551
7 min 31 sec

College Students Start Sock-Selling Social Enterprise

A group of college students learn to sell socks with a cause. In two years they sign up more than 100 educational institutions!
Manufacturing Product Social Entrepreneurship Student Hustle

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What It's About

Socks for a good cause—an international one!

Business Model
Manufacturing
Skills Required
Coordination & Design
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Samantha and Antoine started out selling socks because that was something their school didn’t sell. And hey, everyone needs socks! What’s something that everyone needs but isn’t available in your immediate community?

Fun Fact

None of this was easy since they had to juggle their academic work, athletics, and their business all at once. In fact, Samantha and Antoine weren’t even expecting that The Cause International would work out. The initial success of their venture took them by surprise, and from then on they’ve just done their best to navigate the hurdles they encountered.

Notes from Chris

Episode 551
Going on a college exchange program abroad is a life-changing experience for many students, but for Samantha Wells, it ended up being even more. Not too long after working her way through all of the vino and tapas that Spain had to offer, she met her friend, and now colleague, Antoine Taylor. Antoine had recently started up a brilliant side hustle doing laundry for his fellow classmates, but unlike the dirty socks he was dealing with, the idea just didn’t hold much water… It left him feeling a little high and dry.

But despite his lack of experience, he wasn’t deterred! Moving forward, Antoine decided that he would likely do better with a partner that could make up for the areas he lacked—a complementary skill set if you will. And with a major in Communications and Business, Samantha definitely fit the bill. When he came across another idea with promise, she was at the top of his list.

Inspired by Antoine’s in-depth knowledge of socks, they decided to make customized socks for the St. John’s University students in Minnesota, where Antoine was a junior. They figured that just because washing clothes for others didn’t really pan out, it didn’t mean that they couldn’t still build another business around clothing. Besides, who doesn’t need socks?

They started by taking the school logo, Saint John Saint Benedict’s, and printed it on a variety of socks. At that time, the school wasn’t selling anything like this. The only step that they had to take was finding a manufacturer in the area that could do the job at an affordable rate that wouldn’t break the bank.

On October 23rd of that year, Antoine sold the first pair of socks to one of his friends. Word quickly spread, and by the end of the week, they had somehow sold 512 pairs of socks. This far exceeded their expectations, and they started to consider what it would mean to scale. They didn’t just mean scaling their operations, but they also wanted to do more.

Samantha had been the philanthropy chair of her sorority in college. As broke college students, she and Antoine definitely wanted to improve their financial situations, but they also knew that there were a lot of people who were less fortunate than them. They decided that they would give a percentage of their profits to charity. They named their company The Cause International.

Since they started, Samantha and Antoine have gone on to provide aid to communities in Flint, Michigan supplying them with water bottles and the homeless in Los Angeles by funding free haircuts and providing job advice. Moving forward, they plan to provide more help internationally and are committed to donating $50,000 dollars in 2018 to disadvantaged communities.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • The Cause International: Pick up some socks and help make the world a better place—head on over to Samantha and Antoine's website!


SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough."
—Samantha Wells #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau