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Show HN: I love weird socks and I'm finally launching my lifestyle business (sotmclub.com)
243 points by wolfparade on June 1, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 79 comments



Design feedback: Your 'buy now' and 'learn more' buttons on the homepage are very hard to see. They need to stand out. Make them bigger and bolder, or change the color (red would stand out much more and still fit into your overall theme), or fade out the background slightly. Or, ideally, do more than one of those things. You really don't want those buttons to be hard to see.

Cost and details of what you get should be listed prominently on the signup page. I see the cost on the homepage, but only after looking really hard. You need details on what kinds of socks you're going to be sending out. Pictures seem essential for something like this. (Don't make me go looking for them. Make them bigger.) Your 'learn more' page desperately needs actual information as well.


How easy is it to cancel? Whats the quality of the socks like? Where are they made? Where are large pictures that depict some sort of detail about the socks?

None of this was evident in the minute I spent looking around the site and I ended up closing it.


I didn't ask any of these questions, understood the larger concept, and signed up. it sounds like you just don't like socks.


I don't like socks? If it's sarcasm, I'm missing it. I've got socks that cost 3$ a pair through ones that cost 30-35$ a pair and quite a few of them all at that. While you might choose to blindly dive in, I like to ascertain the quality of the product that I'm getting.

And why spend 12$ a month on these when I can buy something from Happy Socks or Richer Poorer socks for 12$ a pair from a multitude of patterns and designs whenever I want to and be assured of good quality every time?!


I have to agree with you. The call to action is easy to miss because I don't expect it to be in the lead visual. And then clicking on subscribe just gets me a form to fill out, well before I'm willing to pay. And the about page is cute, but not at all informative.


Also, mentioning this works only in the US would be a good thing too. While people can deduce it from that the adress contains State and not Country, it would be better to spell it explicitly so we don't get our hopes up needlessly.


Wow, I didn't even know they were there until reading this comment. Also, the links to your blog posts are "not found."


Same here! Red would be an option, but consider putting several links throughout the page too. There mustn't be a time when you don't see an (obvious) link to buy your product.


Also: make the buttons actual... buttons in the HTML sense; not links.


MAKE IT MORE OBVIOUS TO BUY THIS

Put a gigantic button under that sock graphic that says:

"Sign up now for $11/mo"

I want to sign up for your service, but I almost closed the page thinking that you hadn't launched yet. The only thing that kept me looking was the gallery. Since it looks like you've been doing this, I /kept/ looking for the sign up link.

You need ot change this immediately!

Also put a price on this thing!


Is it $11 / month? I couldn't find that anywhere.

This would be a cute gift for my wife - the posted socks fit her style, and if it is $11 / month, it's certainly affordable. But I'm not going to sign up for something if I'm not sure I know what it costs.

[Edit: Ah-ha, the other commenters here pointed its location out. Pricing has to be prominent and up front - little grey text always gets skimmed / glossed over.]


Also place the following in the top horizontal menu on each page:

  Buy
  a subscription


Exactly what I was going to say. I had to dig around for the sign up link.


I thought the large Buy Now button was not that hard to see :)


To me it really blends in with the picture on the front page. It took me a long time to find it.


This feels more like a blog than a quirky site that sells socks. You need a couple of things fixed:

1. Front page needs to be clearer about what you are offering. The socks themselves are not directly described, the cost sort of shows up in the wall of text below, and the call to action buttons are small. The option to actually view the socks is hard to find at the top bar

2. The sock gallery page needs a lot more work. I can't seem to click to actually see more images. Why are the images themselves so completely boring? Take some filtery pictures, take pictures of you wearing your socks, I don't know, SOMETHING. You're only selling a small range, this really shouldn't be a problem. Remove whatever php 2002 gallery code you're using and build something more image friendly that's less about lists. We live in the age of pinterest.

3. When you fix your gallery, replace your front page with it.

4. I think your actual product has a lot of potential, although I don't think your socks are particularly quirky enough. For example I don't see what's so special about the May pair (maybe because I can't click to actually look at it in detail). I want a pair of socks that has Captain Picard and Darth Vader having a fist fight.


I disagree with most of this post and here's why: this site needs to connect with the type of people that are looking for socks of the month. I'd assume those people are more the whimsical type and that's exactly what this front page is.

