainly how people gift stuff. So like if I was to meet you, I could gift you like a nice bottle of wine maybe. And that'd be it. I'd have probably picked it up in the co op five minutes before coming around your gaff but I consider it for would be someone that knows you quite well and know that you like a particular why a particular meal, and maybe they went somewhere else to get it or you don't mean as a nice, bespoke esoteric touch to that present. And I thought, that's what I consider a gift is, is having that nice video message and telling someone something over a gift. So yeah, I hope you bring that back cuz I thought that was really great. Thank you. Right maybe talk a little bit about the future as well, we never got the new boot socks coming out for Christmas. what's what's going on in the new year? Do you see that far ahead? Yeah, we do. So we're I mean, I think I mean, first of all, acknowledging the challenges and the roller coaster of 2020. I think, you know, we are we're very fortunate, you know, to be a predominantly online DTC brand. At the moment, I think, you know, there's, there's been a lot of casualties in the bricks and mortar space. And I think, you know, there's going to be more to common, you know, I think it's, it's a challenging retail environment at the moment, I think that it's been a great opportunity, I genuinely believe that any business that is surviving, this is a better business as a result, just in terms of kind of the forced nature to pause, you know, take a step back, really kind of focus on the business, instead of that, that constant kind of in the business where, you know, it doesn't really give you the same opportunity to think about your strategy, think about your plan, think about your focus about actually, what are the important metrics that are going to make this business successful or not, you know, what am I doing that is, you know, kind of more vanity over sanity. And I think it's been, it's been a great experience and opportunity for us, you know, as founders to really kind of use the time to reflect on on our business to reflect on areas that, you know, we see, we need to really kind of accelerate, you know, to support the the continued kind of accelerated growth that we've been experienced as a brand. So, yeah, I mean, I think Looking ahead, now, it's a combination of, you know, one refinement, you know, I think, for us, it's all about the customer experience, it's all about, you know, wanting to create an amazing product, but beyond that, you know, to make sure that our customers really can feel that there's no risk to buying our product, you know, I mean, we have a sock to guarantee if anyone has a problem with their socks, you know, we'll, we'll solve it, we'll solve it, you know, it's, it's just part of the brand that we're trying to create. But I think, you know, looking ahead, it's, it's really just about evolution, it's about, you know, I think if nothing has become more apparent, you know, from this year is it's around making sure that you're supporting needs of customers for lots of different situations. So, you know, hence, you know, boot socks and launching dip socks was kind of like our first real kind of, you know, kind of venture into the outdoor world. I think next year, really, the plan is to is to continue in that and that kind of journey, and really kind of start solving more problems for customers to see your friends perspective that have been telling us this for the last couple of years. So it's, um, it's given us a bit of a rock up our backsides to actually, you know, accelerate a lot of that stuff. So we have, we're really excited. Awesome. Well, I can't wait to see the new stuff. And I'm going to be tuning into the amnesty programme as well. So people can upcycle their socks and pass it on. So it doesn't just have to sit in your garage and bleed your radiators. You know, they can go to good homes and become Yeah, but what we're what we're doing with it is we're actually upcycling them and turning it into, I won't I won't share exactly what it is yet because we were still still kind of being finalised. But basically some some nice kind of accessories for homeless people that struggle with certain things. So they're not sick. They're not they're not staying with socks. So you're gonna farm it out into one big sock. It's gonna break records. But listen, you're doing the Lord's work. Thanks again. Ryan Palmer, co founder of London stock company. Again, you can check them out and get some decent socks for yourself or your loved one at London sock company.com and follow the journey on Instagram as well at London sock Co. Ryan, thanks for taking time out. Thank you for having me. It's been a speakeasy like thanks, Peter. Cheers. Well, how about that, as you could appreciate, I could have talked to Ryan for hours, mainly about Daniel Craig and a little bit about Sox. Why not? But another place another time. In the meantime, make sure you're supporting the good guys and head over to London sock company.com and treat yourself or your loved one to some awesome high quality stocks. That's it from my end. Thanks for tuning in. And if you like what you're hearing, leave a review it does help how he goes and until next time