Welcome to a Feature Friday. Every so often, I am going to feature a local or small business owner with an interview or feature piece. Here is the interview I got with the lovely Urania Shaklee, owner of the independent downtown Bellingham sock store, ModSock.
Hi Urania! I just saw your sock store the other day, I didn’t know Bellingham had it’s very own sock-only store, how long have you been around?
ModSock opened its doors in December 2011, just two weeks after I moved across the country from New York. It was a crazy time, for sure!
I love socks, any sock is that is cute, bright and funky is so me. How did you get into the business of selling socks? And why socks?
I started selling socks in my New York store The Purple Doorknob in 2010. I admit I borrowed the idea after a trip to California early that year. At that time, I had been a self-employed antiques dealer for five years, which had been feast and famine, in that order. My retail store was becoming a casualty of the economic collapse. I knew I needed to transform my business into something totally different if I was going to survive, and I had this harebrained idea that I couldn’t let go of. Socks were the perfect solution because not only are they fun, but they are affordable and a bit of a necessity!
Being a business owner is challenging because you have to wear many hats. I definitely work harder than I ever did when I had a job. There are aspects I love, but others I loathe. When I have a particularly difficult day, I just visualize myself back in a cubicle. Self-employment has its perks. My favorite part of owning my own business is that there is creative space in it. It is about “making” the business more than it is about “owning” it. You get to mold and shape it into what you have envisioned, and then you get to share it with others.
What are your favorite things about socks?
Socks are a great way to express yourself, no matter what your personality or style
If you could say anything to a sock, what would it be?
I would ask, ‘Where is your mate?!‘
I’m a total localvore and adore my community and the small businesses that make it unique. Why is it important to you that you are part of Bellingham’s local community?
Small, local businesses play a vital role in maintaining a community’s economic health and uniqueness. As a small business owner, it is important to me to serve the community in a way that supports these ideals. In an increasingly homogenized world, it is refreshing that Bellingham, as a community, recognizes the value in sustaining its local businesses.