BELLINGHAM, Wash – You know the names Armani, Gucci, Chanel. But what about Mod?
No? Never heard of it?
They ship to 300 exclusive stores around the globe. They’ve clad presidents and celebrities, but what is their trade?
Walk through the springing display, past the ringing cash register and behold - socks.
“All my friends are really obsessed with this place,” says Ashlee Declercq. “They often stop by.”
ModSock is right in the heart of downtown Bellingham and stocks hundreds and hundreds of pairs of the wildest socks.
“I just started coming here once or twice a month – every time I got paid and got a pair of socks, and it just kind of grew from there.”
Declercq says she loves the place and loves the socks.
“The idea of crazy fashion is just the norm,” she said. “I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon, or ever, at least I hope not.”
Business at the store is booming says Ben Shaklee. He’s the Director of Sales and Operations.
“Out front is the store, and in back we have the sock cave,” says Shaklee. “We have about 18 feet stacked floor to ceiling of socks.”
That’s more than 150,000 pairs of socks on the sales floor and in the warehouse because ModSock is the store while ModSocks (with an S) is the brand.
“Everyone that finds out that I’m in socks, they wanna know more about the story,” says owner Urania Shaklee.
She says when she started the store all she could find were rainbow-striped socks. So, she took matters into her own hands and began designing her own crazy socks.
“Now we have all this variety and I embrace that, of course,” she said.
ModSocks sells more than 140 different styles both in its own store, but it also wholesales to more than 300 retail partners across the US and around the world.
It’s big business, but it’s also an emotional business.
“It’s also something they’ll start their day with,” says Shaklee about socks as gifts. “You kind of know they are gonna put on this sock that I’m giving them as a gift and start their day and have a smile.”
ModSocks boasts fans all over including a late president.
“At Barbara Bush’s funeral, George H.W. Bush wore a pair of our socks to honor her legacy of literacy,” says Ben Shaklee.
The simple tribute was so moving the style sold out instantly for ModSocks.
Which illustrates the power of well-designed crazy socks.
“It can just be for you or whoever you wanna share that with,” says Urania Shaklee.
Socks can even bring strangers together.
“It is a sign of you’re my people,” says Shaklee.
Which brings us back to Ashlee Declercq. Modsocks changed her life - first as a fan and now as a career.
“I was basically hired on the spot,” she said.