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With Spring underway and new items rolling in, we felt it was the perfect time to introduce you to the part of our stockroom team that deals with new and seasonal items! While our house brands — Dream Stockings and Dreamer Socks — usually vary only when our yarn supplies run out, our other suppliers are constantly changing! And so it falls upon the part of our stockroom team called “Upstairs” (a holdover from when Sock Dreams was first starting out in a multistory house) to make room for the ever changing selection of new styles!
While we have a lot of hands from various departments assembling orders in the stockroom, the actual organization of this department as well as the huge responsibility of receiving and keeping track of our incoming shipments falls on the shoulders of two ladies: Brenna and Tori.
Brenna started at Sock Dreams in 2007, and does a crazy amount of behind-the-scenes work here, including writing a weekly Sock Journal – somehow she never runs out of inspiration! Her main duty is that of Stockroom Manager, though, and it’s a good thing that she’s a multitasking expert – as she puts it, “The Stock Room team works together to receive stock from our dozens of suppliers, enter it so our awesome customers can buy it and get it put away so us Dreamers can easily and quickly grab what we need for folks’ orders.”
“We also do behind-the-scenes work keeping up with figuring out if a style is gone forever or just for a season, making styles easier to find when searching and keeping an eye out for changes in product.” Whew! It’s okay though – this job can be very satisfying to the right type of brain: “Working in the Stock Room is like playing Tetris, only with way more fun variables to sort and swap and fit.”
Unfortunately, there are some limitations to what advanced Tetris skills can achieve. “It’s sad stuff, but we haven’t cracked the science of wormhole storage space, so we are limited in what all we can fit into our stockroom (and still make it easier for Dreamers to get at for orders—a lot of us are short). That’s why sometimes we won’t carry all of a supplier’s styles, or all the colours and variations of a style.”
Brenna’s favorite items (shown above, on the right) are the Harajuku Arm Warmers and Easy Does It midcalves. “The Harajuku Arm Warmers are so perfect I have to keep from singing their praises constantly on the Sock Journal. About one million great colours, a solid fit for a wide range of hands, so soft once they’re washed! And, and, they have held up through the endless attack I put them through. Sure, they will pill a little as the world rubs up against them, but that’s what sweater shavers are for. I have a pair that I got because they had a hole in them and in the probably 3+ years of regular wear that hole has never gotten bigger.
“But, if I’ve got to pick a sock, then it is the Sockwell shorter styles, like the Easy Does It Relaxed Fit Striped Midcalf. They are seriously comfortable crews that cushion and don’t bite in at all. I have had a crush on the Plush Relaxed Fit Midcalf for a while, because they’re full terry inside and I’m a sucker for terry.”
Brenna’s assistant, Tori, is a newer recruit, starting in 2012. Tori’s primary concern is keeping everything stocked, and that’s a big job for one little lady! Of course, sometimes the ability to stock socks is out of our control, but Tori has some tips on how to be proactive while waiting on stock: “To be notified when an item is restocked, just go to the product page for the item you want, enter your email address, and we’ll notify you when it’s here!”
Tori’s favorite legwear is the Floral Bloom Lace Tights from Leg Avenue. “The pattern is so elegant, but adds and extra flare to make any one of my outfits complete. Because of their elegant design I was able to wear them in my last semi-professional job, and everybody loved them! I can wear these any time of the year, although in winter I’d layering them with some color tights, but I wear these a lot more during the warmer months under skirts and shorts. Even with a lot of wear, what little holes I get haven’t gotten much bigger, but with the design of these tights, I don’t really notice them.”
When asked what her favorite part of the job was, Tori’s reply was in classic Dreamer style, “Being surrounded by so many awesome socks I never knew I love, but most importantly it’s the people I work with. It makes coming in to work fun every day!” Indeed, Tori. Indeed.
Really, you could argue that anything human hands finish or help machines produce is “handmade.” However, when things are knit or sewn by hand, or an artisan’s hands take a machine-made blank and turns it into a little work of art, we consider that hand made or altered and we have a category just for that!
Our Hand Made and Altered section is filled with delights that make for lovely gifts (for others or yourself) that have a personal touch. From hand screen-printed or dyed to hand-assembled or knit, these styles are produced in small batches, often just for us!
Silk-screening is hard work! We know from printing our logo t-shirts! But, a t-shirt is pretty simple to print on. The skill and quality of both Nylon Journal and Polonova in printing their pretties continues to impress us.
Nylon Journal’s USA made tights are hand-printed in New York city!
Polonova’s gloves and trouser socks are hand-printed much closer to home for us, right here in Portland, actually! And, just like Nylon Journal, both the knee-high trouser sock blanks and the glove blanks (fingerless or otherwise) are made in the USA, too.
A trippier option is Love Lite Precision Tie Dye, hand-dyed confections of glorious and brilliant tie dye on (mostly) our house brand styles.
Una, based just North of us in Seattle, are hand-sewn and silk-screened. We also get to pick the colour combos, based on seasonal availability, so a little bit of us is in there too, but just a little, most of it is the wonderful folks of Una!
Texture Clothing’s arm warmers are not only hand-made, they’re produced with scraps from Texture’s clothes-making process, where “nothing is wasted and everything is wanted”.
Of course, because these styles are all hand made or altered in small batches, they run out quickly, so grab what you love while you can! If you miss out, just sign up for email notification and you’ll know the same day we do that a fresh batch is in stock and ready to buy!
