Happy Socks Treads Into the Swimwear World

More than a decade ago, a Swedish advertising executive and an illustrator banded together in Stockholm to start Happy Socks with the goal to make the world a happier place with some crazy-looking socks with colorful prints.

Since that fortuitous beginning in 2008 between Mikael Söderlindh and Viktor Tell, the company has manufactured more than 40 million socks and seen its annual revenues climb to over $100 million.

The fast-growing company now occupies a six-story building called the Happy House in the heart of Stockholm and has more than 100 stores around the world. The second Happy Socks store in Los Angeles opened in May in the Silver Lake area.

With so much going on, who would have thought that a company that started out covering your toes would decide to dip its sock-clad feet into the swimwear world? But that is exactly what Happy Socks has done. In April, Happy Socks released a collection of men’s and women’s swimwear in limited silhouettes made of the same Happy Socks prints found on your feet.

“This seemed like a big step for us, but it felt fairly natural,” said Carin Gunnstam, the company’s chief merchandising officer. “It partly comes from the fact that a lot of our fans have been asking for swimwear for a long time.”

The current collection launched in April with just one silhouette for women, a one-piece suit with a scooped neckline that comes in eight different prints, and two silhouettes for men, swim trunks in two lengths.

Happy Socks has one in-house print designer creating all the swimwear and an in-house product developer. All the swimsuits are manufactured in China with the men’s trunks made of 100 percent polyester and the women’s bathing suits made of polyester, polyamide and elastane.

Women’s suits retail for $75, and men’s swimwear prices range from $65 to $75, depending on the trunk length.

To inject a bit of fun into the new swimwear launch, Happy Socks teamed up with actor David Hasselhoff for a photo and video shoot in Malibu, Calif., where they had the former “Baywatch” star bobbing in an inner tube in a pool in his Happy Socks trunks, washing his car in his trunks, slip-sliding by the pool in his pink Happy Socks trunks, practicing some operatic vocals and doing high-kick karate moves for a promo called “Hoff’s Day Off.”

The idea is to appeal to the company’s demographic, which falls between the ages of 20 and 40. “Our brand’s mission is about spreading happiness to every corner of the world,” Gunnstam said. “That excitement extends to making people happy on the beach.”