- Associated Press - Monday, January 16, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - McCubbin Hosiery Inc. is slipping into a comfortable brand name and laying out a new wardrobe, President David McCubbin said.

The Oklahoma City supplier of socks, tights and slippers under brands such as Rosie Pope and Trumpette announced it is acquiring Robeez from Stride Rite, a subsidiary of Wolverine World Wide Inc. The Robeez brand is usually found on the soft soles of infant and toddlers.

David McCubbin and his brother, company Chairman Mark McCubbin, had noticed Robeez more than a decade ago, according to The Journal Record (http://bit.ly/2igxuMI ).

“The line was started by a lady named Sandra Wilson, and because I loved the brand so much, in 2004 I went to Vancouver (Canada) to license the Robeez brand socks from her. I think it was one of the best presentations I ever made,” David McCubbin said.

But the presentation was not successful.

He had better luck shortly after Stride Rite purchased Robeez in 2007, and the company let them start working on the product in 2010. Ultimately, the nature of Robeez pre-walker slip-ons didn’t fit so well with the shoe company and the McCubbins stepped up to take it over.

“Their sales reps didn’t know what to do with the brand - it’s more of a gift product than a full shoe - so they were ready to shut it down,” he said.

McCubbin Hosiery improved on the product with new designs and materials under a license granted in 2013. In early 2015, the company launched a new Robeez line with the Disney Baby imprint. The Nordstrom clothier giant told the McCubbins that Robeez was its fastest-growing infant brand. By the time Wolverine was ready to divest, McCubbin Hosiery was positioned as the de facto buyer.

“Sometimes you’re just lucky enough to be around at the right time,” he said.

David McCubbin did not discuss financial details of the licensing deal. The family still runs the company and has a significant ownership stake with investor backing through a private equity group.

This month the company launched a broader line of small child clothing with the Robeez brand. Product hasn’t even started shipping yet although the items are available for purchase online. A meeting with a New York group of buyers suggests the products will sell well, David McCubbin said.

The company’s headquarters is in Oklahoma City and it has a showroom in New York and a new infants division is being opened in Chicago. Most production is shipped from Asia. McCubbin said the brand acquisition is leading to job expansion in the design and sales departments.

David McCubbin said the company is looking at another possible acquisition in infant apparel by summer, but would not divulge any details.

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Information from: The Journal Record, http://www.journalrecord.com

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