President and COO of Hot Sox, Dean Norman gleaned his southern charm from growing up in North Carolina. While Dean has been incredibly successful in the retail industry, retail wasn’t always exactly where he imagined he’d end up when he was growing up. Dean Norman went to North Carolina State University as a pre-veterinary student and received a degree in animal science. However, when it came time to go off to veterinary school, he quickly learned that was not exactly the direction he was intended to head in. “Where you think you’re going to end up,” Dean said, “and where you actually end up, are often very different.” North Carolina had a massive textile industry, thriving with hundreds of textile mills across the state. In fact, Norman’s father was an executive for Burlington Industries, historically one of the largest textile companies in the world. Dean knew he needed a fresh start, and with some connections in textiles, he chose to venture out into retail.
Once he made his choice, Dean decided to go to New York City – or as he likes to call it, “the center of the universe.” “If it is really your goal, you have to get to New York. Just move here,” he said. “There are places around the world that have opportunities for fashion, sure, but NYC is the place to be.” He began his career working at a German textile company selling yarn. He moved rather quickly through jobs, which was not quite as acceptable as a trend then as it is now. “I went through about five jobs in ten years,” Dean recalled. However, as time passed and Norman gained more experience, he made the decision to begin his own company centered around socks. He needed to challenge himself, and beginning a new business was just the way to do it.