Founders Journal #1: From Accenture to Socks… How and why we started London Sock Company
From hand-wrapping a few sock orders per day in our living room, to running an international sock brand delivering to 94 countries worldwide, it’s been an exciting four years!
For anyone aspiring to start their own business, or interested in how we started ours, we wanted to share some of our ongoing journey with you. From the highs, to the lows, to the why’s – and possibly the more common entrepreneurial response… the why not’s!
For this first entry in our Founders’ Journal, we’ll kick off with the origin story – how and why did we get into socks?
Dave: We met when we were working at Accenture, an IT consultancy firm in London. At work events, the two of us tended to gravitate towards the bar, as you do, and we discovered we had a lot in common. We’re both from Scotland and we both come from entrepreneurial backgrounds.
Ryan: Dave’s always been entrepreneurial. He started his first business at the age of 16, selling drinks and snacks at a local golf course. When he was at university, doing a master’s degree in engineering, he and a friend came up with the brilliant idea of selling disposable cameras in vending machines at nightclubs – this was in the dark ages before camera-phones. Then with another friend, the trio launched their most successful venture selling supplies to bars and restaurants in Glasgow, which they then sold in 2006.
Dave: Ryan’s pretty enterprising himself having discovered the world of entrepreneurship through his love of food, where as a 9 year old he’d go fishing with his dad and then sell anything he didn’t want to his neighbours for extra pocket money. Following his master’s degree in marketing & management, while still working at Accenture, he also co-founded a company that worked solely with buyers helping them to find, move and improve property in London.
Ryan: After five years of working and socialising together in the corporate world, we decided it was time to join forces and start a business. We wanted to create a company with London at its heart, because that’s where we both live and work, but we didn’t know what it would be exactly.
Dave: We did know that we wanted to provide a service or commodity of value, that people need every day. We were inspired by retail alternatives that were just starting to appear – like Dollar Shave Club in California that delivers razors and grooming products straight to consumers by mail. We thought these online subscription services were a great way for businesses to connect with customers and save them valuable time.
Ryan: After much pondering, the answer suddenly presented itself. There it was – right at our feet. Not shoes, but socks. Socks were ideal! People wear them every day, they’re easy to post, and more and more men see them as a fashion accessory, rather than a dull necessity. We saw a huge opportunity to add flair and personality to men’s outfits with something as simple as stylish, quality socks.
Dave: Then we came across a Victorian-era book with fantastic sketches and images of dapper British gentlemen, and that fired our imaginations. We decided we would produce socks for the modern man, inspired by the elegance and panache of the past.
Ryan: So, in December 2013, we said, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ – and took the leap into the start-up world.
Dave: The London Sock Company was born – and we set to work developing a subscription service that would deliver a new pair of socks directly to a customer’s door every month.