The unique business strategy this company used to raise $86 million

Larry Kim, Medium
Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

Innovative startups aren't required to reinvent the wheel.

Quite often, the most brilliant ideas are hiding in plain sight, just waiting for an enterprising entrepreneur to push them to fruition.

However, simply having that great idea is no guarantee of success. In fact, 90 percent of startups will fail.

More from Larry Kim:
4 things investor rejection letters taught me
These 8 success factors are even more important than IQ!
7 simple daily habits to sharpen your intelligence

Among the top reasons businesses don't make it that they expand too fast. Doing too many things at once or trying to be everything to everyone can lead to the demise of an otherwise successful business.

But you don't just want to know what you might be doing wrong. There's much to be learned from successful businesses, as well.

One of those inspirational success stories is that of Stance. Although they've been in business six years, chances are you haven't heard of them. No, they're not a household name, but I can give you $86 million good reasons to sit up and take notice of their unusual — and incredibly successful — business strategy.

This board game raised $1 million in 19 minutes
This board game raised $1 million in 19 minutes

See, Stance was a socks start-up. That's right … their revolutionary idea was to sell one of the most boring products on the planet: socks. In an era where entrepreneurs compete to outdo one another in pushing technological advancements, Stance's co-founders said, you know what? We're just going to take this boring, utilitarian thing over here and make it awesome. We're going to make socks sexy and exciting.

And did they ever.

In April, Stance inked a deal to be NBA's official on-court sock. They even have a Rhianna sock line (as well as other artists, in case you aren't a Ri-Ri fan). Perusing their site, you'll see they have all different colors, styles, lengths, patterns, collaborations, and designs … yet all they're selling is socks.

How a single mom went from food stamps to start-up founder
How a single mom went from food stamps to start-up founder

They don't want to become another WalMart. They aren't even aiming to be an all-encompassing clothing line or fashion house and are just now cautiously entering the underwear market. Right now, they're just selling kickass socks — and a lot of them.

Jeff Kearl, co-founder of Stance, revealed in a recent interview with Fast Company's Evie Nagy that he wanted to emulate brands like Under Armour, who attracted huge early investment by developing one hero product that did superbly well. He didn't even know what that product was, but was determined to find it. That meant going to Target to study different types of products – sunblock, school supplies, jewelry, and the like – and Googling to find out gross margins and market shares and where stuff was being made. But it was when he went down the sock aisle, overflowing with basic, basic brown, black, white and gray socks in boring plastic bags, that his inspiration piqued.

Kearl talked John Wilson in 2009, even though Wilson thought his friend must have been joking, that this was his big idea. Three other co-founders joined them and the rest, as they say, is history.

This start-up takes food waste from grocery stores and turns it into fertilizer
This start-up takes food waste from grocery stores and turns it into fertilizer

Over the past four years, Stance has sold over 15 million pairs of socks, almost exclusively through their retail partnerships. This past January, they began raising funding to expand into another seemingly full and already-established market: underwear. Some backers even sought to expand the round to $80 million. However, Stance still had at its disposal the first $36 million raised. They plan to open six retail locations by next spring.

Sometimes, doing something unusual doesn't actually meaning tackling something so innovative it's never been done before.

Sometimes, being unusual simply means reinventing an existing product and making it better.

Stance's epic win in the sock market should give heart and hope to entrepreneurs looking not to invent the wheel, but to build a better mousetrap.

Larry Kim is the founder of WordStream, the world's largest PPC marketing software company, managing over a Billion dollars in advertising spend for over ten thousand customers, and employing over 200 people. He's also the CEO of MobileMonkey, Inc, a provider of AI based chatbot software.

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook!

Don't Miss: 3 self-made billionaires share the books that helped get them there

This article originally appeared on Medium.

The notion that all start-up founders are in their 20s is a myth
The notion that all start-up founders are in their 20s is a myth