Episode show notes

‘Feel good from the feet up’ – one simple phrase underpins the decades-long history of the Sockshop brand, and its direction is guided by the keen intuition of Alok Ruia.

As Director of the brand, which lies within the Ruia Group, there’s a fascinating dynamic between his business and those of his brothers, and a philosophy evident throughout the group.

Discover Alok’s journey into the family business, the blend of strategy with opportunity recognition, and how Annie Lennox changed the way the world sees socks…

This episode covers:

  • The complication of family dynamics in business spaces
  • Unique culture and autonomy being paramount
  • The fascinating story behind Sockshop’s revolutionary Heat Holders
  • Surprising cultural impacts that have come from celebrity socks
            A graphic with Robin, Judy and Ollie.

            Episode highlights

            “We tend to be quite organic, strategy and opportunity recognition go hand in hand. Over the last 16-17 years, where we are with Sockshop has been an iterative kind of journey.” – 5:20 – Alok Ruia

            “There’s four brothers and a cousin, and at the beginning, when they all joined the business towards the mid 80s, early 90s. I think we realised then that we needed to give each other space. Each of them had their own subsidiaries, and that has been the philosophy ever since.” – 11:10 – Alok Ruia

             “Everyone can do what they want to do, so long as they don’t ransom the family silver. There’s loads of routes to success, profitability and longevity.” – 19:05 – Alok Ruia

            “Supermarkets are always looking for the cheapest products, and it’s not a good thing because you want the product to work functionally. So we turned it on its head, and we said ‘We’re gonna create the warmest thermal sock on the planet’.” – 35:00 – Alok Ruia

            “Annie Lennox wore some very interesting songs that, in turn, did influence the way females thought the community would wear socks. Socks took on a different meaning for women.” – 46:30 – Alok Ruia

            “Business brings family together. My kids’ relationships with their cousins were never bad, but have meshed and moulded and become far stronger.” – 54:30 – Alok Ruia

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