Brooke English, owner and original sock fairy, marks The Sock Drawer’s 10th anniversary by looking back on the years since opening her shop in her hometown of San Luis Obispo, California, and looking ahead to the future.
After 10 years of getting to know all you sock lovers out there and working hard to provide you with small joys, I want to pause for just a moment, take a breath, and express how much you mean to me.
I didn’t know early in my life that starting a sock business was in my future. But the stars aligned, and by the time I pulled all the fishy equipment out of the defunct sushi restaurant in a little space in downtown San Luis Obispo and scrubbed the place down, I knew the store could succeed. Not everyone I encountered saw that potential, but I knew the power of a product that adds joy to people’s lives.
Now, after a decade of in the original shop and success I never imagined online, our sock-loving family is larger than ever, and we’ve reached tens of thousands of feet around the world!
Here in San Luis Obispo, I’ve been so lucky to work in a community that supports its small businesses and to join other business leaders in supporting each other.
The downtown shop has always been an extension of myself, a place where I feel most comfortable and where I thrive. When I went online in 2011, I didn’t know if that same vibe could work over the internet. As it turns out, people everywhere wanted to be part of our sock family!
The world of crazy socks attracts a certain kind of shopper, as warm, colorful and bright as the socks we love. I have spent countless hours getting to know you sock lovers, trying my best to find the styles that put a smile on your face. And as much as I have tried to bring something special into your lives, I’m sure I’m the one who’s been rewarded more.
You have changed the trajectory of my life. My kids attend the school they do because of one customer’s advice. I exchange holiday gifts with others. I get to show my children that they can grow up and love what they do. I get to be a woman running a strong business that employs an amazing creative team of women and men. I get to give back to schools, the arts and community groups in need. That’s all thanks to you.
I’ve learned more than I can describe these years — weathering a recession, teaching myself how to sell things online, pushing through exhaustion and 10 holiday seasons, and growing my team of trusty sock fairies. I love that I get to keep learning and challenging myself, and I know there’s only more ahead.
Looking on to the next 10 years, it’s hard to say what will come. I’ll definitely still be chatting with customers in San Luis Obispo and finding a few extra minutes to write notes to customers at the holidays. Our team will grow, and hopefully this amazing community of sock fans will continue to grow.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Today I just want to say thanks.
Thank you to my family and my team who have supported my whims from the beginning and who make them happen every day. Thank you to all the business partners, drivers and delivery folks who are practically family now. And thank you to all you customers out there who have come into my life and who have let me into yours. You are the reason I do this — and the reason I get to do this.
Thanks for it all, and cheers to the last and next 10 years!