There’s an unspoken code that lurks in the world of men’s fashion, waiting to attach itself to anyone slightly unsure about colour coordination or the appropriate length for one’s pants. Simply put, the code translates “well-dressed” into “beige-slacks-and-matching-socks” – a wonderfully safe space for the male mind, and a terribly tedious one too.
Enter Nic Harry, the creative virtuoso behind the Nic Harry brand (formerly NicSocks) and the glorious liberator of the hesitant male wardrobe. We picked Nic’s brain on the significance of social media for a start-up, the challenges of e-commerce and of course, the story behind his epic toe snugglers. This post goes out to the boys we love (and their socks that we hate).
Okay, we have to know… why socks?
The short answer is, why not socks? The longer answer is that I wanted a challenge, I wanted to remind myself that business could be fun and I wanted to show South Africans that you don’t need a ton of funding to set up and grow a business. I started this company 2 years ago with R5000 and it’s now my full time job. Socks are like death and taxes, everyone needs them. I make socks fun and accessible.
You managed to set up an awesome online business in record time (six weeks!). What were the challenges you initially faced?
The only challenge that matters is getting traffic to your website. That was the challenge at day one and it’s still the challenge for me and other e-commerce stores today.
We’re big fans of your social media channels. How has your (totally gorgeous) Instagram account helped build your brand?
Initially I was using Instagram as a way to communicate visually with a unique target audience but very quickly realised that Instagram is a great sales platform. If your products look visually appealing enough, people will buy, wear, photograph them and share their style. When this happens, a lot of the time I’ll make a sale. I do feel like I’m struggling to find the Nic Harry voice in our Instagram account at the moment, so we’re experimenting with different shots, themes and angles.
You’ve recently changed the name of your business – what was the motivation for this?
We grew out of our socks! The rebrand is really all about expansion. The sock market is quickly becoming a popular space but long term I see the real growth in men’s accessories, not in socks on their own. Socks will probably always be our driving force but we like to help men understand how to match socks to their outfits using things like pocket squares, ties and lapel pins. I’m also taking the brand into a more limited edition, handmade and premium space. NicSocks is our funky, fun sub-brand that will live on in other business areas.
And now for the big question: what is your absolute favourite sock design of all time?
Without a doubt the first is my favourite. The Barbershop Sock is not only our biggest selling sock; it’s become our iconic sock too. It’s the sock that people expect me to be wearing when they meet me for the first time. We even made Baby Barbers to match.
So, boys – are you ready to toss your sorrowful socks and invest in a collection you can be proud of? Find them here (link: https://www.nicharry.com/) and while you’re at it, pick up a couple of pocket squares and ties too. Your wardrobe thanks you.
(Written with love by You&Me’s awesome copywriter: Jenny Coulson)