How Stance Socks' Innovative Approach Led to its NBA Deal

Photo by Ivan Antunes | Modeled by Walter McCarty

Photo by Ivan Antunes | Modeled by Walter McCarty

Exactly 1 year ago Stance Socks and the NBA officially announced its multiyear partnership starting with the 2015-16 season. Stance would be the official on-court sock of the NBA and would be the first brand since 2009 to have its logo displayed on league equipment. However, leading up to the deal with the NBA, Stance was already changing the sock industry in several ways.

Stance launched in 2009, but started shipping product in 2010, selling over 15 million pairs of socks in its first year, gaining a ton of interest from venture capitalists. The month prior to inking the deal with the NBA, Stance had already sold over 36 million pairs of socks, had just raised $50 million dollars to expand into men's underwear, was already working with renowned celebrities and designers Like Rihanna and Ronnie Fieg, offered their socks in 7500 different retail locations, and was growing its labor force at an incredible +300%. 

Stance Socks took advantage of a boring category that was being overlooked by many apparel brands and added flavor through design, function, and focused distribution. Stance saw how inexpensive and poorly displayed the sock category was, with tonal colors and cheap packaging in every retail location. So prior to launching, Stance established the SHRED Lab, an innovation space that allowed the brand to take socks to the next level. Stance designed a range of lifestyle and performance socks that not only provided mobility and daily comfort, but stood out among its category with appealing graphics and colors. Within the SHRED Lab Stance developed a proprietary process called "INprint" that directly sublimates images on yarn, which allowed the company to reproduce photographs of NBA legends onto socks, which ultimately was embraced by many NBA players and assisted in securing the company its NBA deal. 

Although many may have discovered Stance Socks through its recent NBA deal, Stance had been building its brand for the six years leading up to huge NBA contract. Stance was able to establish a strong brand identity in the marketplace through its innovative approach during those years and bring its core capabilities into the deal to create a better sock for NBA players and fans. They were able to replace the existing dull NBA socks with something more flashy that also performed better for the athletes, aiding in preventing blisters and athlete's foot. Stance has also paved the way brands may do business with the NBA in regards to branding and placing logo on league equipment worn by the players. In fact, the NBA announced last week it will allow "advertising" on Jerseys in the 2017-18 season, which could be a direct result from Stance Socks breaking the barriers and placing their logo on socks worn by all players across the league. 

Stance Socks has a lot more planned moving forward with the NBA playoffs in full swing, the MLB season underway, and collections from Rihanna and Big Sean releasing today.

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