FREAKER: AN AUTHENTICITY STORY


FreakerUSA.com sells the world’s most redundant product. A fabric sock that fits over your wine bottle. They started out making these socks in short, one-off runs with designs that are sometimes funky, sometimes rad and sometimes unspeakably hideous. Here’s a company that proudly brings nothing to the table. They are literally selling the rebranding of your wine. Like a symbiote they invade their host, take it over and reanimate it.

But unlike most wines, Freaker has some of the most loyal and rabid fans out there. People who will pay – in advance – for the privilege of adorning their $100 Shiraz with a $3 polyester sock. So, why is it successful? Well, it partly has to do with how they do business. Freaker got started through kickstarter.com. This platform tends to attract early adopters. People who get a kick out of seeing things take off, and who tend to be more loyal when they do.

What sets Freaker apart most though is its anti-establishment streak. A characteristic that is embodied by the company’s founder – a homeless-looking guy with a crazy beard who speaks like Keeanu Reeves on peyote. He’s the very antithesis of the polished, designed and packaged world of wine.

Not only that, his style somehow completely lacks pretense. He is so seemingly unaware and unphased by everyone else that you can’t help but be fascinated by him. He is either completely real, or better than any method actor I know. In a weird way, he’s the thing we all lack the courage to be.

So, here’s your chance to deface the status quo. If you’ve ever wanted to raise your middle finger to corporate society, now you can do it and have a drink at the same time. What’s not to like?

The Kickstarter role is important because the model means you’re not just buying a product – you’re active in its creation. As a backer, you’re buying a chapter in that story. Somehow a small investment becomes a bond for something with more substance. Although it appears that Freaker no longer does things through Kickstarter, this early co-creation by the community played a role in the loyalty the brand now enjoys.

This then is not a wine sock, it is counter culture. FreakerUSA sells an authentic way to say up yours to the establishment. Perhaps that’s why so many are so willing to fly the flag.

I’ll drink to that.