If you have ever spent time looking at people’s sock wearing habits, for the most part, they are boring and conventional. However, for two highly creative young South African designers and entrepreneurs, Alison Stewart and Chelsey Wilson, brightening up people’s daily footwear with beautiful, lovingly made, and ultimately fun socks, is a real passion and they have dedicated their business to making customers’ sock dreams come true!
LoA chatted to Alison Stewart, one of the founders of FEAT. sock co about their approach to building a new and proudly South African sock design brand with a global appeal.
Tell us a little more about your company FEAT. sock co and its products
We at FEAT. sock co. design fun, playful feature socks. We pay as much attention to eye-catching aesthetics as we do to high quality and comfort. We are passionate about supporting local industry, so our socks are proudly made in Cape Town, South Africa.
"We are dedicated to great service and will go to great lengths to try make our customers sock dreams come true."
What inspired you to start your company?
We (Chelsey and Alison) have always loved socks and identified a gap in the market for beautiful, high quality, locally made socks. After having 'tested the waters' as Emerging Creatives at the Design Indaba 2013, we were so encouraged by the positive response to our product that we were inspired to pursue it full-time as a business.
What makes your socks so unique and what will appeal to customers?
Our designs have been developed over the 2 years we've been in operation and are pretty unique, even in a global market. We are dedicated to great service and will go to great lengths to try make our customers sock dreams come true.
"We hope to build a successful and purposeful brand in a South African context and aim to harness local resources by keeping all manufacturing in the Western Cape."
Tell us a little about the FEAT. sock co team
As both consumers and designers, we both became aware of the lack of interesting, high-quality, locally made socks that pay as much attention to comfort as well as aesthetics. Chelsey's experience in Fashion Design after studying at Elizabeth Galloway gave her a comprehensive understanding of design, the fashion industry, range construction, amongst other things. My own background in Brand Strategy contributed to building and managing the FEAT. sock co brand holistically.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
As kids, we would often come up with business schemes such as selling baked goods, homemade jewellery or stationery at school market days and fairs. Other than that, we would say that design and aesthetics are both something that interest us more so than business - but business can be fun too.
"Working for yourself has it's pros and cons, but for us we enjoy working for ourselves and not having to answer to anyone."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We hope to build a successful and purposeful brand in a South African context and aim to harness local resources by keeping all manufacturing in the Western Cape. We are looking to do more exporting since our socks are extremely popular abroad. We regularly send orders to Europe and the United Sates and would like to make it easier for our international fans to access our brand.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Working for yourself has it's pros and cons, but for us we enjoy working for ourselves and not having to answer to anyone. We feel like we are making people happy by what we do and that is also satisfying.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Why LoA Loves It….
We love the fact that two life-long friends developed their entrepreneurial interests during their early school days, putting all that great experience into good use when they decided to launch a proudly South African new sock brand. The creation of the FEAT. sock co, and their unique and fun socks, displays their talent for design and also their love of their home country. At LoA, we adore the fact that they are showcasing all those elements that make South Africa unique in their sock designs and their new range launched in March this year, has been inspired by their home city of Cape Town. We particularly like the fun Transport socks, which depict the various unique methods of transport adopted by Capetonians each day to get around the city. This is one South African sock brand that is destined for great things globally. --- Melanie Hawken, Lionesses of Africa founder and editor-in-chief