Still, I would agree that something cooler should happen when you click on a particular sock -- maybe a funny video?

Keep it up, it looks great!


I love this idea. I love the site. I hate that 3 minutes of searching didn't reveal to me the price. I'm going back to search a bit more.


Huh? Front page, under the first headline, it's the second paragraph of text on the landing page. $11/month.


Oh wow. That's bad. It's in small font buried in a pargraph of text. The price really needs to be in big letters somewhere. Clicking buy doesn't even point out the price.

(Subscribe page has no price anywhere that I see : http://www.sotmclub.com/subscribe)


Clicked around for 30 seconds trying to find the price, came to the comments to find it. The "Exclusive" header made me think all the text under it would explain that the socks are exclusive, so I skipped it.

I'd at least put the price in the How It Works and Subscribe sections, that's where I looked.


This is the second comment about not being able to find the price. I saw it on the first visit, but perhaps making it more visible (even with just a different color) might be helpful. Maybe A/B the current page with one with more prominent price placement?


Agree with tseabrooks. If nowhere else on the site (why not?), the price should be large on the subscribe page.


I didn't found it either until I read this comment, great copy writing and design otherwise,


I absolutely love this and was about to sign up when I noticed that you don't specify sizes.

I have large (size 15) feet. Are your socks going to fit me? You should mention sizing or let people choose.

Also the blog isn't working.


Have to agree with this. Fun socks for $11/month is cool, but only if there's an option to get socks that fit my 14EEEE feet.


Love the idea, as I too love and have many weird socks.

Feedback:

Obviously, as others mentioned the call to action is incredibly weak and I also thought you may not have launched yet when looking for the Sign Up link.

Copy is hilarious on the front page.

Learn More actually gives you no new information, which is quite annoying. That section needs more. Can I cancel anytime? Am I charged monthly or annually? Maybe something about the socks, "we source top quality socks from brands like X, Y, Z using whatever fancy cotton". Do you ship internationally? I'm in Canada.

Your blog entries other than January don't exist, sloppy. How can I see the brand of the sock in the gallery?

I will likely sign up when I get some more info. Best of luck.


There was an article about this recently, rise of weird socks in the Valley, hah found it: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/fashion/in-silicon-valley-...

I think it would be good to put a link to this and similar news items on your home page. Fashion trends are mostly stampedes, many people would buy your socks if they know people from FB and Twitter are wearing them, i.e. it's a new trend.

It has links to your competitors but I think the trend validation is worth it.


This is a great idea.

Popup photos of socks need to be larger with more detail.

Consider annual subscription at $99 or less and see if that helps. 11*12=$132 is a lot for socks, especially since some of them are going to be duds.

Need more photos to jump start this than the first 4 months of selections so one can more accurately judge your taste.

Consider a birthday or holiday bonus sock - annual subs get 13 socks.

Bug report: I see 5 blog titles listed but the urls to all but the first one lead to a 'not found'.


Not sure what their margins are. But I'd give them 99$ today to send my wife 13 pairs of socks. :-)


Cool! Great socks that will get me laid. $11/month? Doable. I'm not in the US (Canada, which is close but oh so far when shopping online), so I look all over for an FAQ or Shipping policy. Can't find it. Now I won't get laid. Bummer.

You're getting lots of feedback it seems and it's the early days yet. The messaging is there, I think. People are motivated by two things: Will it get me laid or get me paid? You've got that down.

Now it is just details.


Great idea. The gallery could use some work however. Hovering over an entry creates all sorts of nervous animations that left me wondering if its just broken for my browser. Then clicking an image centers the image at the very same resolution, when I was hoping for something bigger.

Finally, the blog links seem to be entirely place holders.


Same here. Having a click-to-enlarge option and serving the same picture is bad design.


I love the humour in the copy 'Don't worry. Hike up your pant leg and show some October sock. "Wow those are good looking socks" says the attractive human being'


I think it's an awesome idea, much like http://www.dollarshaveclub.com/. And just like that site, you should A) make a funny video that will make people laugh. I almost signed up to DSC because of that video and know friends who did. And B) make a big ass button next to it with the price that leads you to the subscription page.

It's almost there. The design is compelling and made me consider it and click all over the site to see what else there was to see.

