Happy Socks' launches Hysteria women's line, opens US subsidiary in NYC
Happy Socks is prepared to reach new heights in 2018. The Swedish innerwear brand this year celebrates its 10-year anniversary with the launch of its first women’s line, Hysteria, and the opening of its first US office on Spring Street in New York City.
Happy Socks first announced the launch of Hysteria at the end of August and the new collection, which is designed by a team of women lead by Head Designer Paula Maso, is available now on a dedicated website and at the Happy Socks SoHo store on West Broadway. Though Happy Socks is a unisex brand, the team felt that the time was right to launch a dedicated women’s collection.
“When I joined Happy Socks as a designer, the company began thinking about a product made specifically for women, but not necessarily a brand on its own,” said Maso.
“The more that we've thought about it and the more that we've done research and focus groups, we realized that it wasn’t only about the product itself. It was about the communication, the packaging, the social media, everything! After a while, a group of girls in the office sent research to the founders, and a year and a half later here we are. The founders put a lot of trust in us and allowed us to launch Hysteria.”
The name Hysteria is a progression from the word happy. In terms of branding, the word has both the 'H' and 'Y' that connects the line to Happy Socks. In history, hysteria was a medical diagnosis that was exclusive to women in the 19th century. Maso said that naming the women's line Hysteria puts a positive spin on the word.
"I think we’re putting a positive spin and retaking the word as a positive," she said. "We did not want a name that was vanilla. We wanted a name that would make people react and that we could use for storytelling. In the future, we are going to collaborate with female entrepreneurs to get women in design more attention."
Hysteria retains Happy Socks’ colorful aesthetic, but it has a unique identity. The socks are made in Portugal and crafted from natural materials and fabrics such as cotton, nylon, viscose and cashmere. Vibrant color pops and patterns are signatures for the brand, as well as hidden details that Maso describes as “for your eyes only.”
“I very much design for myself and create the things I would like to wear,” said Maso. “My relationship with Happy Socks has been very organic, because I am very into color and crazy patterns. I think it was very easy for me to develop Hysteria, because I thought 'what do I want to wear myself?' I identify to the soul of Happy Socks as well.”
The print and pattern designer is excited for Hysteria’s future. The brand launched with over 40 styles that range in price from $14 to $20. The line expanded to 44 styles for spring 2018 and 52 styles for fall 2018. Four styles from fall 2018 are tights, a style that Happy Socks introduced but did not delve into.
Happy Socks also has not dived too deep into the US market. The brand has a substantial presence in the US that accounts for part of its global volume of $100 million. The investment from Palamon Capital Partners at the beginning of 2017 has allowed the brand to expand west and increase its focus on the US.
“The new private equity investment from Palamon has enabled the brand to invest in the US market, start the subsidiary and launch niche products like athletic socks, pima cotton dress socks, and Hysteria,” said Brenda Berger, North America Country Manager. “This is our first time being here and being involved in the business and partnering with retailers to build it.”
Berger joined Happy Socks to lead the brand’s US business and to get the new subsidiary off to a good start. The brand had been working with a distributor in the US since it was established.
“This is a brand that has so many marketing capabilities and such a passionate following, and the US really hasn’t had a lot of that exposure to the marketing capabilities," Berger added. "The consumer already finds it on their own, but we want to make it even more available, and we want to make sure the retailers are in stock.”
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