Meet the maker: Gil Kahana from Chatty Feet
Chatty Feet portrait
Playful Gil Kahana (MA Communication Design, Central Saint Martins, 2005) is the co-founder of the funky socks brand ChattyFeet.  The ChattyFeet brand produces cheeky sock collections of artists, scientists and film characters for kids as well as adults. Their mission is to inject more fun into peoples’ lives – by making their socks talk!

What’s your fondest memory from your time at UAL?

Meeting amazing people from all over the world and being inspired by the creative vibe around you. We were discovering the city with fellow designers, making friendships and creating projects that prepared us for our career.

Four pairs of Chatty Feet socks

How did your company come about?

We thought that life was becoming a little bit too serious as we grew older. We wanted to help adults to have more silly moments and one day the idea came to us at a friends’ gathering. I lifted my feet and asked “What if my socks could talk like a puppet?” I imagined a character that would be drawn on the front of the socks. It seemed like a funny idea but not everyone got it at first… A few weeks after, we decided to give it a go and started to meet and progress the idea.

Two pairs of Chatty Feet socks

Who or what inspires you?

Silliness. There are special moments that remind you about the importance of being playful. These moments make us happy and it will be nice to have a little bit more of them. The last inspiring thing was this video:

What was the inspiration behind your latest product?

Our Rene Mug-ritte mug was inspired by surrealism… Imagine a character drawn on a canvas. This character has a very long arm used to draw another character outside of the canvas. Basically it’s the virtual drawing the real. You can view a video on ChattyFeet Instagram.

Coffee mug with an illustration of a man wearing a suit and bowler hat.

What purchase have you currently got your eye on?

I need to do some serious thinking so this Thinking Cap will be really useful!

Where is your most inspiring place in London?

Hampstead Heath is where you can be surrounded by nature and have a really nice walk. It’s great to be able to escape the city and let your mind wonder.

Left: Ducks swimming in a pond. Right: Trees in park.

What advice would you give current students hoping to start their own business?

1. Prepare for the journey- running a business demands your best efforts. Your passion will help you to move forward but there will also be times when support from your friends and family will be needed too. Don’t forget to make time for getting inspiration by going to talks, watching a film or visiting an art exhibition.

2. Have reasonable goals – when you start, you don’t always know how long things will take to complete and it’s tempting to put too many things on your plate. The problem is that it’s really de-motivating when you miss your deadlines. Commit to a reasonable amount of work and enjoy the sense of achievement each time you deliver.

3. Allow cycle of iterations – When your door hinges squeak, you can silence them with a product called WD-40. It’s called WD-40 because it took 40 attempts until the product could be released. Don’t expect to get everything right on the first time. A healthy product development process includes cycles of iteration. You release your creation, test it with people and make changes to make it better- over and over again until you have a great product.

What’s next for your brand?

The next challenge for us is to expand our product offering. We would like to make the world a chattier place with socks and other products too. The most rewarding thing about working on ChattyFeet is when we see people having fun with our products. So far it was mainly with socks but soon with other exciting products. Stay tuned!