Monday, February 25, 2013

037 Think Big Radio: Jason Grill of Kansas City Startup Sock 101

If you’re a fan of the Kansas City entrepreneurship scene there is a very good chance you know who Jason Grill is.  But even if you don’t know the KC entrepreneur himself, you’ve probably come across many organizations, startups or articles that he’s touched. In addition to being a host of Entrepreneur KC Radio as well as the owner of JGrill Media, Jason is also one of the cofounders, along with Lea Bailes and Dave Feyerabend, of Kansas City’s newest fashion brand, Sock 101.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with Jason this past week at Think Big Partners to put him on the other side of the microphone.  We chatted about his startup endeavors as well as the ins-and-outs of up-and-coming startup, Sock 101.

For those of you not familiar with Sock 101, it is a new Kansas City startup that breaks away from the current model of most of those found in KC. While many startups in the area deal with either tech or mobile, Sock 101 is simply selling (what else?) socks.

Founded in June and pitched back in November 2012 at The Kauffman Foundation’s Startup Showcase 1 Million Cups, Sock 101 is focused on allowing people to step up their sock game with self-expressive high quality socks for $7 each.  Men’s fashion has been evolving in recent years, breaking away from the business standard of navy blue, black and grey. Nowadays, there is an increasing demand to add one’s own personal flair to their attire. The idea that your socks should match the color of your pants has been thrown out the window.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what triggered this revolution in men’s fashion.  Brightly patterned shirts and ties, pocket squares and cufflinks opened the floodgates allowing men of any age to add their own personal style to “traditional” men’s attire. In recent years, with all other articles of clothing well covered, it was finally turn for socks to get their day in the sun.

While other companies are focused on producing stylish “high quality” colorful socks at a price point between $12 and $24 per pair, Sock 101 looks accomplish the same thing, only at a more affordable price.

Though it is a young Kansas City startup, Sock 101 is poised to make big waves not only in the Kansas City entrepreneurship scene, but in the fashion industry as a whole.   

Speaking from my own experience, the socks from Sock 101 are great. They provide enough panache without being gaudy and overbearing.  It should also be noted these socks are super comfortable. The socks can be purchased at local men’s boutiques like Method in the Crossroads as well as online at their website,, with flat rate shipping. For those who want to step up their sock game but don’t want to do a lot of work, Sock 101 also offers a “sock of the month club” that delivers a fresh pair of stylish socks to your door every month.

So what’s next for Jason and his fellow “Sockpreneurs”? Only time will tell, but you can be sure that this KC company will continue its mission of providing stylish professional socks at an affordable price.

When asked how Jason Thinks Big, here’s how he answered: “Anything is possible, the Kansas City community as a whole is super supportive and everyone is doing great things. With something like socks people think you can just grab a pair of the rack and go to someone and say make this. It’s not that easy. It takes a lot of hard work and you have to be thinking big.”

Luckily for the Sockpreneurs, Kansas City has the tools to accomplish something like that.

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