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Everybody loves socks. It's an undeniable fact of the universe. Enter Sock Club - they're ahead of the curve when it comes to the sock game, and we love the way they represent their brand through Instagram. We were able to steal a moment of Melissa's busy schedule to chat more about her role as the Creative Brand Manager. She wears a lot of hats (or socks) but is crushing it with all things creative for Sock Club. Read on as we chat about how she manages her time efficiently, creates a community of dialogue with their customers, and dishes on wisdom for pioneering a brand.
Hi Melissa, please introduce yourself!
Hi! My name is Melissa, and I'm the Creative Brand Manager at Sock Club. Originally from Iowa, I moved to Texas at 18 to see what all the hype was about. I got my Bachelor's degree at Texas A&M (gig 'em!) in Business Marketing. From there, I moved to Austin to pursue a Master's Degree in Advertising at The University of Texas, where I completed the Texas Creative Sequence, a portfolio program focused on art direction. After finishing grad school, I slowed things down for a few months while taking on several freelance graphic and web design clients. One day, I stumbled upon a job posting for a designer role on the Sock Club team, and without thinking, shot off an email threaded with sock puns. One of the founders reached out, and upon learning more about my background in advertising and marketing, he expressed a need for someone to come in as a leader within the brand and marketing efforts of a quickly-growing company. I thought the challenge sounded exciting and I had no clue how I would conquer it, so naturally, I took the job! Outside of work, I'm energized by spending time with people, going for runs around the lake, and catching live music events in Austin. I also founded and currently run a concert series called Songs in the Sitting Room in 2015, which keeps me busy in my spare time as a significant side project.
Can you tell us what Sock Club is and expand on your role as Brand Manager? What does an average day look like for you?
Sock Club began in 2012 as a sock-of-the-month club that designs, manufactures, and delivers a pair of American-made socks straight to your door, every month. Though Sock Club has stayed true to socks, the channels of distribution have grown, evolved, and changed over the past four-plus years of the company's existence. In addition to our sock-of-the-month club, we have an online store, wholesale accounts, and we work with tons of clients around the world to create custom branded socks via Custom by Sock Club. Basically: we make sock dreams come true. As the Creative Brand Manager at Sock Club, I wear many hats. Essentially, I'm responsible for any touchpoint between Sock Club and the outer world, whether that's a photo, blog post, trade show booth experience, or the web design of our digital properties. I handle all of our: creative direction, photography, marketing strategy development (email and influencer PR), blog content creation, web design, media planning, buying for traditional channels, copywriting, messaging, social media strategy, and the day-to-day community management on our social channels. Phew! The only thing average about my days is that they all look different. One day I could be bopping around Austin on a photo shoot with friends-turned-models, while the next day looks like headphones on, head down content creation for hours on end. My days vary greatly depending on the current projects on my plate, and to be honest that's one of my favorite aspects of my job!
Working at a startup is rewarding, but can also be challenging since you have to wear a lot of hats (or socks). How do you streamline your workload to be as efficient as possible?
All. Of. The. Socks. The startup life is the good life in so many ways but does present unique challenges as every team member is required to play several different roles to make things happen for the company. These obstacles have made efficiency and finding my own personal workflow rhythms critical to my success at Sock Club.
"These obstacles have made efficiency & finding my workflow rhythms critical to my success at Sock Club."
I'm a pretty methodical person, and my workflow follows that pattern when I'm at my best. I like to have a big picture view of my workload at all times, so I have an idea of the broad project categories that my energy will be split between each week. At the beginning of every week, I make a list of the 3 to 5 big focus areas for that week. From there, I drill down into the daily deliverables each morning by making lists in my notebook and on sticky notes. I've cycled through various digital planning and to-do list programs, but I just can't get over the simplicity of pencil and paper. Once I have my to-do list outlined for the day, I work my way through it one task at a time. Pro-tip: Save (non-urgent) email and tedious tasks (like photo editing) for that post-lunch afternoon slump, and try to knock out the strategic, content-writing, heavy-lifting tasks before lunch. Leveraging my natural energy peaks and valleys has transformed my efficiency and lead to increased productivity.
What has been your proudest moment since you started working with Sock Club?
I'm living and breathing my proudest moments right now, as I write these words. At Sock Club, we spend the better part of a year preparing for the holiday season, and I'm busy with strategizing, polishing the brand presence, and prepping campaigns to maximize growth during our prime shopping season. I've put in the hard work to redesign our websites and ads, write copy for podcast and radio spots, develop social campaigns, and shoot seasonally-appropriate photos. And now, I get to watch as all of the new customers roll in, read along as people comment on our content on the internet, listen as podcast hosts rave about our brand, and observe how the world responds to my campaign concepts. I'm proud of the entire Sock Club team for rising to the fast-paced nature of the holidays, but also so proud of myself and everything I've developed over the past year. It's a special experience to reap from the seeds you were responsible for planting and sowing.