Kelsey Holding & Hilda Boden, Co-Founders of Ocker Socks
Urban Dictionary's illustrates an ocker as a stereotypical Australian - a beer in one hand, BBQ tongs in the other, thongs on their feet, watching footy on the TV.
Ocker Socks, emblazoned with its quintessential Aussie fauna, meat pies and beer glasses, is just that: so bloody Australian.
Kelsey Holding and Hilda Boden are the heels of the business, part of the UQ community themselves, operating the budding startup from their bedrooms. We sit down with the duo to see what first knocked their socks off.
When and why did you start Ocker Socks?
Kelsey: I've always had a love for funky socks. After completing my first year at UQ at the end of 2017, I noticed the cult following of ibis and bush turkeys at the St Lucia campus. What started as a desire to own a pair of ibis and turkey socks myself, evolved into a promising business venture expanding into a range of Australian-themed designs.
What were some of the challenges of creating your socks?
Kelsey: Starting out with no industry experience or contacts at first seemed a bit daunting. It meant everything would have to be built from the ground up. But I was lucky enough to know Hilda who was a very talented graphic designer and business partner.
Ocker Socks have a range of quintessentially Australian designs.
What’s the process of creating a pair of Ocker’s, from design to purchase?
Kelsey: After the first two designs of UQ birds proved to be popular, we decided we wanted to pursue a design range that was Australian-themed and manufactured in Australia (hence the name “Ocker” Socks).
Hilda: Once we have a design in mind, I create a digital copy to be sent to our manufacturers down in Sydney. Following a process of drafting and mock up samples, we arrive at our final design. We are fortunate enough to be able to sell our socks online and at multiple small businesses around the country, including UQ Shop! We also enjoy selling our socks at the UQ markets - that's where it all began.
Favourite shoes to pair with funky socks?
Kelsey: Ocker Socks doesn't discriminate with style! I've gone from matching my Ocker's with boots to thongs.
Hilda: I've worn them with everything, from my Birks to my gym kicks.
What’s your favourite pair of socks to date?
Hilda: Ibis are definitely the superior birds!
Kelsey: It has to be the bush turkeys! But our differences aside, it's been very entertaining hearing everyone’s opinions when they visit us at the UQ market.
What advice would you give to budding business owners aspiring to be where you are today?
Kelsey: What started as a passing idea in my first year of uni has led to a full time job. When we first started out we didn’t jump straight into the deep end, we started off slow and tested the waters.
Hilda: We took on as much feedback as we could and grew from there. That would be the best advice we could give to anyone aspiring to pursue their ideas.
And so the debate still stands - ibis, or bush turkey?