SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR Dave Hutchison decided to start a business that gave back and so Sexy Socks was born. For every pair sold, a pair of socks is donated to an underprivileged child. He chats to us about the initiative:
How did Sexy Socks get started?
When I completed my studies, I spent a year in London and it was there that I came across the concept of social entrepreneurship: for-profit businesses that use business as a force for change in society. At the time I wasn’t aware of any businesses in South Africa that were built on this model, and I was determined to come back to South Africa and start something that mattered. I returned to Cape Town in March 2014, and started doing some research into what industry I could drive change in, and settled on socks after learning how many children go to school every day without something as basic as a pair of socks on their feet. I decided that for every pair of Sexy Socks that we sold, we would give a pair of school socks to a child in need. And so, with no experience in retail, and very little idea about fashion, I launched Sexy Socks on November 20, 2014. It started out as my side hustle while doing my articles in law, and the day I finished my articles, I left law behind and went full time into socks. Today, four and a half years later, we have nine full-time employees and about 15 of us all in all (if you count the part-timers), and sell through a network of about 130 stores nationwide.
Why the name Sexy Socks?
I wanted a name that was fun and cheeky – like our socks – and it needed to be something that sticks in the mind. I was out taking the dog for a walk one day and mulling over ideas and then it struck me: Sexy Socks. I thought it had a great ring to it, and would hopefully be a name that made people smile.
How are the socks made?
Our socks are all made locally in South Africa, and most of our ranges are made from bamboo. Bamboo is great because it is a sustainable, natural fibre that comes jam-packed with incredible properties. It is super soft, hypo-allergenic, anti-odour (seriously!) and environmentally sustainable.
What is the aim of the project?
The aim is twofold: Firstly, we are a social enterprise and aim to add value to our society by providing thousands of school socks to children in need, and using that as a platform to talk to students about entrepreneurship and what they can do to make a positive change in their community. We are also hoping to drive change in consumer behaviour by spearheading the conscious fashion movement in South Africa. Secondly as we are a for-profit company, we hope to see the business grow into a profitable, sustainable business that creates employment opportunities.
Pay It Forward
THE biggest help is always to spread the word about Sexy Socks and what we are trying to achieve. Also, we are always looking for beneficiary schools. Please e-mail any suggestions and nominations to www.sexysockssa.com.