When it comes to naming a new product, inspiration can strike from just about anywhere. The only common denominator across products is that each name comes with its own unique story. This is the story of the 1285 Dress Sock.
Startup founding stories are often as interesting as the companies themselves. Apple and Hewlett Packard famously were started in Palo Alto garages. Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his garage in Bellevue, Washington. Disney and Google also started in garages. Facebook bucked the garage trend and was started in a college dorm room. Founders with great ideas often don’t have the money for fancy office spaces when they are just starting out, so they improvise.
Mack Weldon wasn’t started in a garage, but we did take advantage of free office space in the early days. Our CEO’s father runs a Manhattan-based law firm that just so happened to have a handful of unused offices and conference rooms in its Midtown location back in 2012. The biggest benefit to working side-by-side with the law firm (other than the affordable rent) was being surrounded by lawyers who agreed to do pro bono work as customer guinea pigs. Everyone from young associates to senior partners wore Mack Weldon and tested out new product ideas.
One of the office favorites was the Everyday sock. Corporate guys (lawyers, bankers, consultants) essentially wear a uniform to work every day: dress pants, button-down shirt, dress shoes. All in conservative colors. The one place they can have a little fun is with their socks. The guys in the law office loved the color and pattern options of the Everyday sock. Their only complaint was that the socks felt a bit too thick to be worn all day with dress shoes. These were the early days for Mack Weldon, so the focus was on selling the inventory on hand, not launching new product categories, but their feedback was filed away for a rainy day.
Four years later, the 1285 Dress Sock was launched. We brought our Everyday sock to a factory known for making performance apparel. We added X-STATIC Silver fiber to make the sock antimicrobial, meaning the sock would smell good and stay comfortable all day long, even in a dress shoe. By this time, we were in our own office space, so we sent a few test pairs over to our former landlords for feedback. The response was overwhelming. Even the partners, guys who were used to wearing the best, were impressed. We knew we had a winner. All that was missing was a name. It was only fitting that the name pay homage to the lawyers who inspired the sock. The address of that office building? 1285 Avenue of the Americas.