Sockprints is a new, online business featuring custom printed socks. Never before have custom printed socks been available like this! Our minimums are low and customers have the ability to upload their own artwork or to choose images to personalize from our design gallery. We offer several sock styles: no shows, crew socks, knee highs and sporty knee highs; all allowing customization.
What inspired you to start your business?
After printing some custom t-shirts for our daughters’ club soccer team, my business partner, Jann Middo, asked me if I could print on socks. I told her I had never tried it before, but why not give it a shot? Jann has worked in the hosiery industry for a number of years and is an expert when it comes to socks. Our first experiment was printing custom socks for the soccer team with the players’ name, number and an action photo. They turned out great and the girls loved them. We knew we were on to something and what started with a conversation on the sideline of a soccer field developed into sockprints.
How long have you been in business?
We started product development in early 2009 and opened our online business in January 2010.
What did you do in your past work life?
Since 2007 I have owned and operated a direct-to-garment t-shirt printing business, UbU Designs. My experience printing t-shirts is what sparked my partnership with Jann Middo and our new business… sockprints. Prior to printing t-shirts, I worked on a college campus in Los Angeles as an academic advisor for 14 years. While I love the energy working on a college campus provides, printing on socks and other apparel satisfies a creative outlet I crave!
What have been some of your major successes?
One success has come from teaming up with Anajet Inc. Our custom printed socks wouldn’t be possible without the direct-to-garment printer I purchased for my t-shirt business three years ago. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have built a good relationship with Anajet, Inc, the printer company. Anajet has been a great supporter of our product and has allowed us to tag along at a trade show and even do presentations to potential customers. This partnership is proving to be a win-win for both sockprints and Anajet. We’ve created a new product that can be used with the Anajet printer and they’ve helped us gain exposure to the direct-to-garment printing industry.
What have been some of your major challenges?
I think the biggest challenge was at the very beginning of product development when we were trying to figure out how best to make our idea of custom printed socks a reality. It took a lot of socks, ink, hours and printing attempts to come up with the perfect model. We nailed it!
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
Believing in our product! We have created a unique product that’s currently not found anywhere else. When people recognize what they can now do with a pair of socks, they’re thrilled. Sharing this news is exciting!
Do you have a motivational quote?
“It doesn’t take talent to hustle.”
Sue Enquist, UCLA softball coach 1989-2006
In addition to my involvement with my daughter’s soccer team, I’ve coached girls softball for a number of years. This quote from Coach Enquist has always motivated me to be a hard worker. While we may not always be the most talented players on the field or in the workplace, we can always put in the extra work and hustle to be successful!
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
See above… “It doesn’t take talent to hustle.”
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
I’m constantly trying to keep things in perspective. A friend once suggested that I ask myself, “Is this realistic?” If it is, I go for it. If not, I do my best to let it go. I work from home and there are many days when a load of laundry might not get done because I’m printing socks. I have to sit back, laugh and tell myself that clean clothes are overrated!
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
Yes, the old-fashioned “to do” list. Jann and I both like to work with check-off lists. We write down what we want to accomplish each week and cross items off as we go. I always love the feeling of satisfaction when I check off a completed task.
What is next for your business?
Hiring sales reps to spread the word about custom printed socks. People don’t know that printing on socks is a viable option. We have a saying on our facebook page, “Founded in 2009 on the sideline of a So. California soccer field. Sharing with the world in 2010!” That’s what we’re working on now.
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