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Meet Gilles Vanpoucke of Fritz ‘n Chewy Apparel Company in South Bay and Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gilles Vanpoucke.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Gilles. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My mom passed down her love for footwear to me as a young kid. I was raised between Italian made design shoes and German made comfortable boots in my mom’s shoe store back in Belgium. I knew I always wanted to do something with footwear because of that and also as an homage to my mom (hence the tattoo of a shoe on my arm).

It was around four years ago when Ben Chan (Co-founder of Fritz ‘n Chewy) and I along with our pups were having a few beers on the Hermosa Beach Pier when his love for socks came up. His idea was to create socks with modern colorful designs for the young professional, as most of the socks currently have either very boring or “goofy” designs.
He even already designed some socks, which he shared with me that evening as well, right there and then we decided to start our own sock company.

Socks have been historically used as a functionary item, with limited comfort. We see socks as a form of expression and believe living in color is much better than just black and white. Our goal is to bring you a high-end sock that can reflect your personality and allows you to express yourself in any situation. A sock that gives you the subtle confidence you need during the interview for that dream job, that date with the girl/boy you’ve waited your whole life to meet, that stressful presentation in front of all the partners, Christmas Eve with the in-laws…Or just a sock that makes you look and feel great while walking your four-legged roommate.

All of our designs are created in-house. Every pair will give you an unprecedented combination of quality, comfort, and design. I often refer to our socks as a Nike feel and a Ted Baker look. Sport socks usually have a good quality and feel but are boring, design socks look nice but wear off after wearing them a couple of times.

We’ve been pushing our sales through social media campaigns which direct buyers to our online shop but our main sales points are the local markets throughout SoCal, like Unique Markets or Renegade. These markets are a great tool for startups like us, it’s fair to say that without these organizations and the people behind them, we wouldn’t be where we are today…

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
From the start we wanted to create the best sock possible but it was hard to make manufacturers think in a different way than how they were making socks for decades. The sock industry has been the same for a long time, it was a struggle to communicate our ideas to manufacturers and to change their way of designing and building socks.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We paired our love for socks with our desire to make an impact on the world, specifically in the lives of our furry friends. After rescuing both Fritz and Chewy from the streets of Southern California, we wanted to share our two passions, socks and dogs, to make a difference. We’ve selected three local rescue organizations, who we donate a portion of our profits to. Men and women at various organizations work their tails off to help provide a better life for our furry friends. We felt it was necessary to give some more attention to these great causes and help make an impact in our own way.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve also tried to do our part. We’ve started various campaigns, which included donations of socks to health care and essential workers as well as money donations to the LA Food Bank on top of our donations towards rescue organizations.

I’m also proud of our BE PROUD. BE BOLD. BE YOURSELF campaign, which includes our rainbow socks, to support the LGBTQIA community.

What were you like growing up?
I always played soccer back in Belgium which resulted in many injuries, one of which brought foot pain. Therefore it was even more important for me to bring a design sock to the market which gives people with the same issues as myself the support they need when wearing socks.

Pricing:

  • 2 pack of the Hearth Socks = $25
  • 2 pack of the Rainbow Socks = $29
  • The Mini & Me 4 pack (2 adult sizes and 2 kids sizes) = $50
  • Sock Loss Prevention Laundry Bag = $9

Contact Info:

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