Why Chivaz is not competing with Stance, SmartWool, DarnTough, HUF, SockItToMe or any other sock brand
The year was 2006. I had this idea that I want to start a sock company named after a goat. Everything about it seemed right. No one was making badass socks that stayed up all day and were super comfortable. In fact no one was really making socks at all (actually some of these companies might have been making socks, but I couldn’t find them).
Let’s just say that in my early research when I would go into stores and ask them about carrying bold socks for guys, they would laugh me out of the store. Now when I go in, it is more likely that the store is already carrying 2–3 other brands!
So at one point in this business I had no competition and at another point, there is a ton of competition. Let’s take a look at some of the top dogs:
They blew open this market. They were the first brand to really focus on making socks a statement of one’s wardrobe.
Early on they focused on the same target market that I was focused on. That made it really hard for me to get anyone in that market to take me seriously. On top of that, Toy Machine, Huf, Independent and lots of other brands started making socks for skaters as well. Oh well…
Stance just came out with an ad campaign featuring Willow Smith (I think it is Willow?) and they are also the main sponsors of the NBA. They also make underwear. They are the definition of mainstream. Congratulations Stance. Chivaz is not competing in your league. You guys rock. You should start making shoes next and let Nike sweat a little bit.
They make socks, among many other things, that have a weed leaf on it. Remember in the 90’s when getting a tattoo was rare and something that only the bad kids would do? And now every teenage girl has a full sleeve that would make Axl Rose’s tatts look conservative…
Well, smoking weed is legal for a huge part of the population and in five years people won’t need to announce that they are doing it by wearing it on their feet.
The HUF socks are badass now, but they have a ton of other things that they can fall back on when weed socks are not all the rage…
SmartWool was bought by Timberland a few years ago. People don’t talk about this brand the same way they used to. I still think they make a pretty good sock, but I don’t know of anyone wearing them exclusively.
I haven’t worn Darn Tough, but they look awesome. I love high quality socks. I am not the biggest fan of merino wool, but some people know how to do it right. These guys have a corner on a certain part of the market, but there is still plenty of room
Sock It To Me:
I love my Sock It To Me socks. I have several pairs. Awesome designs and a unique fit. I know they make men’s socks, but it seems like they are more heavily focused on women. Chivaz growth will not come at Sock It To Me’s expense. SITM continues to expand their brand into different areas. We have some overlap, but a different message that we are sending out. I think Sock it To Me’s message is all about having fun. I would totally buy a pair of SITM just to pair with an outfit that I might only wear once. They are great quality, but I still consider them almost a “novelty” sock.
Sock Guy seems to have the corner on custom socks. They also do a ton of just fun socks. That is awesome. I am glad for them. They are all about getting different logos of companies on their socks. Chivaz is going to do this a little bit, but it is going to be more like collabs rather than just a white label sock that anyone can customize. I wish that I had the luxury to make a million different designs, but at this point, only the best ones will make it.
CHIVAZ MAKES ONLY SOCKS, BUT REPRESENTS SOMETHING DEEPER THAN SOCKS:
Chivaz has a message to spread. If this is not your first exposure to my ramblings, you are familiar with what we are trying to communicate.
Stop Sheepin’, Get Goatin’
Authenticity is the backbone of the Chivaz business. I am asking people to be true to themselves, just as I am being true to myself. It is almost a social experiment. Can people make a living by focusing their energy their passions?
There are a ton of ways to make money in this world, but is there a way to do that that might require you a few years of getting out of your comfort zone. Of finding your inner-goat. Of teaching yourself something new everyday. Of adding more to this world than you take out. Of creating beauty and happiness that you can share with others.
I know that Chivaz are not everyone’s passion. In fact, it is quite a small trip of people that can identify with what I’m doing. But, I am just going to keep doing what I am doing.
Iis not about competition with others — it is a drive that comes within me.
I swam competitively for years. In fact, I still swim competitively. Outside of the top half dozen swimmers in the world, there is no money to be made the sport. Yet, I put in hours of early mornings and long days of training. I almost drowned in the amount of pressure that I put myself under to perform. But when I look back at it, there wasn’t anyone that I was competing against, it was just me against myself. I had many years of unhappy training because I wished I was doing something else. Something more fun or something a little more varied or a little less strenuous.
This time around, I have the same drive, but it is me within myself, not against it. I am try to be fully present at my work. I understand that these actions are mine and that it is only me applying the pressure to make it happen. This is not a competition, it is a choice.
I‘ve been crafting Chivaz designs for a decade now and I figure at some point, this has got to hit. I figure that the trends will eventually come around to Chivaz. I might have been a bit too early with the idea and then a bit too late with the product the first time around, but this time, I am ready.
I have three new designs already at the manufacturer and I hope to have them ready to ship in a couple of months.There are more and more people out there that tell me how much they love their Chivaz. My instagram is full of people enjoying themselves in their Chivaz and my sketchpad is full of new styles that will come out at some point in the future.
One of these days Chivaz is going to start making money, it just has to.