In the spring of 2008, when the United States’ Presidential campaigns were in full swing and political merchandise was hot, Erica Easley, a stylish woman known for wearing shorts and knee socks, had a random idea that turned into a flash of inspiration. She wanted Obama knee socks. But no one made them, so she did… and hosiery history was made.
Erica, a lifelong lover of fashion and words with a professional background in styling, PR, and retail, decided to make the initial run of Obama knee socks on a lark, intending the 1200 pairs she ordered to be a one-off.
Using nothing more than her own two legs to do the talking through her Los Angeles neighborhood, and some counter space at her boyfriend’s vintage clothing store, the world’s first-ever presidential knee socks quickly became a runaway hit, attracting curious stares from passersby, garnering nationwide press (from Marie Claire to LA Weekly and The Oregonian), and making Erica money hand over fist. So where to go from there? The budding entrepreneur’s next move was sheer genius.
As she tells it, “I bought a plane ticket and made my way to the Democratic convention in Denver. I had a giant duffle bag that I dragged around town, and I set up outside the stadium where Obama was giving his acceptance speech. I had a captive audience. I was wearing the socks, kicking up my heels and screaming, ‘Get the world’s first presidential knee socks.’ And I sold every pair I brought.”
With that, a business was born, a brand was launched, and… Erica was having fun, dreaming up what words she would emblazon on her next pair of socks.
Initially called Rock Socks, Erica’s truly unique hosiery company is now known as Gumball Poodle. Inspired by vintage Americana and pop culture – everything from roller skates to Rick James and Cyndi Lauper… one of Erica’s earliest icons – the brand’s quirky, fun, retro, smart, silly, and occasionally outrageous collection of mix and match socks for ladies and gentleman includes over 70 statement making word/phrase styles.
Designed for fashion or sport, every pair of Gumball Poodle socks is made right here in the in the USA – Los Angeles, California to be exact – but can be found on happy, talking legs all over the world. The socks are sold in shops across the US and all the way from snowy Sweden to sunny Australia.
Erica, a creative, passionate, and ballsy Woman You Should Know, grew a random idea into a multimillion dollar sock empire, so we highly recommend you heed her sage advice, “You just have to do what you believe in. The best ideas come from left field.”
Now those are some WYSKy WORDS to live by! So we’re going to follow-up with Erica on this left field idea… wouldn’t it be super cool to have legions of bold women all over the world sporting custom WYSK Gumball Poodle knee socks?!?!