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PDX - Business People

Carrie Atkinson – Founder of Sock It to Me

Thanks to a recent article on inc.com we know that the Portland Oregon area is home to some of the fastest growing women owned companies in the United States including Sock It To Me, an sock company that takes inspiration from the colorful socks that that are well made in South Korea.

Owned by Carrie Atkinson, Sock It to Me was started after she graduated from college in the early 2000’s and found that once she returned from teaching English in South Korea, she couldn’t find the dream job that she always wanted so she started her own company instead.

Not Just Socks, Self-Empowerment and Self Expression

In today’s world where just about everyone has a tattoo and views their body art or piercings as a form of self-expression, Carrie Atkinson and Sock It to Me are one of a kind because they’ve taken socks and transformed them from the drab, colorless piece of clothing that everyone wears into something that can no be used for someone to express themselves.

Carrie has built her company in Portland and is seemingly at the right place and right time in history as more people both young and old want to express themselves in every day life and are turning to socks, body art and makeup to find that venue that they can use for self-expression in the everyday world.

During a recent interview with Forbes, Carrie had this to say about her company:

Why did you start your own company?

I was in Portland, Oregon with a college degree and not able to find a “real job” after two years of looking.  I decided to start a business since I wasn’t getting handed that dream job.

 Why socks?

I taught English in South Korea for one year and loved their colorful and well-made socks.  I wanted to introduce American customers to these styles, so I started importing them.  Eventually, we started designing our own and working directly with the manufacturers in Korea.

What was your first sale like?

I went to Korea and brought back a few samples and started selling them at the Portland Saturday Market out of my little tent back in 2004.  I realized that I was on to something because we moved a lot of product.  In 2005, I saved up my money and went to some apparel trade shows and started selling wholesale.  It just snowballed since then and we’ve been in that cycle of bringing on more people, getting better at data analysis, and selling more product.

How does Sock It to Me make money?

Our business is 90% wholesale, so we sell to retailers that then resell the product. We go to trade shows where buyers of stores come and look for products to fill their stores. We also have sales reps who are independent contractors that have different territories all over the world.  Then we have an in-house sales team that are the ones that do the calling and/or showing up at the trade shows.  10% of our business is direct consumer online.

Learn More About Carrie Atkinson

To learn more about Carrie Atkinson and Sock It to Me, visit their website at https://www.sockittome.com/.

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Matt Higgins, owner of Coava Coffee Roasters in Portland