Nestled in a turn of the century house in the historic Sellwood neighborhood, recessed from busy 13th street just off of SE Nahalem is the Sock Dreams brick and mortar store. Here, you’ll find many of the items we sell on our online store, as well as several other shop exclusive styles. People as far away as Eastern Europe have been known to make pilgrimages to the shop, while visiting the Portland area, but the busiest time for our little shop is always the Holidays.
From Black Friday until almost the New Year, our shop is a bustle with folks getting warm, cozy, kitschy, fashionable, soft, funny and cute socks, tights and other accessories for their loved ones. The Sock Dreams shop team is four people strong and they do their best to help our customers find the perfect gift.
Pictured here, is our shop crew wearing some of their favorite socks.
First up is Rose, who has been working with us since August 2012 and, like many of us, has noticed a drastic change in her wardrobe-Waking up each morning and planning a whole outfit around my socks is awesome. Best dress code ever. Socks Dreams has filled me with so much confidence in my body/legs that I went from wearing a dress or skirt once a year to weddings to wearing them every day.
Rose is wearing the Sock It To me Dinomite knee high– I’m the weird one; I’ll just start with that. Every day I layer and mash weird colors together to make my personality jump out of my socks.
Rose spends much of her time at the shop picking out shop exclusives and helping customers.
In terms of tips on shopping for the holidays- Shop early! We have a few select holiday styles that are shop exclusive and they will be going fast.
Next is Gelsey, the Assistant Shop Manager, Gelsey has been with Sock Dreams since August 2010.
When asked what her favorite part of working here is- Hands down: the people. I love being friends with all of my coworkers. Best. Coworkers. Ever.
Gelsey wears Sock Dreams own brand of cotton slouch sock– I like wearing my socks scrunched down around mid-calf high boots, and I love the Cotton Slouch Socks because they actually hold their slouch rather than slowly sliding down to the bottom of my foot during the day.
Her tip for holiday shopping- The store and web site sometimes have different items. If you’re coming in for something you saw on the web site, make sure to call ahead so we can hold it at the shop for you.
Then there’s Laurel, our vivacious Shop Manger. Laurel has worked for Socks Dreams since August of 2008 and also loves all her co-workers.
Laurel is wearing a brand that is new to Sock Dreams, and we are all totally in love with- I really like the Sockwell compression knee highs because I’m on my feet a lot. They stay up great without being too tight at the top. They have a nice, cushy foot that’s great for boots and a toe seam that’s not very noticeable. They’re warm, they’re cute, and I’ve worn and washed them several times and they hardly show any wear. I especially like them when I go to the Timbers game and stand on cold concrete for 90+ minutes. Go Timbers! The Timbers being Portland’s pro soccer team.
We’re also part of a fantastic local network of shops where you can earn points to gain rewards- Sock Dreams is proud to be a part of the Supportland network. With Supportland, the customer has one card (or a phone app) that they can use at a ton of rad locally-owned businesses to earn rewards. With more businesses joining the network all the time, you can earn points every time you shop, and then turn around and use those points for coupons, gift cards, and other free stuff!
Last, but by no means least, is our newest shop employee Sabrina! Sabrina has been with us since July of this year and is a fantastic addition.
Her favorite part of working at Sock Dreams, so far, is- Helping customers find the perfect pair of socks!
Sabrina wears another house brand favorite, the O Dreamy’s in Heliotrope- They’re super soft, have a great texture and are subtle, yet visually interesting.
Sabrina’s holiday shopping tip- When it comes to returns, I would suggest calling us at the shop with any questions regarding what is acceptable for refund/ exchange. Also, I would suggest asking about a certain pattern/design they may not see in the store. We keep track of all customer product requests and try to meet them when placing orders for future stock.
These ladies work really hard to make your shopping experience effortless; they’re always happy to help you find the perfect thing. If you’re in the Portland area, come on by and say hello!
This weekend, September 21st and 22nd, Sock Dreams will be vending at Portland’s own Rose City Comic Con. Now in it’s second year, Rose City, or as it affectionately know as RCCC, will feature several amazing celebrity guests- Jewel Staite from Firefly, Avery Brooks from Deep Space Nine, Lee Arenberg and Martin Klebba from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies AND Mr. John “Bender” and “Jake the Dog” DiMaggio.
But of all the celebrity guests, comic artists and exhibitors, we are most excited about one guest in particular; the creator of the Sock Dreams logo, Echo X Chernik !
Niqkita was first made aware of Echo’s work through the Sock Dreams web designer Olivia, who knew Niqkita’s affinity for Alphonse Mucha and that she was looking for someone to design a logo for the fledgling company. Niqkita contacted Echo and they began emailing back and forth discussing what Niqkita had in mind for the logo and how it would fit into her business. Before she knew it, the logo lady was created.
The intention with the logo was always that her socks could be changed, but in the past couple years we’ve been radical about our changes, creating seasonal and event specific stickers and the word is, Echo loves it!
Come by our booth at RCCC, #720 to grab one of our Rose City Comic Con logo lady stickers, and then head to Echo’s booth #903 to get it signed.
We’ll also be giving away a pair of our con exclusive RCCC socks, made by Gumball Poodle, so if you’re at the Con this weekend check our Facebook page for more details.
See ya there!
If you’re joining us at KumoriCon today, come and find us! The first 6 people to give us the password today gets a mystery denomination Sock Dreams Gift Card!
Today’s password is Sōun (層雲) or ‘Stratus’.
While we will accept either the Japanese or English word, you will get some major cool points for attempting the Japanese pronunciation. The amount on the gift card could be $5, or it could be $10, or it could even be $20– it’ll be a surprise! In addition to some exclusive ANIME word knee highs from Gumball Poodle, we have some gorgeous KumoriCon stickers for free!