After meeting in spin class, Iva Pawling and Tim Morse collaborated to create a line of comfortable, stylish socks in 2010. Since then, Richer Poorer based in San Juan Capistrano has become known for incredibly soft basics sold in mass retailers and local boutiques such as Brass Tack in Laguna Beach. “I always wanted to create a brand around socks (with) … really cool, relevant but timeless designs,” Morse says.
How did you start Richer Poorer?
Iva Pawling: We wanted to make a sock that was in between a super casual sock and a dress sock that you could wear with Converse or dress shoes. We started with men’s socks in May 2010 and were in stores including American Rag, Kitson, and Nordstrom that November. We launched men’s underwear two years later and then women’s socks the following year. We ended up launching T-shirts in 2015, which is really where the whole trajectory of the business changed.
Tell us about the bralette and women’s boxer.
We introduced the bralette at the end of 2016, and it sold out four times that year. The bralette was actually Tim’s idea. Bralettes had just started taking over, but they were all lace and uncomfortable and no one was doing really soft cotton bralettes that didn’t feel like a training bra. We wanted a counterpart to the bralette, but women are so specific about their underwear, so we looked at (the Femme Boxer) as more of a lounge item that she wants to wear around the house and sleep in. So we took the men’s boxer and just reengineered it for women. Women are now even wearing it … under dresses almost like when you used to wear bike shorts under dresses when you were little, but the adult version.
Is your brand sustainable?
As of last month, all of our (delivery) materials no longer use plastic polybags or virgin plastic—everything is made from recyclable materials, even our hangtags. We will never be the brand that’s trying to message that we are the sustainability brand, but we’re doing it because we think it’s good business practice. I think it’s going to be like smoking cigarettes in a few years—like you just don’t (use plastic) anymore. You don’t have a choice.
What is the Dirty Hands Club?
We do events once or twice a month, and the goal is to get people off their phones and learn something new because we’re all so stuck on these things and they kind of make us miserable. We did a pizza-making class, a CBD-cooking class, ceramics classes; we realized the satisfaction people get by doing something tangible. It’s just a nice way to rally people around and they can meet new people. This year we really want to take that into more of an activism angle. We’ll do events and education series about voting and trying to get people to register. All of our events will be posted on our Instagram and website.
Where do you see Richer Poorer going next?
We’d like to open a brick and mortar by the end of this year in Orange County, ideally at Irvine Spectrum. That’s the goal.