Polka dots and argyle patterns are usually about as wild as men’s socks get.
But for 18-year-old Randy Gervais, that wasn’t quite enough.
The Rummel High School senior recently kicked off a line of stylish socks after he couldn’t find high-quality hosiery that expressed his personality, he said.
Now Checker Box socks, launched in September, are carried at retail stores, such as Rubensteins, Jeff’s Haberdashery, and the Roosevelt gift shop, and on his website, checkerboxusa.com.
“With men and socks, if you want a fun unique sock, there are only stripes, polka dot, argyle, or solid,” Gervais said “I felt that there is so much creativity in other clothing items. So why not socks?”
Both Gervais’ parents are in business for themselves. He said his father, also named Randy, is the owner of Royal Productions, an audiovisual, set design and production company for events. His mother flips houses.
They initially funded his project, but he has already paid them back — sooner than he expected.
“As we saw him speaking about his idea more and more, we just saw that flame was there for him to move forward to it,” said his mother, Lori Gervais. “So we figured that we would support him and let him know that he can make a difference.”
Gervais came up with a host of innovative designs for chic, lightweight socks. The bold graphic patterns include floating watches, zebra stripes, hearts and his signature psychedelic checkers.
Just to be on safe footing, there’s also a selection of good old solid-colored dress socks.
The hosiery retails for $20 to $26 a pair.
Inspired by vintage black and white checker patterns, Gervais named his company Checker Box, and began calling clothing manufacturers.
This month, the high schooler will debut a casual line of socks and accessories, geared toward a younger crowd.
Gervais has relied on social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to bolster his brand, frequently posting artsy images of new sock designs, storefront displays and behind-the-scenes shots from photo shoots.
When a person buys a pair of Checker Box socks and posts a picture of them, Gervais will repost the picture with a comment and then follow that person.
“I want to create an emotional connection with my customers, not just a clothing line,” he said.
And, he recently teamed up with Susan G. Komen, donating 30 percent of the purchase of Pink & Gray socks to the foundation that fights breast cancer.
Although running a business after school requires a balancing act, Gervais focuses on his studies while in class and sketches pattern designs on his iPad during breaks. His after-school appointments usually involve a Checker Box activity, whether it be a photo shoot, a meeting with a client or a design session.
Black, white, tan: There will never be any shortage of boring footwear out there.
But Gervais is hoping that fashionable men are willing to vote for change — with their feet.