Get to know sock connoisseur, mum and small business owner Sarah Willmott, the creator behind the colourful sock label Joode. She’s joining the Sydney/Eora Design Market lineup on the 16th-18th of June at our new home, the Hordern Pavilion, for three days of creative connection. As we countdown to market weekend, we caught up with Sarah to learn more about Joode and get a sneak peek at new designs to warm your heart and soles this winter!
What inspired you to start Joode?
I was inspired to create my own socks when I was looking for soft-coloured women’s socks and couldn’t find any. My ‘day job’ is sending care packages to help people feel better. My sock supplier stopped wholesaling to Australia (I know – the cheek!) And so the trip down the sock rabbit hole began, and I emerged with a new business called Joode and some lovely pastel women’s socks and some very fun unisex designs.
What did you do before you started your label?
I still have my ‘day job,’ meaning I can now spread the Joode love near and far. I love that socks can be the gift that keeps on giving. Every time someone pulls on that fun pair of socks you sent to them, they think of you and feel loved. I know before I owed 594,937 pairs of my own socks, I would always sort through my sock drawers to find the socks that suited my mood or would make me smile.
Which is your favourite pair of socks?
My favourite socks are the peaches. But I confess the socks that get the most use in my wardrobe are the simple pastel raindrop range. Especially the sage. Who knew?!
What do you love most about designing socks/being a sock connoisseur?
My favourite thing about owning a sock business is something I was not expecting. It is the squeals of delight and joy when ‘my people’ (sock-loving customers) find my socks in shops and markets. They stand in a funny kind of delight and say out loud the different designs they spot. Most often, it’s ‘crab socks’, I know, funny hey, I wasn’t expecting them to be so popular either. One thing I have learnt about owning my own sock business is you never know the ones people will love the most.
Tell us about your creative space. What’s your studio like?
My creative space is a warehouse in Highett, Melbourne. I have an office at the front and a warehouse behind, and it is wonderful. I spent six years working from home, gradually taking over every nook and cranny, working most evenings and weekends (for my day job). I still work from my laptop but not nearly as much as in previous years. When I come into my office each day, it feels like a treat. I’m not sure it will ever get old. My friend asked me if I get lonely because I do spend 75% of the time alone, but I don’t. I have audible as my companion, and that too feels like a luxury to be listening to stories while working. But there is that tiny downside of the Melbourne temperatures in the warehouse. In summer, I’m melting packing orders, and in the height of winter, I’m donning my warmest attire.
What are you most excited about at the Sydney/Eora Market?
I’m looking forward to the new venue in Sydney. I used to live nearby in Randwick, and I have friends that feel like family and know the area and people well. I have fond memories of visiting Finders Keepers in Sydney before our move to Melbourne.
What’s new for Finders Keepers this season?
I am debuting our new winter designs in Sydney – They all have smiling faces; I can’t resist. Look out for some Croissants, Burgers, Pandas, Avocados and Fairy Floss. And after popular request, we are launching our Children’s socks. Six designs, three sizes for small feet that will fit 5-6yrs, 7-8yrs and 9-10yrs.
What’s a song you’d love to add to the Market Playlist?
Totally random, but my daughter has been singing an old Keane song ‘Somewhere Only We Know,’ and it’s a classic. We belted it out in the car on an overseas trip recently, and it still makes me laugh that my husband and I know it from almost 20 years ago and my kids love it now.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m really looking forward to meeting new stallholders, catching up with previous ones, eating the food from the food vendors, looking around myself at the stalls and meeting new customers (and sometimes old customers!) It’s still a little daunting, but maybe that’s the fun of it also. It adds a little extra spice to my life.