What is the name of your company?
Hooray Hoopla (DBA Pals)
When was the company founded?
Tell us the story of how you brought your company to life.
I used to be an art director. I loved to concept fun ideas on the side to entertain myself. My first wearable product I designed were mismatching mittens that came as predator and prey, so your hands could "battle it out in the funnest way ever.” (Like a Wolf and Sheep or Lion and Gazelle). I did that for a few years, and it was fun, but realized it was super seasonal. You really have 2 months. So, mittens pivoted into socks, which can be sold when it’s not 30 degrees and under. However, I rebranded it from being battling characters, to being Pals. I felt it was more important to use design for good and create a convo that we are better, together. Pals are better because they don't match. Pals launched as a kids brand but today we are truly a brand for all ages. Pals is for anyone who digs the Pals maniFEETsto and likes to flaunt these values on their feet, because Pals are also the most fun sock ever.
How did you feel after it launched?
Proud! And scared! Because it was bootstrapped with $600 with 0 experience in this industry. Pure luck and strength of concept has kept the dream alive and able to keep making these socks.
Where do you draw your design inspiration from?
So many places but some of it could be pop art, streetwear, kawaii aesthetic, cartoons, abstract classic art…
You have a ton of cool collabs. with artists and brands like Paul Frank (who is a personal favorite of ours at Fruitloots). How do you come up with the ideas for these collaborations?
Really it comes down to if I am a personal fan of the artist, do they actually love the Pals mission, and lastly can we create something unique together that our customer will love. I am the creative director so everything we release is touched by my brain.
Why was it important to you to create an “out and proud” LGBTQ+ company?
Pals mission is really the basis of this brand. Appreciating what makes us unique, inspiring empathy, adventures, being open minded is the reason for Pals to be mismatched as a maximalist socks core brand. As a Jew, as a queer person, I am sensitive to bigotry, stereotypes and misguided, loud ignorance. My story is why Pals exists. I want people to know this brand was a personal for me. I wish more empathetic people exist and I think Pals merges form and FUNction, these socks can act as a vehicle to start a conversation about why these socks don't match but go together. Also I think representation matters, and it's good for people to see something they like/support that is the creation of a person in the LGBTQ+ community. I can't say we are waving rainbow flags all the time, I want the mission to be front and center without distractions.
Was there a defining moment in your company’s history (so far) when you knew you created something special?
A few moments. I think probably when we got 10k gift from Vistaprint when we got feetured on Good Morning America, and when Paul Frank contacted us to collaborate. When DSDN (the largest Down Syndrome org in the states) partnered with us to help them raise funds for 3/21, World Down Syndrome Day where you wear mismatched socks to spread awareness and talk about our differences, that we all have something colorful to offer. That's when it really solidified for us that Pals is doing something special, there is demand for this and we have a real fan base who are touched by the mission.
What has been the reaction of customers to your brand?
It has really been amazing! Sometimes we get a purchase because of the design, not the concept, and once packaging is read and the mission is revealed, it seals the deal. It makes our customers emotional! We get messages/ thank you notes all the time from customers that we are making this product and how it has changed their hope in humanity, or helped start a convo, that it's beautiful, they are lifetime fans.
Any special customer stories that you want to share?
I love when we get a note from someone who is not as open-minded, or someone who did not consider wearing mismatched socks due to their OCD but Pals has been a slippery slope to accepting 'differences'
At Fruitloots, we call all the amazing products that we find our “loot”. What's your favorite piece of “loot” you have created?
Probably the Ghost & Skeleton socks- they are so simple, so slick, and they glow in the dark. This lived in my brain as v1, and the original design to completion has not really changed at all, and that never happens!
Tell us about the Fruitloots product that we have chosen.
The Christmas socks are the epitome of cheer and I think a message Jesus himself would approve, love thy neighbor, better together. They are so cute and festive!! This is a limited edition holiday Taste Buds collab designed by hapa kawaii artist Michelle Romo.
The Jason Naylor socks are my favorite in this limited-edition series! The 2 Be You by Brooklyn street artist Jason Naylor pairs two opposite personalities that are besties. This series almost broke our manufacturer who was very angry at the complexity!
Where do you see your company in 10 years?
Hopefully, global, amazing collaborations created, millions were made in donations through the FUNdraising program, lots of minds opened and our uniqueness celebrated.
If you could do a special collaboration with any person in the world, who would it be and why?
(Very cool! we fully support!)
Wow, hard question! I want to do a transparent shoe collab with Native, how cool would that be!
Any advice to queer entrepreneurs?
Celebrate what makes you unique! Tell your story how it relates to your mission, please don't use your queerness as a crutch. You have so much to offer and there are so many resources now that are available only to you for help.
If you could throw a party, with an unlimited budget and you could invite anyone, tell us about the party and who would be there!
Oh man, everyone on our insta follow list for sure and it would be DJed by Philly's own Questlove!!!
Last question, If you could be any fruit, what would it be and why?
An apple, they last the longest :-)
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PALS AND TO CHECK OUT THE REST OF THEIR COLLECTION, CLICK HERE
TO SHOP PALS ON FRUITLOOTS AND ADD TO YOUR GIFT BOX, CLICK HERE
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Photos courtesy of Pals