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Those of you who have been shopping with us for a while might have found out about our ZAP! section by now. If not, it’s where we put items which have been discontinued by their suppliers until they sell out, never to return (though on occasion we’re pleasantly surprised by items making a come-back). Sometimes we’re very nearly out of the item in question by the time we find out it’s not coming back, but sometimes we get one last chance at it….
The Super Chic Cabled Leg Warmers first came across our conference room table two years ago, as Sakura of Tabbisocks was showing us their fall line. We were immediately in awe of them — finally the chunky cables we’d been dreaming of had arrived! I remember thinking they looked just like a classic Irish fisherman’s sweater, but until recently we didn’t know just how accurate that was!
We recently received word that these will not be going forward, so of course we immediately bought up the last of their stock, even though white is the only remaining color. Sadly, we didn’t even realize how unique these really are until they were already on their way out.
At it turns out, every pair of these leg warmers that we ever carried was knitted by one man, who had figured out how to make leg warmers on a sweater knitting machine. They look and feel like rustic sweaters, because they’re basically augmented sweater sleeves! Sadly this year the man who figured out how to make them retired, and was unable to find an apprentice before doing so.
To be perfectly clear, Nara (AKA Sock City), Japan is a town which has been devoted to sock making for over a century. It’s where they make the amazing toe socks with the hand woven seams that don’t rub your feet the wrong way. The people who work in the 200 sock factories of Nara are considered artisans within the industry. We think it’s pretty telling of the amount of time and skill that went into making these, that in a city full of dedicated sock makers, nobody could be found to take on this endeavor.
And so it is with a heavy heart that we offer you the last of these amazing, sweatery leg warmers. We hope that when you wear yours, you will think of the anonymous sock genius who single-handedly made them possible. We think they’re even more amazing once you know their story!
Nothing spells “summertime adventures” quite like a set of abandoned train tracks. Add some cuffed jeans and simple sneakers, and you’ve got the makings of a classic coming-of-age story… or perhaps a reshoot of some of our favorite socks for summer!
It was an overcast morning in early September when we set out for a photoshoot featuring A Chevrons down by the river. The first crisp hints of autumn hung in the air, betraying no hint of the afternoon heat which was to follow. As we came upon some abandoned tracks, the nostalgia was almost tangible, calling out to us to follow those tracks. “Here be adventures!” they called.
Not being ones to flirt with danger, we were pretty cautious in how we approached our adventure, staying well off to the side of the active tracks. We managed to find a fully abandoned part of the line, as evidenced by the vegetative growth obscuring some of the ties, and we ventured onto the rails for a moment there. We found a lovely old can and had some fun kicking it around. When was the last time you played kick-the can?
As with every good adventure, we found some pretty cool stuff on ours! We came upon a pile of unused railroad ties and stopped for a rest as we posed for close-ups. We all paused there for a bit and contemplated nature, the human condition, really good socks, and possibly lunch. The abandoned portion of track led us to an old train car which somebody appears to be renovating, using a lovely shade of blue reminiscent of our own indigo headquarters building.
Much like the summer itself, our adventure sadly had to come to an end. We may never reach the terminus point of those tracks, or find out what awaits beyond the next bend, but at least we all made it back from our hike without sore feet.
As business starts to really pick up for the fall season, we’ve decided it’s about time we started a new tradition around here. For 14 years we’ve been showing you our socks and how style them, and while we will continue to do so, we think it’s about time we recognized the style and talents of our amazing customer base!
In case you didn’t catch our latest newsletter, you can check it out here – in it we announced our new monthly contest, guidelines, and gave some examples of the sort of outfit shots we’re looking for.
To sum it up, we’re now taking submissions for next month’s contest, with a theme of Halloween costumes! Please read the following rules; entries that do not follow these cannot be considered.
• Photos are due October 13th and can be emailed to email@example.com; please let us know which products you used, and tell us a little about your costume, including which Sock Dreams product is featured!
• Your costume must feature socks, tights, and/or accessories purchased from Sock Dreams, and they must be clearly visible as part of the costume.
• Photos must be taken for our contest; no photos from past years or photos submitted to other contests.
• Please keep your costume work-safe and free of any offensive subject matter.
• Make sure your photo is well-lit, in-focus, and there is no clutter (or toilets!) in the background.
We will be picking our three favorite winners each month, and publishing them in the following edition of Dreamer Dress-Up, as well as sending each winner a $30 giftcard.
