"Sliding into the sock business"
We want to thank Cindy Lange-Kubick from the Lincoln Journal Star for writing the amazing article about us that was featured in the paper! We truly appreciate it so much!
From, Jilly's <3
(Full Article featured below)
"Sliding into the sock business"
It’s quiet in this small shop sandwiched between the UPS Store and Williams Cleaners on Old Cheney Road.
“In the classroom, it was 600 miles an hour all day long,” says the woman behind the counter. “The bells and the students and all the noise they brought with them.”
These days Lori Goff -- owner of Jilly’s Socks 'N Such -- is surrounded by more subdued subject matter.
“The socks don’t talk back to me,” the retired teacher says in a tongue-and-cheek fashion that perhaps only another teacher can appreciate.
It’s not that Goff didn’t love her students, even the chatty ones. ("Socks don't give hugs, either," she says.)
It’s not that she didn’t love the bustle of 33 years of family and consumer science, first at Bryan Community School, then at Lincoln Southeast.
“I wanted to get out while the kids still liked me and I was still young enough to have another career.”
She’d been pondering a second career during her last years of teaching teenagers how to bake pies, deal with relationships, and design their ideal bedroom.
But owning a shop for sock lovers wasn’t her first choice.
“I really thought I was going to sell houses,” she says. “I love, love, love homes -- but there are too many Realtors in Lincoln and not another sock shop.”
Goff made up her mind to traffic in footwear instead of square footage before she left Lincoln Public Schools last May.
“My husband John and I were traveling a lot and it seemed everywhere we went, there was a sock shop.”
Visiting their son in Denver: sock shop.
Vacations in Minneapolis and New York City and Chicago: sock shop, sock shop, sock shop.
It was during a trip to San Francisco and visiting Sockshop Haight Street, with its 20-foot ceilings and socks that reached all the way to the top, that she and John looked at each other over a glass of wine, and decided: sock shop.
“We talked about it over dinner and we kept talking about it and talking about it.”
Lori opened the doors to Jilly’s on Feb. 1; she has two partners with minority shares in the business, her daughter-in-law Kim Goff, and the shop’s namesake Jillian Fiedler, a former student.
“I knew I didn’t want to work full time and I knew I needed a young person to help with technology and social media.”
The trio met every Tuesday for a year, nailing down their business plan. They held home parties before the 2016 holidays -- Sock Hops, they called them -- selling a thousand pairs of fun and funky socks before the brick-and-mortar doors opened.
That gave them confidence, and a following.
“I’m having a ball,” Goff says. “I can’t wait to walk in there.”
Fiedler, her 21-year-old former student and sock partner, feels the same way.
“I’ve always wanted to open my own business,’ said Fiedler, who is taking a break from college to help run the store. “It’s going really well, and it’s great having the UPS Store next door, people in and out all day.”
The owners have filled out the shop with kitchen towels and greeting cards and candles and a variety of gifts from local artists. (The “such” in Jilly’s Socks 'n.)
And Goff is learning her market.
“Men’s socks are selling like gangbusters, but it’s the women who buy them,” she says.
“Kids at Catholic school like to wear crazy socks with their Birkenstocks.” (To dress up their dress-alike uniforms.)
And surprise, pet lovers love pet socks. (Not for their pets, for themselves. “We recently started carrying these individual dog breed socks.”)
They carry Husker socks, too. And Girl Power socks (some of them rated R).
They carry cream for cracked heels so you don’t snag your good socks. And they’re planning a few sock-related fundraising events to help local nonprofits.
Six weeks into a three-year lease at 3900 Old Cheney, the small business owner thinks she made the right decision.
“John says you put enough effort and enough faith and enough fun ideas into it and it’ll make it,” Goff says. “That’s our philosophy right now.”
They are still getting their feet on the ground, she says.
Wearing socks, naturally.