Get to know a Toronto startup: WeSell Socks
I bought my best friend Wu Tang socks for Christmas. Yes, you read that correctly: black and yellow cotton yarn spun into footwear, bearing a big stylized W of the renowned hip hop group. The trend of socks as a subtle way to show off style, not just a practical way to cushion your precious hooves from the abuse of rubbing shoes, shows no sign of slowing down.
WeSell Socks clearly agrees with me because this Toronto startup is betting all its chips on people who take their sock game seriously. The subscription sock service, which officially launched on New Years' Day, delivers subscribers a pair of good quality, stylish socks to their doorstep for $12 per month. Jump on their current early bird special and they'll wave the shipping within Canada and the US (a flat fee of $5 will apply in the near future). What's more, these socks will warm your feet and your heart. For every pair you buy, WeSell will donate a pair to someone in need.
Here's what founder Kevin Lee had to say about the roots of his stylish & socially-minded startup.
What was the inspiration behind WeSell Socks?
I'd been interested in building a socially responsible business for a long time. My first attempt was actually in my first year of high school. The specific inspiration of how to structure WeSell came from two companies I admire: Toms and Warby Parker.
Why build your entire business around socks?
It seems silly that I'd build a whole business around socks, but I think you have to love socks to understand. When one of my colleagues first showed me his funky socks I had to stifle my laughter. It was only after I got interested in wearing stylish socks that I finally got what I was missing out on. That's also why I believe they make such a great focus - people who like socks, REALLY like socks. I don't need to tell them my socks are awesome, they know they're awesome!
You've been inspired by companies like Toms to make charity part of every purchase. How will WeSell give back?
When winter comes around, one of the most requested items homeless shelters ask for are socks. Currently, I'm talking specifically to homeless shelters around Toronto, such as Covenant House, about how best to distribute our socks to the less fortunate.
Who do you consider competitors in this space?
There are startups based in the US, like Sock Panda and Soxiety, that offer a sock subscription service. Any apparel company that sells socks could also be considered a competitor, but I see them more as future partners rather than competition. The biggest difference with WeSell versus other startups out there is that we offer our users the ability to do social good with every purchase.
What's coming up next for WeSell?
Like every other startup, lots of stuff! But I'll let you in on one...we're working on socks that stay together in the washer.
Check out the WeSell Socks Facebook page for the latest developments.