Four ordinary guys from Kansas City are most likely the last group of people you would expect to be running a highly successful fashion company. The group of business-savvy entrepreneurs wanted to come up with a way to disrupt the traditionally boring sock market. Who says socks have to match the color of your pants?
With zero experience in the fashion industry — just a passion for business and ideas, Sock 101 was born. Their concept was simple — give young professionals the opportunity to express themselves in the workplace through creative socks, while still maintaining a professional appearance.
Kelly Yarborough and Dave Feyerabend.
Image courtesy of Project Runway: Fashion Startup
The four “sockpreneurs” combined their diverse skills in marketing, law and overall business strategy to create an out-of-the box business idea that gained serious momentum, as it resonated with young professionals.
“We wanted to change the fashion game for men and women through socks. Our primary goal was to give men an easy, inexpensive way to express themselves fashion-wise and our socks provided the perfect way to enhance your look,” explains co-founder Kelly Yarborough.
Their initial efforts recently caught the eye of two key players in the fashion industry — Rebecca Minkoff and Gary Wassner. Sock 101 co-founders Kelly Yarborough and Dave Feyerabend recently appeared on the Lifetime show “Project Runway” and successfully secured a $250,000 investment from the two fashion icons to help them pursue their ultimate goal — to become the world’s largest sock-of-the-month club.
“When we walked into the pitch we were very nervous but also extremely excited about the opportunity. Dave and I also felt very confident about our pitch. We knew that if we were ourselves that we’d have a good chance at a deal,” explained Yarborough on their opportunity with Project Runway.
Confidence in yourself & your product = success.
This is a prime example of exhibiting confidence in yourself, as an entrepreneur, as well as your product. The entrepreneurs wouldn’t have attracted the attention of fashion industry legends Minkoff and Wassner if they didn’t emit confidence in both.
“The partnership with Gary and Rebecca will allow us to grow at a much quicker pace than what we could do on our own,” said Yarborough. “The connections and expertise they provide in the areas of design, branding, marketing and relationships is a tremendous benefit to the growth of our company.”
The entrepreneurs have set a goal to become a $10 million dollar company within three years, and their fashion industry mentors, Minkoff and Wassner, have committed to helping make that happen.
The company also prides themselves in giving back to the community — philanthropy is extremely important to them. Through their Socks for a Cause program, they create custom socks on behalf of charitable organizations that they strongly believe in — and donate a portion of the proceeds to the organization. Socks for a Cause has thus far partnered with large non-profit organizations including Water.org, ASPCA, Autism Speaks and Susan G. Komen of Greater Kansas City, just to name a few.