How Celebrating Unconventionality Led Sock Candy To Success
Tucked into shoes and barely visible, socks are very seldom the first thing people notice in an outfit.
That’s unless one’s donning a pair from Sock Candy, in which case burying it in fully-covered footwear or pants would be going against their calling.
Designed and run by fashion influencer Mary Gui, Sock Candy’s designs of (yup, you guessed it) socks are much like her personality – bold, whimsical, and colorful – and are meant to be the focal point.
Even though some may consider this style to go against the rulebook of traditional fashion guidelines, it’s what’s allowed Sock Candy to shine through, even landing it features in top fashion publications.
Here’s the story behind Sock Candy and its founder Mary Gui.
Plugging a Gap in the Market
Where most people would pair accessories like jewelry or bags to their outfits, Mary Gui had a different focus – one driven by her personal love for socks and sandals.
“I’ve always loved pairing different socks with sandals and heels and loafers,” explains Mary.
This rather unorthodox method of styling meant options were in short supply, and it didn’t take long for Mary to realize that the market wasn’t able to offer her the specific look she was going for.
“I always found that it was really hard to find socks that were specifically designed for the fashion girl and that were designed to be seen and to really complete an outfit rather than be an afterthought,” says Mary.
So in true entrepreneurial spirit, she decided to design her own.
Mary describes her style as being suited for the “inner maximalist” and one that’s meant to oil the engines within all of us that challenge us to be different.
In fact, take one look at any product from Sock Candy and it’s immediately apparent that these aren’t your standard sock designs.
Bursting with individuality and character, these socks aren’t destined to be worn like regular socks.
They’re made to be flaunted and paraded proudly by their wearers.
Seeing Beauty in Unconventionality
Mary sees beauty in unconventionality.
Where traditional fashion dictates one should complement their clothing, she says to clash.
Part of the joy she gets from running Sock Candy is being able to try new – and jarringly contrasting – designs.
“I like experimenting with different colors and prints. I even like, you know, clashing things,” says Mary.
That’s become the signature style of the brand, no doubt shaped by Mary herself and her bold fashion choices.
Seeing an outfit as more of an outlet for expression, Mary thinks most people take fashion too seriously.
“They’re always like, ‘You know, there’s [sic] rules. You can’t wear this, you can’t wear that. Don’t wear this with this,’” says Mary.
She finds these to be too restrictive and is on a path to normalizing the unorthodox. In her book, there’s one rule and one rule only.
“I just want it to be happy and joyful.”
And they are.
Daring Designs And Personality
The first thing that stands out about Sock Candy’s designs is their striking colors and patterns.
Mary partners with world-class print designers from fashion houses to create unique prints topped with a touch of elegance.
One example of this is the Ribbon Roses Sheer Ankle Sock, a vibrant design featuring flowers and ribbon roses on nude, sheer fabric.
More than just sheer socks, Sock Candy’s portfolio spans several different styles.
Some products draw inspiration from various time periods to create a unique juxtaposition of quirkiness and vintage.
For instance, the ’80s Fruits Crew Sock is the brand’s modern take on 1980s’ fashion, known for flashy styles and rich, saturated colors.
There’s also the ’70s Psychedelic Ankle Sock, whose funky print is simply oozing with color and detail.
Though Sock Candy’s fun designs are the first thing that catches one’s eye, the brand is known for more than just that.
Mary also places heavy emphasis on comfort. Her socks are made with high-quality 200 needle count machines, which can hold needles as thin as 1/50th of an inch.
This precision allows the creation of the fine material Mary uses. Combined with mercerized cotton to increase strength, resistance, and smoothness, the end product is quality socks that add superior comfort – all without jeopardizing style.
And it’s this exact nature that drove Mary to participate in a reality competition TV series.
If you thought the name Mary Gui sounded familiar, that’s because you may have seen her on The Big Shot with Bethenny. Mary was a contestant on the show, fighting to become the second-in-command to a business empire.
Vogue Feature: A Dream Come True
Starting a business is a big move. Requiring a huge amount of commitment, most entrepreneurs remain skeptical about their decision well after launching.
Mary’s no exception to this.
To stay motivated, she’d set goals for herself, one of which was to get into Vogue – the holy grail of fashion brands.
Though it might have seemed like a far-fetched dream then, it didn’t actually take long for it to come true.
“I remember going to my Shopify website and I saw one click from Vogue,” explains Mary.
Excited, she headed over to vogue.com and found an article titled “Brighten Up Your Day Ahead With These 13 Items” in which Sock Candy was featured.
It was a moment she’d never forget, and one that cast away any lingering doubts about starting Sock Candy.
“Oh my god, like, the fact that a Vogue editor thought that these socks are stylish enough to include in Vogue…”
“I just felt at the moment that this was the right decision, even though it was so early on,” says Mary.
Next Goal: Revolutionizing Hiring Practices in Fashion
Looking ahead, Mary has big plans for Sock Candy.
As she mentions in an interview with Coveteur, fashion is “personal and intuitive.” This is certainly reflected in Sock Candy, as the brand’s personality encourages individuality and personal style.
For this very reason, Mary’s next goal is to help others break into the industry.
She’s working on a project that will provide women in high school and college with opportunities to work in the fashion industry – regardless of their past experience.
This approach is, no doubt, an extension of Sock Candy’s ethos, which Mary will most likely continue to channel into this upcoming program.
“It’s really all about celebrating your unconventional spirit and breaking those rules in fashion,” says Mary.
“That is the heart of Sock Candy.”
Sock Candy’s products are available wholesale from their Handshake profile page. Prices start at $18.