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Sweden - SOCKSSS found in Japan the perfect customer and business partner

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement eliminates tariffs on socks, giving this Swedish firm the chance to be competitive in a market with huge potential for fashion and design. 

Country or region
  • Japan
Trade topics
  • Exporters' stories
EU exporter
  • Sweden

Key facts

  • Founded in: 2019 
  • Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden 
  • Employees: 3
  • Annual turnover: EUR 600,000 (2022)  

SOCKSSS is a small and young company founded in Sweden in 2019, specialised in socks made with sustainable materials and outstandingly designed. The SOCKSSS factory is in Portugal and works to high standards in terms of sustainability and materials used.

How the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement helped

Being a single product company, SOCKSSS decided to think globally, but adopted a careful and specific approach to finding markets. SOCKSSS chose to focus on the Japanese market because of the attention to quality and design that characterises both the Japanese customer and the country’s textile manufacturing. As a first step, the company sold through stores. The socks produced in Portugal turned out to be very successful in Japan. 

As a second step, SOCKSSS found a partner to produce the socks in Japan itself. Surprisingly, the socks produced in Japan were mostly appreciated by European customers, while Japanese customers continued to prefer socks produced in Portugal.

Sean Fry, co-founder of SOCKSSS and in charge of the trade and business strategy, explains that when approaching the Japanese market, his research revealed that the Economic Partnership Agreement in place with the EU fully abolished tariffs on socks that were previously at 6.5%. This made them much more competitive on the Japanese market.

SOCKSSS tripled its turnover in just one year. Sales in Japan increased by 25% from September 2022 to March 2023. The company plans a steady year- on-year increase by 10-15% until at least end 2024, aiming to open physical stores in Japan, Italy and France.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement eliminates the tariffs on socks, helping us both to import the products in Europe and to export them to Japan. Without the agreement, we would not have had the opportunity to be competitive in a market which has a huge potential for fashion and design, finding the perfect kind of customer, and values that align well with our pursuit for high levels of quality and sustainability.

Sean Fry, 
Co-founder, SOCKSSS, and in charge of the trade and business strategy