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MissMatched
So the socks don't match...but Jonah Straw may just sell $5 million's worth anyhow.
August 1, 2005: 8:34 AM EDT
By Carlye Adler, Fortune Small Business

NEW YORK (Fortune Small Business) - CEO Jonah Staw, 30, knew that selling socks that don't match was an idea that had legs ("It allows kids to express themselves!") but says his manufacturing partner was hurting his relationship with his retailers.

Since MissMatched switched to a new supplier last October, major department stores such as Filene's and Macy's have taken notice, and Staw says his sales will rise from $1 million in 2004 to an estimated $5 million this year.

QUICK CHANGE: The founders of MissMatched, which was started in San Francisco in 2003, were surprised to learn that department store buyers wanted manufacturers to be involved in post-production decisions ranging from marketing issues to merchandise assortment.

"We didn't have that level of service from our original supplier," says Staw, who made the decision to defect to Manhattan-based Royce, which works with apparel giants such as Dockers, Nautica, and Nine West.

BEST FOOT FORWARD: Having already extended its product line beyond the $4.4 billion sock market—into tights, flip-flops, sleepwear, and bedding -- the company is taking its concept of nonconformity to the world of publishing (My MissMatched Life, a scrapbook published by Chronicle Books, is due in spring 2006).

Even Staw, who wears oddly paired socks every day, admits that when it comes to finding a partner, it pays to find the right match.  Top of page

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