Socks are always in demand by nearly all consumers. And Spirit Sox USA provides this product in a truly unique way. Read about the company and its new subscription box offering in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Offers unique socks for all.
CEO Lisa Riggs told Small Business Trends, “Spirit Sox U.S.A. provides premium quality customized socks to a broad range of customers from bridal parties to nonprofits to major corporations. In December we launched the Sock-Worthy Surprise Subscription. Each box comes with two pairs of socks with limited edition designs that remain a surprise until the box arrives. Additionally, we strive to be inclusive – while most companies only offer gendered options, Sockworthy Surprises are available in men’s, women’s and unisex designs.”
Creating high-quality products.
Riggs says, “Unlike screen-printed socks, when our socks are created the design is knitted in. We sell several types of socks, but I’ll use our athletic socks as an example. While most manufacturers use only two threads, we use three. The result is a sturdier sock of higher quality with a cushier leg, foot, toe and heel. There’s also additional arch support and a breathable mesh covering for durability.”
How the Business Got Started
After participating in a local fundraiser.
Riggs explains, “My sock business was born from a fundraiser for a local after-school sports program, where I was volunteering. At the time, I was trying to find a way to increase parental donations and wanted to find something other than t-shirts. So, I decided to try socks. They had a lower cost than t-shirts, so we could increase profit margins. Plus, they were easy to sell year-round.”
Successfully launching new products.
Riggs adds, “In 2022, we increased revenue by 100% and it was the first time we’ve added a new product since pivoting to custom face masks during the pandemic. Launching that monthly subscription and being able to sell to customers without them having to buy in bulk was really exciting.”
Riggs says, “I started it without a marketing or business degree. So I feel like just being able to have that courage to actually start the company was probably the biggest risk I’ve taken, so far. I’m a perfectionist – I’m not a fan of failing and so that whole fear of failure definitely went along with starting a business. I was careful to set it up so there weren’t a lot of risks going forward. There was some capital and effort put into it and so that was certainly at risk.”
Navigating pandemic-related supply chain issues.
Riggs says, “Like most small businesses, the pandemic was really hard on our pipeline. It was like a metal gate came crashing down. People were saying, “oh let’s be in touch in three weeks.” They were just gone, and our pipeline just absolutely evaporated. Thankfully I was able to adapt quickly and began offering custom face masks. That’s honestly what kept the doors open for that entire year of 2020 and a lot of 2021 as well.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Scaling and hiring.
Riggs adds, “I would add a sales rep for sure.”
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan.
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Image: Spirit Sox USA, Lisa Riggs
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