Also like DSC, consider adding a couple pricing tiers. A $1 a month?! I almost can't say no and would just sign up for the hell of it. Maybe $1 a month just gets you fresh pair of white socks. $11 gets you the amazing mustache socks.


Looks really cool. As other commenters pointed out I also couldn't find the price and I think you might be missing part of your target audience when you say:

You're at a party talking to an attractive member of the opposite sex.


>>> You're at a party talking to an attractive member of the opposite sex.

You're at a party talking to a member of the attractive sex.

A small change to make. I feel a bit conflicted suggesting a change to be inclusive of gays when the idea to do so was triggered by the stereotype in my head "What about all the well-dressed gay guys?". Odd...


> You're at a party talking to a member of the attractive sex.

For some, there can be more than one attractive sex.


Hey, Really nice initiative. Some quick feedback.

- I would really improve the quality of socks. Especially design wise. I would have subscribed in an instant but then looked at the lineup and was dissapointed.

- Lifestyle business is as much about the experience as it is about the product. Make me feel happy. Everlane is one of the best online experiences I have seen. Especially since you have a simple proposition and only one product to sell you can do a lot in the experience factor without making things unusable.

- Use better product photography

-I love the "How it Works" part

- I think you are already doing but use your blog as the bandwagon for raising awareness and interests in socks. Maybe even push content from other sites about socks? Like this one? http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/fashion/in-silicon-valley-...

Feel free to ping me @tuhin for more design related and experience feedback


Your website is pretty, but you you need to inform the user of three things.

1. How to pay for the service. (I looked around the page for "buy" then I looked at the source page for "buy", I didn't find it. It wasn't before I came to the comments that I knew where to look).

2. How much it costs. It should be bigger and easier to read.

3. Details on the service. Monthly cost, one pair sent each month, only available for US residents.

---

I suggest making a short summary in the graphic that stands a bit out with a summary of the service, as well as putting the "buy" or "subscribe" alongside the home/now/view/read/write.

Also, if the rest of the world is excluded because of too high shipping-costs, how about offering a collection? Say every half a year, for an additional shipping. No reason to not take money from those willing to pay :)


Congrats on launching! I also started a lifestyle business (Startup Threads and the monthly part StartupThreadsMonthly) and my advice would be to think deeply on how you will acquire users: thats the hard part. There are basic changes to the site you should think of, many of them in this thread, but finding people who care about this kind of thing should be the main thing you should be concentrating on. Would love to trade thoughts on this if you need some help in thinking about this frank at startupthreads dot com.


Just showed this to my wife, a major sock whore, and while she LOVES the idea, she complained that she can't use it because it doesn't spell out how you intend to bill her and when.

Is it upfront for the year? Pro-rata? Subscription billing of $11 a month? etc.

Aside from that, we both love the idea and the copy. I probably should echo the other sentiments expressed here - call to action is hard to find, price should be easier to find, etc.

Also, my wife just lamented that she can't go back and buy April's sock. Is there anything she can do about that?


I don't wear weird socks but I would enjoy a surprise "gift" sent to me every month. A weird gadget, a cool piece of art, something nice. I would gladly pay for this.

"thesurpriseclub.com" is available...


How much would you pay? You'd need to pay close to $3-400 a year to get a weird gadget or a piece of art. Plus shipping. It's a non-starter for most people, unless you make it exclusively for the rich.


$30 per month is not "exclusively for the rich", is it? Not in the Western world at least.)


No, but now it's in "I really gotta think about it" territory.


I want to do something like this for DIY electronics. Not sure whether to target beginners or more experienced builders.


This is a great idea and your descriptions and illustrations are hilarious.

A couple things - on the subscription form you might need to provide some details about what countries you can ship to (The "State", "Zipcode", and lack of a "Country" input box implies that it's only for U.S. addresses but it should be explicit).

I was also unclear on whether subscribers would be charged for shipping costs (is it included? or extra? If it's in addition to the $11/mo, can you provide rates?).


- Like other commenters said -- make "Buy Now" and "Learn more" more prominent on the homepage.

- I'd also feature the price right there -- "We deliver a pair of socks once a month for $11."

- Feature pricing on "About" and "Subscribe" pages.

