We recently caught up with Gil Kahana co-founder of creative company, ChattyFeet who's brilliantly designed socks are sure to bring a smile to your face, make the absolute dream gift or just a brilliant treat for yourself!
We chatted all about where founders Gil Kahana and Humberto De Sousa got their idea, how they went about turning it into a creative business and what part their visual brand played in that. Plus we discovered their favourite social media channel to use and what they have planned for the future.
They currently have 36 totally unique sock designs all created in collaboration with talented artists and illustrators, we were lucky enough to get our hands on some and absolutely love them!
Q1. Hi Gil, first off could you tell us a little about your background prior to ChattyFeet?
Before ChattyFeet, I was working as a designer for about 8 years. My speciality was User Experience Design and in simple terms, it meant designing things that would help people get on with their daily lives. For example, getting information about physical objects with a mobile app, researching people perceptions about mobile gaming or even a redesign of a trading system. I really loved doing this until I started feeling that something was missing. I wanted to design something in my own way.
Q2. ChattyFeet's website mentions that the idea for the company started a few years ago, what prompted this idea and has it evolved much since?
I really love cooking and one day we had friends over for lunch. We had nice food, drinks and laughs.
At one moment, I lifted my feet in the air and asked ‘what if my socks could talk?’. I wiggled my feet and imagined they could be animated with characters… Not everyone got it but a few days later I spoke with Humberto De Sousa, ChattyFeet Co-Founder and agreed to give it a try. We started to meet each week to progress the idea. From coming up with the name, prototyping, finding a producer, branding, commissioning the first 4 designs, building an online store and much more.
In December 2012, we were up and running with 4 sock designs in 2 sizes. We tried selling them at Camden Market and later on online marketplaces. Our first great sale was on a website called fab.com where we sold few thousands of pairs in just 3 days. Sales were ok but we didn’t have enough money for the second collection so we did a Kickstarter and got about £7.5k. It was the best marketing lesson ever. We had to make a huge effort to make it work and get the funding. In 2014, we launched our Kate Middle-Toe design which was a huge success and Instagrammed by the British Vogue. It was designed by the talented illustrator Sam Green who also designed Meghan Ankle coming up soon. In 2015, we launched our artist's collection with Feetasso, Frida Callus, Andy Sock-Hole and Vincent Van Toe. The artist's collection is sold at Tate Modern, MoMA, National Portrait Gallery and many museum shops around the globe. This year we are working on a literature inspired collection with Ernestoe Hemingway as the starter.
Q3. You have a whopping 36 sock designs (which we love by the way) who designed the first ever pair?
The first designs were designed by ChattyFeet co-founders, Humberto (Prof. Brian Sox) and myself (Mr. Grrrril). We then commission 2 more designs by our friends Ivo De Sousa (Murdoc) and Michiko Nitta (Miko).
This was our first collection and it has to be said that there was something really magical about this period of launching the brand, when you still didn’t know much about whether it will actually work!
Q4. You guys collaborate with a lot of great designers, how do you develop those relationships?
We mainly look online but also go to creative events. When we see work we like, we get in touch and ask if we can collaborate. It’s actually really challenging to find the right person and can take a long time. We like working with designers from different countries because ChattyFeet is about international connections.
Q5. Your logo and wider visual identity are packed full of personality at what point did you guys start developing it?
The logo and identity were created really early before we had the actual product. We were meeting at the Barbican Centre to discuss ideas because we didn’t have an office at the time. It was important to have a humorous identity that will connect well with the product. The colours are bright and the tagline ‘Let your socks do the talking’ is bringing you right into the silly zone.
"It was important to have
a humorous identity that
will connect well with
Gil Kahana co-founder
Q6. And what do you think is the hardest part of developing a brand/visual identity?
Translating your brand story into a clear visual language. When people first saw our logo at Camden Market, they knew it was a humorous product and it made them smile. It’s a bit like music, the logo and the product need to work together in harmony to create a strong impact.
Q7. As a company do you have a favourite social media platform to promote yourselves on?
Instagram is probably the flagship social media platform for us. We have been posting photos of the socks travelling everywhere and it’s a really fun element of the brand. it’s easier for us to communicate humour with photos than text. We do post on Facebook and Twitter too and try to keep the content there different.
Q8. We noticed you have a few other products available on the site, are you planning on creating more?
Yes, our goal is to make the world a more chatty place and this can be applied to almost any product… You can definitely expect to see more chatty faces on everyday objects around you soon! Before we release a new product, we have to carefully consider how it will be used, whether it’s funny enough and how feasible it will be to produce it.
Check out these recently released phone cases! See full range.
Our favourite has be Ernes-tone Hemingway, what's yours?
Q9. What’s the creative process like for developing an idea for a sock design into a final product?
It usually starts with the name. We love to use puns like ‘The Sockfather’ or ‘David Sock-Knee’. Then we commission the character illustration and wait for sketches, give feedback, get revisions and repeat until we have a design we’re happy to produce. At this point we send the design to our producers, commission product photography, upload the product to our shop, notify our sellers, post them on social/email campaigns and
Sketches for Basquiatoe socks by Lorenza Cotellessa
Our team can't wait to see all the new products ChattyFeet have in the pipeline and to watch the brand grow from strength to strength! We will certainly be wearing out socks with pride around the office!
Fancy making your day that much brighter, check out ChattyFeet's website here!