Schoenberg showed up at the black-tie affair in a pair of wildly striped socks, while Rosenberg was wearing a pair in bold pink. Noticing each other’s unique choices, they began discussing men’s hosiery and their perceived lack of sock options for men. The chance encounter quickly turned into a business opportunity, with the pair launching Hook & Albert, a men’s accessories company aptly named after the hook and chain Prince Albert wore to secure his pocket watch.
The line, which debuted in October on Hookandalbert.com, offers novelty socks, colorful dress shoelaces, wool ties and crocheted lapel flowers. Spring ’12 sock styles include brightly colored solids, novelty patterns and colorful loafer liners. All socks are produced in Peru, mainly of pima cotton, and retail for about $30 for mid-calf styles and $34 for over-the-calf styles. Waxed shoelaces sell for about $7 a pair.
“We met with a team of surgeons and podiatrists and started to learn about blood flow and what creates foot fatigue,” said Schoenberg, about incorporating comfort features into the socks. Taking what they learned into consideration, all socks are designed with arch supports, and mid-calf and over-the-calf styles are available with cushioned terry bottoms.
While the 32-year-old entrepreneurs are novices when it comes to accessories (Schoenberg formerly worked in ad sales, and Rosenberg in banking), they’ve already caught the attention of high-profile retailers. To date, the socks and laces have been featured on Gilt.com’s Gilt Man Finds’s section, and Barneys Co-op and Nordstrom have picked up the line for spring ’12.
Other categories beyond hosiery may be an option for expansion down the road, but the duo said they’re committed to remaining a sock-focused company. “Socks are the foundation,” said Schoenberg. “[We] always want to bring it back to socks.”