Sock It to ‘Em: Keeping Feet Warm, One City at a Time

How One Entrepreneur is Keeping Feet Warm, One City at a TimeFor Tony Bacon, Skyline Socks co-founder and head designer, the eureka moment came when he volunteered at a United Way Community Resource Exchange in Seattle five years ago. While handing out shoes to the homeless, he was struck by the horrible condition of their socks. He asked them if—given a choice—they would take a new pair over a hot meal.

Overwhelmingly, the answer was yes.

“That got my attention,” Bacon says. “Plus, socks were a clothing item that had been basic for so long and needed a little love in the style department.”

Related: 4 Inspirational Stories of People Who Used Their Personal Struggles to Help Others

At the time, Bacon was developing a clothing company with his childhood friends, Ben Johnson and Matt Razore. Inspired, they decided to, “turn our attention south.”

For almost a year, the trio researched and sampled products and fabrics from around the globe before placing their original order of 40,000 pairs in 2012. The idea has always been for the socks to make a statement about the city featured on each pair. The original launch included Seattle, San Francisco and New York City. The company has since added Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and others to the mix.

With each pair the company sells, it donates another to the city featured. The distribution of socks is through some of Skyline’s partners, including the United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“Our original concept was about ‘socking it’ to people in need,” Bacon says. “Giving back has looked slightly different in each city, but we always try to make the biggest impact. We are also in the process of partnering with multiple national organizations that serve underprivileged youth and U.S. soldiers. Our plan, our hope, is working to get the socks into the right hands… and onto the right feet.”

Related: What Do You Get from Giving? (3 Things, Actually)

 

This article appears in the May 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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Jeff Sullivan

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