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Meet the Maker: Gina Locklear of Zkano

Here at The Grommet our mission is to put an end to nameless, faceless business and highlight the people and the stories behind the products we launch each day. And it's in that spirit that we're continuing this series to further share the stories of our Makers with you. Get to know them better, learn more about their journeys as Makers and entrepreneurs and learn how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

In this installment we're catching up with Gina Locklear the Maker behind Zkano.  We recently caught up with Gina to learn more about her journey as an entrepreneur, what advice she has for other Makers, and what's next for her business.

Meet the Maker: Zkano

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actress. In middle school and high school, I was almost always participating in a community play, it was my favorite thing to do. I played Alice from Alice in Wonderland in my senior play and have even been inspired by that character in some socks designs in the past.

Can you tell us more about your design inspiration?

It changes from season to season. Lately, bold is better. Our spring collection incorporates a lot of geometric shapes and patterns. Using unexpected color combinations is always a favorite of mine. I also love incorporating black and white stripes or designs into a sock pattern, a signature design detail for us that we use in some way each season.

How do you get around creative blocks?

I’ve found that simply taking a step away is most helpful for me when I get stuck. Usually, when this happens, I turn to something I enjoy doing to get my mind off the problem at hand. Once I do this, ideas start flowing freely again, almost every time.

Meet the Maker: Zkano

What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

My business turned five last fall and I still feel like I learn some kind of lesson on a daily basis. Currently, I'm learning that in order for my business to be stronger, I need to become comfortable with delegating certain tasks. When we started zkano, I was a one-woman show in many ways and handled most of the day-to-day tasks of the business. Because of this, the tendency is for me to feel like I still need to do these things on my own. We’re growing and I know that in order for zkano to be a success, I have to let go a bit and focus on other aspects of the business.

What has been the most rewarding part of business for you?

Watching it grow. When we launched Zkano in 2009, we only offered a few styles of basic athletic socks that came in natural and white. Though we still offer many of these styles, we have evolved into a full on fashion sock line and have over 150 styles in our fashion sock category alone. Seeing my business evolve into this over the years has been extremely rewarding for me, especially because fashion socks seemed like something we’d never be able to produce back in 2009.

Also, connecting with our customers. This is one of my favorite parts of doing what I do. We have seriously loyal customers. They call us, write letters, send emails and say hello at local events. Whether they are sharing some feedback about our socks or a story about how they personally identify with our mission, I love talking to each and every one of them. It truly warms my heart and overwhelms me with gratitude.


Our Community wants to know that their support of you and your product has made a difference. Please tell us if you were able to grow and in what way due to the sales, shares, and visibility you received from The Grommet and our community.

So many people now know who we are because of our friends at The Grommet. Partnering with The Grommet has greatly increased awareness about Zkano in ways that I would have never imagined. For instance, some fellow Alabamians stopped by our mill one day and wanted to buy socks. I automatically assumed they knew about us because we are an Alabama based business but no, they found out about us from The Grommet. They happened to be in the Fort Payne area when they read about us on our Grommet page and then stopped by our mill.

I honestly can’t count how many times I’ve heard from people that they discovered us from The Grommet. Whether it’s a buyer from a retail store, someone who I have chatted with at an event or even an acquaintance of mine, The Grommet has sent a lot of folks our way in the past four years. We’re grateful that The Grommet community feels inspired to share our story with others.

gina locklear Maker advice

What's up next for Zkano?

We are always looking at ways to expand our current offerings with more styles, fresh designs, and colors. More specifically, we are introducing new members to our product development team who will help us to achieve this on a larger scale each season. Additionally, we are bringing in brand new technology to our manufacturing process this summer that will add some great features to our entire lineup of socks.

A long time goal of mine has been opening a small store front to sell our socks here at our mill. If all goes as planned, this will happen for us in the near future!

To learn more about Zkano, watch our video here.


  • Lina Says:

    Love the socks! But also want to know where I can find those shoes (saddle shoes with cutouts) in the picture? Can you give me a lead?

