Great Small Business: @gumballpoodle !

This week I interviewed a fantastic, great small business: @gumballpoodle !

“One of our very first sales events, ca. 2009-2010, with my pal Sam Phillips helping. I’ve been very fortunate to receive incredible support from my friends since the very beginning. “
  1. How did you start your business?:

” Gumball Poodle started on a whim, way back in 2008. I always wore knee socks and shorts – that was my look – and one day I decided I wanted knee socks that said OBAMA on them…We were all excited about the election, there were loads of t-shirts, bobbleheads, toilet paper, you name it. But as it happened, there were no socks. So I made these OBAMA knee socks, really just for me, but I had to make several thousand pairs. Luckily I had a few friends with stores that said they could sell some, and then other friends got me and my socks into the Manifest Hope Gallery during the DNC.

“Some of our first press – a feature in LA Weekly (before we were even a company!)”

My one-off socks turned out to be a sensation that garnered national press and demanded several manufacturing runs! After Obama won, I thought “that was fun!” And I had more ideas for socks so why not keep going? That is how we started – completely by accident.”

2. How did you come up with your business name?

“Totally random…I was failing at coming up with a name for the business, so I started a stream of consciousness list. Just writing down anything that popped into my mind. Then I looked up and saw my vintage toy poodle collection next to an antique gumball machine: Gumball Poodle! To me, the name conjures retro Americana, bright colors, playfulness, it’s kind of quirky. These are all characteristics our brand embodies so Gumball Poodle we became. “

” A few of those vintage toy poodles that inspired the name, Gumball Poodle”

3. What are your three most popular items and why do you think they are so popular?

” For now we only sell socks. So socks, socks and more socks are the most popular items in our catalog!”

“one of my favorite styles we’ve released so far this year, with a  bit of vintage ephemera…these types of things are what inspires me”

4. How do you come up with the phrases on the gym socks?

“Mostly just by wandering around and talking with people and looking at the world. I find inspiration at flea markets, random signs, old magazines. I enjoy just listening to conversations and sometimes hearing a single word or phrase, it jumps out at you! Words that start with “B” have a certain magic, they have a good mouth feel. “

5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would to share?

“Some of the designs from our artist collaboration with Oliver Hibert. Getting to work with him was a rare bright spot in 2020. I have been a fan for years.”

“We’re really enjoying our new Artist Collaboration series of socks. Every other month in 2021 we’re introducing a capsule collection of socks featuring designs from an artist we think is special…to date, the collections are with @oliverhibert , and @bunnieluvrocks – all really fun, unique artists whose work turned into rad socks. I’m super excited for the other artists we have queued up but who they are will have to be a surprise!”

If you like to learn more about Gumball Poodle. The following contact is below:


Instagram: @gumballpoodle

Thank you so much for the interview Erica!!

Until next time!

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