Profile: Sean Sako
Happiness is not a destination, but a direction. Simple words, rephrased in various ways by various people many times over. Simple words, yet often incredibly difficult to truly absorb, much less live by.
If anyone is headed in the right direction, my money’s on Sean Sako.
Sean Sakinofsky, the creative force behind the Sako7 brand, appreciates the importance of recognizing the happiness to be had in the journey. A former ballet dancer, Sean took to cycling at a young age, relishing the sense of freedom and adventure it imparted. Today, against the backdrop of long hours and constant connectivity behind managing a global brand, cycling grants him solitude.
That solitude is most often the vehicle by which Sean unleashes his creative flair. If you’re a cyclist, and you’re on Instagram, you either already follow Sean or you haven’t found him yet. His personal account, as well as that of Sako7, are two of the most inspirational (and aspirational) to be found on the platform. Sean’s designs for Sako7 are unmistakable - they stand out, in the best ways, from an incredibly busy and increasingly homogenous array of competitors.
If the clothes make the man, then the socks most definitely maketh the kit. So goes the philosophy underpinning Sako7 and the creative foundation from which all else flows. It is to a rider’s detriment that socks become an afterthought. Details matter, and details are what sets Sean’s designs apart from the crowd. Material, fit, length - all taken into account, the result of which may be the easiest way to gain a psychological advantage over one’s opponents. There’s a reason that #SockDoping is a thing. “A decent pair of socks,” according to Sean, “can change your ride. Your look. Your whole day.”
Having never paid for advertising, what has been the key to Sean’s success thus far? “Sako7 has been entirely genuine, organic,” he says. “I’ve used Instagram to get my message and Sako7 out there. I’m incredibly passionate about the brand. I guess that was and still is the key to my success: passion. So easy to say, but so damn hard to genuinely find in life!”
Sean’s passion, likewise, is one of the most appealing aspects of the Sako7 brand to consumers. His socks, kit, t-shirts and caps are manufactured entirely in his native South Africa (save for the bidons, manufactured in Holland). His imprint is omnipresent because the brand is simply an extension of himself, both his creative branding as well as his love for the sport of cycling. For a guy who says he “doesn’t ride enough,” Sean certainly looks like he could hang in a Pro peloton, which can’t hurt the brand’s appeal. He’s Sako7’s ultimate proof of concept: look good, ride hard, be happy. Both inspirational and aspirational.
So what’s next for Sako7? Sean isn’t entirely sure, and he’s ok with that. For guidance, he looks to the future of cycling generally. “I see cycling developing into more of a lifestyle than a sport,” he says. “The market has already seen an increase in demand for adventure and gravel bikes. There will always be a place for racing, but my opinion is that cycle racing has lost a lot of the romanticism it used to have. I think that this new era of cycling will be fantastic. In short, it’s not about getting to the top of the mountain the fastest, but about absorbing every moment on the way to the top. And of course stopping along the way, looking great and feeling great.”
If these predictions come to fruition, Sako7 certainly seems poised for continued success.