- Dale Arden Chong |
Happy Socks is expanding in Los Angeles and it’s coming for more. The Swedish lifestyle brand—who also “recently launched swimwear—opened its second Los Angeles location in the heart of the Silverlake neighborhood.
This new brick-and-mortar store, which exemplifies the bright and playful attitude of the brand with its equally vibrant exterior, also includes the brand’s new Creative Hub, lovingly known as “The Rabbit Hole.”
“The Rabbit Hole is just like the one in Alice in Wonderland—something is falling down the Rabbit Hole and you don’t know what will come out of it. It’s a place where magic happens,” said co-Founder and Creative Director Viktor Tell in a statement.
With plans to open more stores in Los Angeles and the overall U.S. market, co-Founder Mikael Söderlindh chat with FashionUnited on how they’re approaching these expansions.
Tell us about why you chose to move from Stockholm to Los Angeles.
We decided to move to L.A. together—We’re more or less like a couple—for us it’s all about continuing our story and moving on to the next chapter of our lives. And the next chapter was heading west; starting small and going big. A part of that is setting up The Rabbit Hole, the new Creative Hub, as well as focusing on the US market which is very important to us going forward. It all came very naturally.
You are opening the Creative Hub. Can you tell us more about what The Rabbit Hole is and how you plan to grow your brand with it?
We started out very small. Coming up with our identity and communication took a great deal of creativity since we didn’t have a big bag of money laying around. And suddenly you end up being a big company which means there’s a lot of corporate involvement and big decisions to make. Viktor and I felt like we need to be innovative and fresh in order to continue to be the market leader in fashion socks, which meant taking a step away from what we created and sort of start over. Of course, we could work with big budgets, but how do we create things with a small budget as we did in the beginning? That’s why we started The Rabbit Hole, so we could focus on brand strengthening activities which basically is anything that we come up with that strengthens our brand. It’s a small office and crew which I think is extremely important when you’re trying to come up with really cool and creative ideas.
You also just launched the second location of Happy Socks in Silverlate and have plans to open a third in Century City. Can you tell us why these specific locations?
We want to be where our consumers are. Now, we have a very big target group. It could be anyone. We like the retail mix that we get in Century City, and the coolness and up-and-coming feeling in the Silverlake location, while Abbot Kinney is more of an established high-end shopping street which gives us a lot of credibility. It gives us a great variety and the ability to service many different communities.
How do you see Happy Socks growing across the US outside of Los Angeles?
Well we’re applying the “L.A.” strategy in NYC, for example. We have one store in Times Square, which is for a wide group of people like tourists. Then we have the SoHo store right next to the Apple Store. And finally, we’re in Brooklyn with the hipster crowd. We’re not set on finding a specific location, we want to have a great mix of locations so we’re accessible to a wide group of people.
In addition to these two store launches, your brand has also expanded to swimwear and beach accessories. Why did you decide to move in this direction?
We thought it was extremely fun to move in this direction and it was one of the Rabbit Hole’s first projects. Our thinking was “well if we’re in L.A. then we need to do swimwear,” and there is this certain kind happiness in creating things, more than an actual logic behind why we came up with it. Just because we’re a big company today, that doesn’t mean everything has to make sense. It didn't make any sense 10 years ago to start Happy Socks and design colorful socks, because there wasn’t a need for [that]. Would it make sense for a sock company to sell swimwear and pool sliders? Probably not, but it does to us because it’s fun. And having fun is what Happy Socks is all about.
Can you explain the connection between your colorful socks and the new swimwear and accessories?
They both make you happy. You’ll be smiling on the beach in your swimwear and you’ll be smiling in your Happy Socks on your way to and from the beach. The swimwear collection has the same patterns as our socks, which lets you mix and match to create your own blend of personal style.Image: Courtesy of Happy Socks