Bold Moves with boldSOCKS

January 20th, 2016

by Dan Gibson

Desire transcends the idea of growing your business; desire is setting out to change the world or disrupt the current state of an industry.

That is just one of the main themes that resonated with those in attendance for our January luncheon event, which featured boldSOCKS Co-Owner and Creative Director, Ryan Roff.

Ryan took us through the process of how to tell your brand story using a well-known story arch. He used the boldSOCKS story as an example and took the audience on the boldSOCKS journey from initial concept to the current state, and even provided a sneak peak into the future for the creative and energetic brand.


He outlined 5 story elements that will help with identifying the key moments of your brand’s story. These elements will help you start to recognize and tell your story, as well as, identify where you currently stand. Ryan explained how to use these elements as guidelines to help you make decisions as your story develops. Keep in mind these elements are cyclical and it is important to always allow your story to continue evolving as your business grows.

  1. Transformation – From the starting point to taking each next step towards becoming a solid brand.
  2. Desire – To propel your business forward, to change the world, and do better things.
  3. Connection – Connecting the desire to the consumer and community.
  4. Conflict – Often avoided, but a great opportunity to develop the character of your business.
  5. Resolution – Walk away from conflict with a plan and an answer for customers on how the conflict will be resolved.

Ryan discussed how boldSOCKS co-founder Adam Whitmore was looking for a way to express himself in an office environment that encouraged a conservative approach to fashion. He decided that bold, unique socks were calling his name. It quickly became a competition the day Adam dramatically displayed his socks, stomping his foot on the desk of fellow boldSOCKS co-founder and CEO Ryan Preisner, and announced “CHECK OUT THESE AWESOME SOCKS!” That was one of the brand’s first turning points, when an in-office sock competition led to the idea of one central online location where anyone could find the raddest socks available.

Ryan then took the audience through the boldSOCKS journey, explaining the transformation of the logo, the start of the website, the decision to quit their jobs and go “all-in”, the growth that led to adding a social enterprise element for the boldSOCKS brand, the need for more space for inventory, and the opening of their retail space.

He also discussed the current place in their story, conflict. They are passionate about the social enterprise aspect of their brand and how they’ve worked with the Mars Hill organization, 20 Liters, to provide funding for water filters to be shipped to Africa. They’ve been successful in adding that positive detail to their brand, but are at a point of conflict in which they need to consider the state of the communities in Colombia and Turkey, where their socks are being manufactured. Next, rather than avoid the conflict they have identified, the boldSOCKS team has decided to meet the conflict head on by coordinating a trip (taking place this week) to Colombia with a complete film crew to see for themselves exactly how their product is being made. This valuable knowledge will allow them to identify an effective resolution, if they do in deed discover something unsatisfactory. They can then communicate their plan to solve the conflict to their customers and complete the resolution stage of their story.

A lot can be learned from hearing the boldSOCKS story. It’s clear that they have done a great job paying attention to and using their unique story to make informed decisions for their company, and we’re lucky to have them in our West Michigan community!


I encourage those of you reading this to follow The AMA West Michigan Chapter and attend an upcoming luncheon event. Continuous learning is essential in the rapidly evolving and shifting marketing industry and who better to learn from than each other!

Get more information on upcoming events here