Today I have a guest writer sharing his e-commerce story: Brock Sykes, CEO of Odd Pears! I asked Brock if he’d be willing to guest-write for What’s in Store to add a different perspective to the mix. He has a great story and I’m excited to share it! -meg
My love affair with socks started back in March of 2011. At the time, I was working an office job where monochromatic clothing was “highly recommended.” These restrictions didn’t leave much room for creative freedom or self-expression, but I found a loophole. I realized that I could secretly wear weird socks every day and management would be none the wiser. Until my eventual resignation 2 years later, I satisfied my desire for creativity and individuality through brightly colored socks.
It was mid-2013, and I was faced with an opportunity. I’d quit my job, and I needed to figure out my next move. For as long as I can remember, I’d dreamed of owning a business and being my own boss, but I also knew that I wanted to make a difference in the world. That’s when I realized I should start a sock company that encourages individuality and helps the planet! Just like that, Odd Pears was born.
When it came time to start developing our socks, we spoke with factories all over the world to explore our options. Sourcing was one of the most important and time-consuming tasks for us, because we weren’t willing to settle. We wanted ethical manufacturing, flexibility, fluent communication, and an incredible, high-quality product.
Ultimately, we chose to work with a factory north of Mumbai, India. They made a few samples for us, and within 2 weeks I’d purchased a plane ticket to visit the place. It was very important for me to have first-hand experience with the production of the items we’d be selling. I’ve heard so many horror stories about companies who don’t know anything about the manufacturing process. They don’t know the employees, they don’t know the materials, and they don’t know the process. The result is a disconnected brand-to-customer experience, and I wanted Odd Pears to be different.
We launched in December 2013, just 6 months after I decided to start the business. The response exceeded my wildest dreams, but, to be fair, I’d never dreamt of starting a sock company until it happened. Many other e-commerce stores are simply a central location where customers can purchase products from a variety of different labels, but we’ve always known we wanted to do things a little bit differently. At Odd Pears, our goal is to build our brand through a strong relationship with our customers. We want our customers to feel like they’re part of the Odd Pears story, not just another dollar on our bottom line.
Earlier, I touched on our mission statement: to encourage individuality and help the planet. But those words ring hollow if I don’t back them up with action. On one hand, we like to believe that the beautiful patterns and colors of our unique socks help our customers express their creativity. Wear them matching or wear them odd — it’s up to you!
But we want to give back to the world, too. For every Pear we sell, we donate $1 to a charitable organization — and the customer gets to decide how they’d like their donation used.
We want Odd Pears to be known for high quality and creativity, but for us, it’s even more important to encourage individuality and help the planet. We might be a small company selling mismatched socks, but we have big dreams, and we’re doing our best to bring all of the creative oddballs we encounter on our journey along for the ride.