Keep It Simple Socks is a small business in Columbus, Ohio. Owners Paul & Michael design funky & functional socks. We interviewed Paul to learn more about this local brand. Meet Keep It Simple Socks on June 3rd, 2018 at our Summer Maker Mart!
Tell us about your local business.
My name is Paul Hopler, and our business is Keep It Simple Socks, based out of Columbus, Ohio. I started this company, along with my business partner Michael Grenier, because of our love for fun socks and for always looking good. Our mission is to give people the confidence, with our socks, to put their best foot forward. When you look good, you feel good.
What drew you to your craft?
My business partner Michael and I have always loved fun socks, and our friend group was all about them! One day the name Keep It Simple Socks came to Michael from a friend saying it, and it was a hit. Pretty soon after, we started working on creating this business.
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
My favorite thing we have made would have to be our Local Collection. We made close to 15 designs that are locally inspired, mainly referencing Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, or Ohio in general, with the designs and the colors. I love locally inspired projects and I love Ohio, so doing this was a no-brainer. Specifically, we did a Save The Crew collab design that I really loved!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I would have loved to be a soccer player or a musician, but realistically, working in business and finance was always what I knew I enjoyed doing and was good at, and so being able to utilize those skills for Keep It Simple Socks has been thrilling.
What is your creative process?
Michael and I brainstorm ideas for designs, either doing a line of designs (i.e. we did an 80's/90's line of designs) or doing seasonally inspired designs (spring, fall, etc.). After we come up with ideas and specific designs we want to make, we work with our graphic design team to come up with truly awesome socks!
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
I would tell myself to spend more time researching small business and entrepreneurship, and figuring out how to be your own boss, whatever business you end up in. I love doing what I do now so much, so knowing even more and being a step ahead of where I am now would always be amazing.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
I truly believe in supporting your local community. Without that, that creative process and spirit of entrepreneurship would inevitably die out. When you support someone local, and small businesses, you really are helping them take one more step towards their dreams, and I can confirm that through personal experience with my business as well.
Why do you love doing what you do?
I love doing it because there's not a lot more fun than being able to design awesome socks, collab with other businesses and artists on custom designs, and even the day-to-day of running the business is something that I naturally enjoy. How could I not love it?
What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?
My advice is: 1) Just go for it! Jump in fully. Start researching what it will take and do it. You'll regret the things you don't try so much more than if you try it and it just doesn't work out. 2) Secondly, keep the train moving. Things will inevitably get difficult and slow down and you'll be tempted to give up. It's not always something huge and dramatic, it could just be a holdup early on in the process that discourages you. But keep things organized and keep moving forward. One way to do that is to set weekly goals of what you want to get done.
What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?
I love so much about Ohio! The people here are so nice and genuine, and there is such a thriving community in so many areas.