"Brand licensing and trademarks are a part of our plans for the year 2020": Ankur Jain

In an exclusive conversation Ankur Jain, Founder, Socks Republic tells about emerging opportunities in the socks category.
Ankur Jain

The socks category has been evolved immensely over the years. How do you trace the journey of socks category as the basic essential to fashion accessory?

At Sock republic, we believe a pair of socks could be both practical and fun. Gone are the days when socks were just considered as a basic necessity. Socks have now evolved into an apparel of fashion that one can wear to the boardroom, and on a day out with friends. 

  Kindly shed light on your entrepreneurial journey. How did you think of initiating retail venture? And, why only socks? Also, shed light on initial challenges?

My entrepreneurial journey began in the year 2015 when I quit my job as a digital consultant with a multi-national firm and started a small digital agency called "StayDigital" (StayDigital.com), with a team of two. 

I am a keen observer of the niche market, and what's better than the immense "Innerwear" industry.  I have always been fond of printed socks, that could go equally well with my jeans and my formal attire but I couldn't find more than a few colored stripes, or dots. I was really bored of those pack of 3's & 5's and I knew there is a huge fashion gap in the Indian socks market when I looked at some of the international brands like "Happy Socks" & "Stance". By late 2017, I was determined to offer the coolest socks in India!  

The biggest challenge was the product manufacturing part when, with very little knowledge, I had to deal with dozens of manufacturers and I wasn't ready to compromise on both style and comfort (design & fabric). I took it as my biggest learning phase. 

Sock Republic, as a socks brand/startup, came into existence on January 26th, 2018, hence the name "Sock Republic"!
Being an internet person for most of my career, the only platform I could think of first to sell my socks was an official website and, setting up a user-friendly online retail platform was not much of a big task for me. I must say the response through the official website has been a little overwhelming for me with a full-time business already taking most of my time.

 Kindly shed light on your current distribution in the Online as well Offline space? Going forward what are the plans to scale up the distribution? Are you working with any modern retailer as the part of distribution strategy?

Our range of fun socks is currently sold online (only) on our official website "SockRepublic.in", Amazon, LBB and a couple of other affiliate websites. 

 Going forward, we are planning to collaborate with most of the fashion e-commerce marketplaces and also to get offline with mall-style kiosks, multi-branded stores, gift shops and more. We are not working with a modern retailer as of now.

Have you done any brand licensing collaboration for any national or international IP such as Disney, Marvel, Snoopy amongst others. If yes, then provide the details, how do you leverage out of this strategy ?

Brand licensing and trademarks are a part of our plans for the year 2020. 

It is a bootstrap venture or have raised any sorts of funds so far? Or plan to?

We are bootstrapping so far, but we are planning to get in touch with a couple of VC funds for the seed funding.

Who do you see as your competition within same space?

We consider SoxyToes.com & TheMojaClub.com as our potential competitors. 

Kindly highlight your best sellers along with starting and exiting price points?

Our range of "Argyle Dress Socks" has been a continuous best-seller since the beginning. On our official website, our socks cost from INR 249 to INR 349.

According to you, what are the latest consumption trends in the socks category?

When it comes to the right audience for fun socks, everyone has his or her own choice of socks and I believe the latest consumption trend lies in the theme of socks. Superhero socks, fruit-themed socks, marvel socks, Avenger socks, pet-themed socks, food-themed socks, bakery-themed socks, animal-themed socks, and the list goes on. The better the collection, the better the market share. 
We are continuously working on our designs to meet the demand of customers ranging from Millenials to middle-aged corporate people. 

 At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?

We aim to be the top designer socks brand in India that people can rely on for their socks and gifting needs.

Ankur Jain