- On Subscribe pages, where do I enter payment info? Why page doesn't have SSL? (I assume payment info is submitted on the next page, but it is not clear -- maybe change "Submit" to "Next: enter payment info")

- I'd change "Write/Contact Us" at the top to "Buy Now".

Edit: formatting


i have to agree with all the other comments about buy now buttons (get them out of that image. Add some down by the text, make them FREAKING OBVIOUS ) and making pricing more obvious.

Personally I like my socks to be white and come in bags with other socks, which probably explains why I think spending $11 a month for a single pair of socks is insane, but I'm obviously not the target market.


Please don't artificially limit the e-mail addresses that you'll accept. My address, before adding in a + tag is 27 characters.


Quick bit of design feedback, in general I love the cute quirky illustrated nature of the site. However examples like the "?" for the upcoming socks just don't work. The thinness of the line just make it seem amateurish. When doing this kind of style make sure you use a thick enough line so it feels like a cartoon.


Where are the standard social buttons? You launched without a FB page?! When I post a link to your page (copy/paste) to FB the two graphics that are available for thumbnails are "learn more" and "buy now". Those thumbnail graphics may be as useful in pulling in customers as the copy text, but are wasted here.


I love the artwork :)

A way to sign up to get informed by e-mail when shipment outside the US becomes available would be awesome.


Looks cool, but too hard to find pricing.

And for anyone that loves odd socks, this is an awesome site (not affiliated, i just love their sock selections and used them for years): http://www.sockdreams.com/_pages/index.php


If you can get Robert Griffin III to endorse, you're set! His socks are very weird and very awesome.


Ha you beat me to mentioning RG3


I'd recommend reaching out to (or just researching) http://manpacks.com and see how they're doing. It seems like a similar business model and you may get some insight on what does/doesn't work for them.


30 characters or less for the email field? Why? :( My current work email domain is lakeview-museum.org, with the @ that's 20 characters, leaving only 10 for someone's identifier. Luckily mine is only 5, but still, 30 seems way too small.


Toe socks any time soon? And, 2 pairs at a time? My wife loves wearing mismatched crazy socks, and is hooked on Vibram Five Finger shoes. Myself, I can't wear toe socks unless they have really-long toes (and almost none of them do).


Most of the blog links are broken. I wanted to see where/what kind of socks each was to check quality.

All I know is the first pair of socks were cashmere and had hand stitched seems so I know at least you were serious about that one.


I'm signing up, I'm getting my friends to sign up. I haven't seen any responses from wolfparade yet but I find it amazing how much constructive criticism is coming out of this.


Do you only get one pair of socks? A months worth?

Edit: Just found it, I would make it more clear that it is one pair. I easily overlooked the splash image, maybe make it stand out more.


I think there's a big opportunity here on the gift front too- everyone gets socks from a relative at some point!

Let relatives buy subscriptions (the socky gift that keeps giving).


I had this thought, as well. Let me buy someone a year of SOTM as a gift.


The footer blog links don't work, looks like they got deleted from the blog itself (or were placeholders and thus never existed in the first place).


Can't find the price. But I love the artwork.


been scanning the site. looks cool, love the concept. I got slightly annoyed that I couldn't find the price. Came back here, cntr+f price, ah seccond paragraph... ah yes it's there... oh I now see it's also on the subscribe page, yet I somehow still missed it .. I guess the colored images took my attention!


That's one cool idea! And I like the not so serious aproach. Thumbs Up!

unfortunately it's not working in europe... Or am i wrong?


I'd love to see the socks right on the home page, with a better call to action "Buy Now for just $x"...


The socks are cool, I'm just not sure if the suggested pickup line "I'm in this sock club" works.


Ha good stuff. I just emailed this to a couple of friends of mine who love interesting socks.


A more recent blog post wouldn't hurt. I bought. Make an affiliate program!!


Excellent idea, needs more info. Pictures, at the least!


How do I sign up? Where is the signup button?


This is AWESOME. I don't know why, but it is.


Blog links are broken in the footer.


the buy now learn more is really hard to read, thats why I also didnt find the price


I can't disrespect those that go to the effort of setting up a business. So congrats on the venture. There are a few variations of this business, so maybe it works. However can someone explain if this business model is profitable? Socks and underwear feel like the last thing I would subscribe to on a monthly basis?




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