Sunday, 27 September 2015

Getting to know.... BROCK from ODD PEARS

New sock label to Violent Green store is ODD PEARS. These socks have been causing a bit of a stir amongst guys/girls and anyone that's a fan of the sock. We thought it fitting to catch up with founder BROCK and hear what he had to say.

Hey Brock! I’m Zoe, nice to meet you and thanks for taking the time to speak with Violent Green!

All good, you guys have been one of my favourite Brisbane stores forever so, truly, thank YOU!

Wow, thanks for that! 
So to kick this off, can you give us a little insight as to how Odd Pears started off? Is this your first business where you are your own boss? And who are the other Odd Pears in your team?

Inspired by a personal love affair with brightly coloured, mismatching socks, Odd Pears has been happening for just over 18 months now. Initially started as an online business weve started wholesaling in the last 2 months. Between myself and Carla McRae (aka ThePaper Beast aka our Creative Director) we managed the business for over a year. In the last 2 months weve had Gus come on board as Head of Sales and part time online marketers, Courtney and Anrich, who consult on a month-to-month basis.

Awesome! That's great to hear you guys growing so fast. We know that Odd Pears are super loud and colourful, where do you draw your inspiration for colour ways and design?

Carla, our Creative Director, draws inspiration from everywhere. In September, 2014, we sent Carla to Japan. This trip formed the basis for an entire range we later released where things like bubble gum wrapper and metro tickets provided beautiful colour ways and pattern inspiration.

Damn, that's a dream job to be shipped to Japan for inspo! So after you have the perfect print idea, what are the following steps?

We design an entire collection which is then sent to our manufacturer for samples. From these samples our collection is culled until we have a range which truly work together and compliment each other. Upon finalising this range our production order is placed when we sit patiently and eagerly await its arrival. The whole process generally takes between 2-3 months.

Man, I bet that waiting time must kill you! Will you guys be doing any collabs with other designers/artists?

Weve got some super special exclusive collaborations coming up. Next year it is our aim to release a new, limited run, exclusive collaboration sock every month or two. Id hate to spoil the surprise but Ill say were working with Artists from all over the world with specialities in a variety of different mediums.

Looking forward to seeing these collabs! As a business owner, what have been some of the main obstacles you’ve endured?

Everyday there are triumphs and failures. I believe in 2 steps forward 1 step backwards and Im no longer naive enough to believe nothing goes wrong or that it will be easy. The greatest obstacle weve had to overcome thus far was at Christmas time last year there was an issue with our production order which meant it would not arrive until January. The retail industrys whole year is one big runway leading to Christmas where things take off. So, we had no/very limited stock, and no new stock but we salvaged the season by having the support of an amazing community and the execution of a great online marketing strategy. December, 2014 was make or break and we were fortunate enough to nail it.

Glad to hear that you nailed it! And what would be the biggest success/ accomplishment Odd Pears has come across?

Odd Pears website now attracts over 50,000 page views a month and has been visited by people in over 163 countries speaking 123 different languages. 30% of all visitors are Returning Visitors meaning weve been somewhat successful in building a little Odd Pears family. Just in the last 10 days we have shipped online orders to Hungary, Romania, Ireland, USA, U.K, Canada, Taiwan, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore. Personally, I think this is mind blowing and something which could never have been achieved less than a decade ago. 

What an time to be alive with the internet, right?!
Having an Odd Sock in a pack of three is such a unique idea. Where did you get the idea to package up 3 socks instead of the stock standard two?

I was a white collar, 9-5er for a financial planning firm in Noosa, QLD. Over my 2 years I built somewhat of an obsession for brightly coloured socks. Matching, mismatching, it didnt matter. As long as they were colorful! This obsession led to an idea which, eventually, led to Odd Pears birth.

Hahah, sick! And do you have a favourite “Pear”?

Gahhh! So tough!! Im going to lock in Mose. Its a beautiful green meets green colours we were yet to really experiment. Theyre simple and beautiful and I love them.

I dig those too! 
The label has been super successful now stocking in Australia, New Zealand and the USA, did you think the label was going to grow as fast as it did?

We were fortunate because we had amassed an audience and following over the first 12 months as an online brand. Because of this the transition into wholesaling was smooth and we didnt have to spend as much time convincing people Odd Pears was a product that would sell. We could prove it by directing people to our website/facebook/instagram/tumblr etc and showing them that their is a huge market for unisex, brightly coloured, mismatching socks.

When you’re not designing, how do you like to unwind?

Surf, Coffee, Golf, Friends, Bars, honestly Im living the dream. Whilst life is pretty crazy Im quick to remind myself that most people actually have to be up at 6:30am and in the office or onsite by 8:30 (at the latest!) and not leave until 5:00pm. In addition I have the support of an incredible girlfriend, amazing family and beautiful friends so, fortunately, unwinding isnt all that hard.

Damn, living the dream Brock, that is awesome.
Is there any music /art/ films you’ve been inspired by that helps the design process?  If yes, care to share?

Between you, me and everyone reading Wes Anderson has inspired multiple socks and featured on our blog in various forms close to 5 times now. 2 styles are directly inspired by colour ways and patterns first noticed in The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Can you guess which?

I think I'll have to re-watch them. Love those films, especially TGBH.
Finally, what can we expect from Odd Pears in the future?

Odd Pears is growing and were now working with distributors in Hong Kong, Taiwan and New Zealand. Additionally, were in talks with distributors in Israel, Canada, USA and Japan. Soon, you can expect to see an Odd Pears stockist in almost every country on Earth! We also promise to stay true to our art/design roots and most importantly keep making the worlds most beautiful socks!

Thanks again for your time, Brock. We can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

posted by zoegreen

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