STACEY and her SOCK DOGS

OrigSockDogs_LogoNBStacey and her sock dogs

Stacey and her Original Sock Dogs

At Foot Traffic we love animals. That is why we are so excited to introduce you to Stacey, an incredible plush designer and dog enthusiast. Stacey has been using our Foot Traffic microfiber socks for several years and we were fortunate to get a call from her and soon discovered how her love of animals gave her the inspiration to make sock dogs,www.sockdogs.com.  Going from hobby to now a full time job, Stacey juggles motherhood (two kids and a houseful of pets) and making sock dogs as a way to support her passion for saving animals.  A percentage of the proceeds of her sales goes to HSGKC and other animal rescue programs. We love Stacey’s mission as well as her adorable plush creations.
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Stacey, how long have you been making sock dogs?

“The first sock dogs I made were for Art Unleashed, an annual pet-themed art auction benefiting the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, in 2005. I had no idea what I was doing when I made the first sock dogs! My background is in writing, illustration and character design, but I was in no way a seamstress. In fact, at the time, my job was New Media Producer for Hallmark—primarily concepting and directing e-cards along with a team of phenomenal artists. That’s about as far from sewing as you can get!

 I completely winged it, with a little help from the book “Stupid Sock Creatures” by John Murphy—sock monsters were becoming very popular, so I thought I’d give sock pets a try. When they sold at the auction for over $100 each, I was shocked. And I knew I had discovered something potentially great. I continued making dogs and cats of my own design for the next few years, but as word spread, I began getting more and more requests for customs based on actual pets. Now, the customs make up nearly all of my business.”

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What is the most difficult dog you have designed?
“I’m always happy to try anything, and I love a challenge! The long-haired dogs do take longer to make than the short haired pooches. For the fluffy/shaggy/curly dogs, I use a combination of socks and plush (fake) fur. I am currently working on a trio of Newfoundlands, and the fur is flying!”

What kind of socks do you like to use for your animals?
“I take a good look at the pet photos I get from the customer, and try my best to match the pet’s fur texture with the right pair of socks. For dogs with coats like Labs and Pit Bulls , I use cotton/acrylic knee socks, which I hand dye to match the actual dog’s coloring. For terriers and dogs/cats (and last month, a chinchilla), with short, shiny coats the Foot Traffic microfiber fuzzy socks are the best! I also hand dye these and they absorb the colors really well. My customers love how soft they are, too. I have to laugh at myself sometimes—I have a studio stocked with the nicest, softest socks—all brand new and reserved exclusively for the sock dogs. But the socks in my wardrobe? Yawn. I just can’t stand to keep any of the nice ones for myself!”

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What is your most unusual sock dog story?
I was recently asked to make a custom sock dog based on a MWD (Military Working Dog) by the mom of a soldier. Jajo, a German Shepherd, and the soldier had both been injured by an IED in Afghanistan. Both received a purple heart for their service. The soldier’s mom wanted him to have a replica of his best buddy while he recovered from his injuries, as Jajo could not stay with him in the barracks. (Jajo is currently recovering and enjoying the retired life back home with mom.)

Many of the customs I make are for people who recently lost a beloved pet. These are always meaningful to me, because they help dog moms and dads cope with and heal from their loss. I get so many e-mails telling me about the “good cry” someone had after receiving their custom. I’m so happy to be able to help anyone in this way with my art. It’s very humbling.”

Tell me about your mission to save animals

” Two weeks ago, thanks to sales from custom Original Sock Dogs, I was able to donate $500 to sponsor a sweet female Pit Bull with large medical expenses who was running out of time at Animal Control. The donation, along with the efforts of the fantastic volunteers at Animal Control and the rescue group that took her in, literally saved her life. This was a big donation—other weeks, I’ve given $10, $20 to sponsor various animals at Animal Control. Every dollar makes a difference. Knowing that the sales of my artwork actively and directly help these dogs is the best and most rewarding part of what I do. Since beginning Original Sock Dogs, I have donated 10% (and often more) of every sale to various rescue groups, including the Humane Society of Kansas City, Mid-America Bully Breed Rescue  and Angel City Pit Bull Rescue in LA. I also donate many sock dogs to auctions and raffles benefiting animal shelters around the world. I use my Facebook Page (Original Sock Dogs) to share my plush art with others, create awareness and find sponsors and rescues for shelter dogs and cats in need.”

If I want you to make a dog for me, how much will it cost and how long will it take?
“All customs are $95, regardless of complexity. I try to keep my price relatively low and fair, to give people an affordable option when it comes to immortalizing their pet. The amount of time it takes to make a custom varies—it depends on the type of dog (or cat, or any animal), the markings on its coat, the length of the fur. From start to finish, it could be anywhere from 3 hours to 3 days. However, if you placed an order today (June), I would have it ready for you in September due to my extensive waiting list. I received some fantastic, unexpected publicity from the Whole Dog Journal last year and was flooded with orders. I am still working my way through all of them. I take a lot of time and care to capture each pet as best I can, and I truly love what I do. I know it’s hard to wait, but I promise the end result is worth it!”

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