Carrie Atkinson was 26 when she began her entrepreneurial journey. At that time, she couldn’t find a “real job” that was satisfying despite her sincere motivation, good job history, and marketing degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She then remembered a nice pair of socks that she had gotten from Korea while teaching English there years earlier. They were comfortable, affordable, and colorful. Atkinson figured that if she liked them, then other people in America might, too. After mulling over the possibility of starting her own business for a year and a half, Atkinson took the leap and launched Sock It to Me in 2004.

Based in Portland, Oregon, Sock It to Me sells men’s, women’s, and children’s socks with fun and funky designs such as mustaches, unicorns, ninjas, dinosaurs, tacos, and “other things magical.” During the company’s early days, Atkinson kept her day job of cleaning houses while she tested the sock market. Working out of her bedroom, she participated at a local weekend market and eventually landed her first wholesale customer, Naked City, which still carries her socks today. Atkinson also started going to national trade shows and wore colorful knee high socks wherever she went. The business gradually grew, and Sock It to Me can now be found around the world. In 2010, the company’s revenue exceeded $1 million.

Sock It to Me promises to have something for every personality, with more than 200 different designs in various styles including crew, knee high, and over the knee. The company also gives sock lovers the opportunity to put anything they want on a pair of socks through its ongoing Design a Sock contest. Winning artists get a cash award and their designs are put into production.

Atkinson says she wants Sock It to Me to be staples in people’s wardrobe. She’s not stopping at socks, however, and reveals that the company is slowly exploring other options such as tank tops and underwear.