Director of sales, and CEO and head designer, Are You Kidding Socks
“We always have disagreements,” says Sebastian Martinez, CEO of Are You Kidding Socks, a Miami-based business he founded with his older brother, Brandon. “We argue about whether we should make this sock or that sock. And the compromise is: Make both socks!”
The company was born five years ago out of Sebastian’s obsession with patterned socks. He started designing his own and, with the help of their mom, lined up a manufacturer. Brandon stepped in as director of sales. “I just have a thing for talking to people,” he says.
Despite their disagreements, their complementary skill sets make them great business partners. “We’re like a puzzle,” says Brandon. They’ve built a company that’s sold nearly $1 million worth of socks, moved offices to accommodate growth, appeared on Good Morning America, and introduced Charity Socks, a collection that gives a portion of sales back to charitable partners. But they’ve learned tough lessons along the way.
“We trusted some charitable partners who didn’t really do what they said they would,” says Brandon. “So: contracts! That’s what we learned. Always have contracts.”
Next up, they’re looking for retail partners and exploring expansion. “We want to make T-shirts, hats, shoes,” Brandon says. “Socks and shoes are like peanut butter and jelly. And if you don’t wear them, you’re weird.”