To receive our newsletters, including those announcing the theme for each successive contest, sign up here! We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Well dreamers, we’ve come a long way since the days of yore, when Mr Natosi (known to friends & coworkers as Bsti) single-handedly ran the shipping department: back then records were hand written on actual paper, if you can believe that. Nowadays Mr Natosi has to spend more time making “Big Picture” decisions with our Officers Department, and it now takes three dedicated shippers to keep the orders moving out the door within 24 hours! This is a story about those three shippers (and we’ll be getting back to Bsti and the other Officers in our next installment of Department Spotlight) and the integral work that they do for us.
The longest-standing member of our shipping team would be Ryan (or “Yon High Chancellor of the Excellent Guild of Packagers” as he apparently likes to be called –this alone is probably more telling of his personality than anything that will follow), who has been with us since August of 2007. He spends his days packaging socks for shipment as fast as is humanly possible while maintaining a high level of accuracy, as well as helping people to track down their socks when packages go missing in the post. His favorite socks are Dreamer Socks — any Dreamer Socks, because in his opinion, these are the perfect year-round sock. The coverage adds enough warmth for all but the coldest days, and the weave gives enough breathability for all but the hottest days. Lastly, if you hate scrunchy, slouchy socks like me, then you’ll be pleased to know that these tend to stay where you put them on your legs. His favorite parts of the job are the inclusive atmosphere, awesome coworkers, pride in great service, invoice drawings (of which he is a master) and lighthearted snark (of which he is even more of a master). That’s a lot of favorites! When asked what advice he would give to our customers, he had this to say: Patience. Insurance. Double check shipping addresses before submitting an order, as autofill has garbled many over the years. USPS is very good at what they do, but if you’re worried about the status of an order, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will provide additional help as we can.
Next up is Sixten, who started less than a month after Ryan. His favorite part of working for Sock Dreams is his coworkers, which is the only acceptable answer (kidding!). Back to the socks: his favorites are Nouvella’s Space Dyed Knee Highs, because like all space dyed socks, no two are alike; but these usually form wild patterns of stripes, rather than just being kind of spotty. The stripes are randomly generated! Within the shipping department, Sixten is the go-to guy for international shipping questions – he’s also the genius who brought you free international shipping during the month of July this summer! His advice in regards to sock transportation: No need to ask for quick processing, every order is shipped out incredibly quickly. If you need socks by a certain day, though, call us and let us know! We’ll work something out so you get the socks in time.
The third and final department member is the incredible Tuesday! She joined forces with us just about a year ago. In addition to the obligatory love of her coworkers, she really appreciates the discount on socks and HEALTH INSURANCE. Her favorite socks are the Long Cuffable Scrunchable Socks, in any color. Why? Because I can wear them every possible way with pretty much any outfit. Tuesday is known for doing two jobs at once with great efficiency; assembling orders with the rest of the Stock Room Team, and then running off to Shipping to package them! Since we ship everything within 24 hours (Sundays aside) that’s both incredibly helpful and impressive. Tuesday advises you to be sure to carefully read your email confirmations for address or order problems so we can catch them before they are packaged up, or worse, out the door!
So there we have it: shipping! As you can see, the common themes in this department are hilarity and a sincere desire to get socks to their assigned feet in the most efficient and timely manner possible. You may now rest assured that your purchases will pass through the incredibly capable hands of at least one of these talented individuals. Should you find yourself in need of more details, check out our Shipping Information page, but as mentioned above, this trio is always happy to help via phone or email!
One of the really cool things about the sock business is that we have a slow season, and although it’s rather less slow these days than it used to be, it does give us time to take field trips to some more exciting photo locations! We recently showed you the new Gelato cart behind our shop, and now we’d like to share another great reason to come visit Sellwood: Oaks Park!
A lot of Portlanders don’t even realize that we have our own wee amusement park down in Oaks Bottom. If you live in Sellwood, though, there’s no mistaking the sound of children screaming (with joy!) that fills the summer air. What’s really special about the park is that many of its buildings have been there since it opened in 1905, advertised as “Portland’s Coney Island on the Willamette”. The oldest remaining ride was built just a few years later, in 1911. In fact, that’s just the ride we chose for this photoshoot – the Carousel!
We were lucky enough to be let in before hours by their lovely and highly knowledgeable manager, Mary Beth, who told us a little bit about the carousel. It’s called a menagerie carousel, because it is comprised of various animals, including a few that are quite unusual! An all-horse carousel is called a Merry-Go-Round, but the hand-carved creatures on this one go above and beyond!
We had so much fun with this shoot that we’re going to have to go back! If you ever find yourself visiting our shop in Sellwood, be sure to check out Oaks Park. It’s a place of wonder and nostalgia for all kids, even if you’re only a kid at heart!