    Thanks, Lina

  • Linda Charles Says:

    My niece Pat Toler lives in Ft.Payne. They also made socks. Now they have a yogurt store.

  • Amy Revels Says:

    Your business sounds wonderful! I would be very proud of it if I was you! For 5 years it sounds like you have made a lot of growth and new products. That is using your imagination, intuition, and patience and of course capital. When I was I 16 I had a small business earning $ for school and a car "sewing and tailoring" for $. I did that for 3yrs until I moved to Anchorage, AK. I did it there but on a much smaller smaller scale. I miss doing it on a larger scale. I would like to know more about purchasing some of Your Socks ( But I need the types and $). Thanks.

  • Joseph Says:

    Great success story!

  • Cynthia Says:

    Question. I have big calves, and many socks are too tight. I love the Annabelles, but am concerned they'll cut into my leg. Comment? xo

  • James Springer Says:

    interesting work. I used to be a carpet weaver.

  • Joyce Glatfelter Says:

    Love these socks! And the fact that they are made in America is an added special bonus!

  • Leslie Says:

    Continued sock success! I had to share my laugh with you. I thought it was the shoe you were promoting.. With cutouts by the 'baby toe' and maybe big toe, where new shoes often hurt. Lol I hope you think it's funny too!

  • Mona Says:

    Hi would love to try your socks, do you make them all white ? Are you familiar with Buster Brown socks? I guess you would say they are more like an anklet...and they leave no ring around your ankle or leg...I have been buying these for years, but it is getting harder and harder to find them....I did find and order some from "National" & "The Vermont Country Store? if you want to check and see what they are.....and the material from both places are so thin, I know they won't last a yr.....and I really had a time trying to get a correct size at National....had to return them twice for size change.....and I think they still are a bit too large, but don't want to return them a third times....so do you have any socks similar to these, or do you only have what is listed here ? Do you have a catalog of your socks ?
    Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks, Ms. Greer

  • rhonda Says:

    hi, how bout making arm sleeves? i have had this concoction for many years because i was forced to live in a cold state...

    i would love to share my ideas with you if might want to expand?



  • Carol Says:

    Hi Gina, Thanks for sharing the challenges and the hurdles. I would agree, delegating is my biggest downfall. The Grommet put our little company on the map in Bozeman, MT. I feel so fortunate to have them working so hard for us.
    All the best, Carol Bildahl, The New Clothesline Company

  • CAROLINE Says:

    The socks look great. My feet have a tendency to be cold and these socks look like they would keep them warm. You never mentioned where you purchased the "Saddle Shoes". They look great with the socks.
    [email protected]

  • CAROLINE Says:

    P.S. The socks being made in America, by an American company, makes it great just for that reason. I am tired of picking up an item to purchase and find a label saying it's made in China, Mexico, India. Hurray for American made products.!

    [email protected]

  • Rita Says:

    Hi Gina,
    I love cotton socks and I especially love the fact that they are made in USA! What I don't love is the seams across the toes. I have very sensitive feet and toes and can't wear socks with seams. Would you consider making seamless socks, if so please email me at [email protected] Best wishes, Rita Gibbons

  • Nancy Says:

    Oh, PLEASE tell us who makes those shoes!!! And I love that the socks show in those shoes.

  • Lynn Peters Says:

    To answer Mona's question: Buster Brown sox can be bought at Miles Kimball in Oshkosk, WI. They are a little big at first but with washing in hot water and drying on high they do shrink. They are a nice light weight sock to wear in summer in FL or with tight shoes. I would like to try these sox to wear around the house instead of slippers. I also would like to try the lower sock but am afraid they will be too thick for my sneakers and /or slip down on the sides or back. What is your return policy? I also have bad bunions and would love to own a pair of those shoes in the sock picture. Any hints on where to buy them or their brand name? Thanks for The Grommet and their wonderful items. Lynn Peters

  • Thomas Says:

    I guess we'll never learn where to get those shoes.

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