Local products playing off local language is nothing new, but one Corner Brook company is knocking the socks off customers worldwide with their wearable twist on the trend. The company is called Wicked Wool Socks, and they’re the latest retail success story out of Newfoundland.
The product celebrates the culture of Newfoundland, and its dialect in particular, by emblazoning the famed grey wool sock with familiar sayings from The Rock. Words like “Froze” or “Dolled Up” and “Who Knit Ya” are written atop the part of the sock that poke out of your boots.
It’s not just customers lining up for them; these woollen wonders are winning over companies too. Lamb’s Rum, the best-selling spirit in Newfoundland, had a promotion going for a while where, if you bought a bottle of Lambs, you’d get a pair of Wicked Wool Socks that read, on their bottoms (so you’d see the text if someone was heaved off on the couch with their feet up), “If you can read this” on one foot and “Bring me a Lambs” on the other. Similar socks say, “If you can read this … Bring me a glass of wine.”
They also sell “Wee Wicked Wool Socks” for the wee ones, that read “Trout” and “Doll,” etc. Who wouldn’t want a pair of Wicked Wool Socks, now that the cold of winter is creeping in? Even people who dislike the itch of a Nan-knit wool sock are buying these, because they were designed to provide a long-lasting, non-itchy product, well worth your $20 (with free shipping!).
When owner Robert Purchase conceived the idea, and launched the company in late October of 2015, he says he was not expecting the immediate and immense demand, and had to scramble to fulfil online orders and retail requests.
Currently busy with their third holiday season orders, Wicked Wool Socks has received photos and messages from Newfoundlanders wearing their socks while hiking the Great Wall of China, partying in Amsterdam, riding a camel in the Middle East, and proudly being worn at military socials and government events. They’ve even seen photos of full bride and groom wedding parties rocking their socks.
Purchase has leveraged social media to amass a huge following more akin to a local celebrity than a local sock shop: 11,500 followers on Facebook is a small army of stylish customers, and a strong testament to this Newfoundland brand.
The Overcast recently included Wicked Wool Socks in its November Tilly Tally Mail Order Subscription Box, and in talking to Robert about his company, he said that, when he looked at his orders, certain patterns were emerging. For example, the BEST KIND and WHADDYA AT socks would mostly be sold to townies in St. John’s, while YES B’Y had a broader appeal, and BAY GIRL socks were big beyond the overpass.
Interestingly, the BAYGIRL socks outsell the BAYMAN ones to the point Robert has discontinued the BAYMAN ones – so if you own a pair, take care of them: they’re officially a collector’s item now. Robert wonders if maybe BAYMAN, like NEWFIE, holds too much negative connotation.
The company is currently offering new and old customers some wicked promotions, like a chance to win a travel gift card valued at $1500, through a contest on their Facebook page. Read more and order yours – for yourself or as a Christmas gift – at www.WickedWoolSocks.com.
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