WWD.com/globe-news/clothing-furnishings/cashing-in-on-the-sock-craze-7400414/
government-trade
government-trade

‘Cash’-ing In on Sock Craze

Cash Warren has joined forces with his childhood friend Alan Stuart to launch Pair of Thieves men’s socks Feb. 10 exclusively at Target.

View Slideshow

Ubiquitous as producer-entrepreneur types are in Los Angeles, Cash Warren has a new moniker that sets him apart — sock designer.

Warren has joined forces with his childhood friend Alan Stuart to launch Pair of Thieves men’s socks Feb. 10 exclusively at Target. In a phone interview Tuesday from the home he shares with his wife, Jessica Alba, and two daughters, Warren said he and Stuart have been tinkering with developing a sock line for a couple of years. The pair, who have been friends since they went to middle school and the Crossroads high school (along with Kate Hudson), have always been into wearing offbeat socks.

“I have always been obsessed with socks. We hated the fact that 99 percent of the dress socks out there were black or white,” Warren said. “The one thing about dress socks is they are really thin and uncomfortable, and they get baggy after a few wears.”

Warren and Stuart also teamed with David Ehrenberg, whom Stuart knew from their undergrad days at UCLA. Ehrenberg, a third partner, had contacts at Target through his company Del Rey International. Warren said of Pair of Thieves’ production, “We like to say, ‘Designed in Portland, [Ore.], made in China.”

Made of moisture-wicking fabric with mesh panels, padded cushioning and arch supports, the colorful Pair of Thieves socks will be offered in solids, stripes, argyles and prints for about $6 a pair. The brand’s bear logo is meant to be a wink at the golden bear on the California state flag. And the bear’s Robin Hood-type eye mask was done in jest — as in who-steals-all-those-missing-socks. Pair of Thieves packaging jokingly notes how the socks are “ready for anything” including kayaking, fencing, archery, swinging and other unlikely activities. “We’re trying to show something a little lighter than most of the other brands. We don’t want to take ourselves too seriously,” Warren said. “We’re only designing socks.”

Warren, a Yale University political science grad, has also been busy with other pursuits. A digital network that he cofounded was acquired last week when Mandalay Sports Media bought Roadside Entertainment, a sports and entertainment production company. Warren plans to use some of his windfall to continue producing content — as he did with John Stockwell’s upcoming flick, “In the Blood.” Warren and Alba are always sharing ideas about business. He has helped Alba with her eco-friendly start-up, The Honesty Co., which received $25 million in new venture capital funding last fall. (She recently tweeted to her more than 7 million followers about Pair of Thieves’ launch.)

“The great thing about having a partner in life who is an entrepreneur as well is that there is not really anything outside the realm that we can’t talk about,” Warren said.

As for all the talk of actors needing to brand themselves, Warren said, “It’s interesting that their reps and agents refer to them as brands, but none of them really approach branding the way a company would. They’re not conducting focus groups, looking at trend forecasts or reading any real market research data. I don’t know that brand is the right word. I definitely think you have to be diversified because the entertainment business is changing so rapidly.”

True to that mind-set, Warren recently bought a drone so that he will be able to deliver Pair of Thieves socks to select friends. “It took a couple of days to learn how to fly it. It can go about 1,000 feet in the air and it has GPS to fly back to me. I just need to have a mechanical engineer design the claw that will be used for remote deliveries,” Warren said. “Look out for the video.”

View Slideshow