Interview: Cash Warren & Alan Stuart Are Bringing Funky Back With Pair Of Thieves Socks
Cash Warren is a jack of all trades. From scoring major production credits for stellar documentaries like Crips and Bloods: Made In America and Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi and also husband to actress/mogul, Jessica Alba, he's now establishing his own sock company Pair Of Thieves.
In partnership with his longtime friends, Alan Stuart and David Ehrenberg, the trio created an array of cool, funky and comfy socks that are fit for any life situation from the boardroom to the hardwood.
“Our socks are truly ready for everything,” Warren tells VIBE. “Whether you’re going to a business meeting or you’re going to work out at the gym or play ball at the court, our socks are built for you.”
“They have ankle and arch support,” Stuart adds. ” We based them all on a performance sock and then we just overlay cool designs.”
VIBE recently hopped on the phone with Cash and Alan to talk shop about Pair Of Thieves, placing in Target and their advice to newbie business owners.—Richy Rosario
VIBE: How did you guys come up with the concept for Pair of Thieves?
Cash Warren: We all have kids so we’ve always felt that so many things are geared towards Mom and their kids. There is not a lot for fathers and their kids so we thought because guys love socks so much, socks will be a fun thing to match with your daughter or son.
Alan Stuart: Also, I think socks are an easy way for guys to show their style without being too crazy. We get made fun of if we wear some crazy shirt in high school or something. [Laughs.] So we get trained on how to take it easy on style. Socks are a good way for us to be crazy.
How did you guys come up with the name Pair Of Thieves?
Cash: It’s funny Alan and I spent a long time coming up with a million different names 'cause we wanted to build a brand together. Pair Of Thieves was one of the names that Alan came up with that just ended up sticking and we just both fell in love with it. We have this thing called [a] sneaky performance, and thieves are a little bit sneaky. Socks always go missing. So it’s like, ‘Who is stealing that sock?’ And so it’s just a playful way for us to approach the name.
What is the design process like?
Cash: Alan takes the lead on the designs. He is a graphic designer, and has worked primarily in tech in the past but he has just applied a good design aesthetic with socks. He bounces it off David and myself. I think we all have different style preferences.
Alan: And then our wives all have detail power, so if we show them something ugly, they each have a vote to just get rid of it. [Laughs.].
Cash: They are the final test. We also look at sales numbers and data to see what’s doing well and what is not. We don’t try to put out the same design twice and so our goal is always to use what is working and build off of that as well.
Why did you guys choose to distribute it at Target as opposed to more high-end retail stores?
Cash: One of our primary goals is always to put the most socks on the most men possible. And the most people possible. So we looked at the market and we saw that the higher end price point was pretty crowded [and] that there were a lot of people playing in that $20 dollar space. So for us, we were like, ‘Why do socks have to be expensive all the time?' 'Why can’t they be more affordable and still deliver great quality?' And so we were fortunate that Target agreed with us, and we were stoked to get out of the gate with them as partners.
What type of feedback have you guys gotten from consumers?
Alan: We’ve gotten awesome feedback on Instagram. People have showed us a lot of love. The best comment to us is people saying that they are the most comfortable socks they have ever worn. That, to us, makes us feel good because we have spent over a year, trying to perfect the fit, the cut and all the features that make them comfortable. We get a lot of emails a day from customers and we try to respond to all of them. We get a lot of feedback on social media and we’ve been fortunate that people have posted a lot of their own images of the socks which we can use as well. I think people really love the comfort and then the price point.
What are some of your favorite sneakers to match with your socks?
Cash: The Bordeux Air Jordan 7. We also like the Jordan 6 in red—we think those are fresh and we have a white and gray sock that would look fantastic with that one. It’s called the Polar Vortex and it’s available at Target. [It's] a sock that can match with a lot of fresh sneakers out there.
What have you learned during this process?
Alan: That most companies do not try on their own stuff. [Laughs.] Part of what we did was sit around and try on hundreds of different pair of socks, and there was no better way to do it. If you just kind of make something for yourself, I think that is part of why we’ve done well. [It's] because we wanted a better sock, and so we went on and made it for ourselves. We’d love to get into women’s socks, but we’ve also said to ourselves, ‘Alright, cool. We'll do women’s socks, but we need somebody on board that can sport them and wear them, and tell us what’s wrong with current women’s socks. And get our wives' input on it so that we are not just making it for somebody else. We all have kids, which is why we made a kid’s sock.
Cash: We have a full boys' line coming out this fall and we put socks on our kids every single day. We realized that there was really an opportunity to create better socks for kids and so that is what we’re doing for this fall. We’re launching a whole line in Target of boys socks, and we’re really excited about that. We did the same thing for men’s underwear. We’re launching a men’s underwear line this fall in Target. We looked at all the available products out there to realize there was an opportunity to create something amazing and affordable. We spent a lot of time developing it so we’re really excited about that as well.
Is the underwear line going to be under the same name Pair of Thieves?
Cash: Yeah. A couple of the underwear will have designs and then a couple will have cool waistbands and elastic, but only a few of them are going to have designs like our socks. We picked one material in particular that is the most comfortable material on the planet. It has great support and it's very functional, but it made designing on it difficult. So we don’t want to just design just for the sake of design. We want to make sure that there is a need for it—that this underwear doesn’t require.
What is your advice for small business owners?
Cash: You’re going to hear "no" a lot. It’s kind of that blind stubbornness and naivete that sometimes leads to success. It’s a refusal to quit that is important. There are no shortcuts. You have to fight for it. At no point does it come easy. It’s always a struggle. It’s always hard. But working hard, you’ll see the result.