From as early as 300 AD when the first pair of socks were discovered, the primary objective of wearing socks has always been to keep feet warm from harsh and cold weather conditions. For the most part, socks have served this same purpose throughout the many years since then. There was no correlation between socks and fashion until the first few years of the millennium.
Socks is now being used as an important fashion accessory for both men and women, a trend that has been precipitated by the rise of the coloured and patterned socks. Whether it is formal, casual or office wear, these stylish socks are being used to make fashion statements and just like ties, these socks have become an important accessory in everyone’s wardrobe in today’s fashion world.
One of the main reasons their uptake has surged up is because these brightly coloured socks allow one to express themselves as they can speak volumes about a person. Whether it is your mood or personality, these socks come handy for every kind of occasion and event.
And one company in Kenya has joined the bandwagon and built and built a thriving business out of it; Founded by Penninah and Elisha in 2015, Funky Socks imports and sells colorful, stylish and beautifully designed socks all over Kenya.
“Funky socks was founded on 20th October 2015, my boyfriend who is my partner had just lost his job, and we were trying to find a business to run since we both have the passion for business.” Says Penninah, “everyone who knows me, know that I love socks; so I was shopping for my personal socks and I came across the colored socks which were being sold and I decided to buy him as a gift, and just out of nowhere we thought why don’t sell colored socks? It is not yet embraced in Kenya yet and this was our opportunity to venture into entrepreneurship.”
It was at this particular time that the duo decided to open an Instagram page for their new business and started advertising and within a short period, they started receiving a positive response.
“We did not have any stock with us; so we went back and tried to get someone to sell us in wholesale and that’s how Funky Socks was born.”
Armed with Kshs 15,000 as their startup capital, Penninah and Elisha started to import the coloured and selling them through their social media pages. Initially, they started with men’s socks and knee-high socks for women. As the business grew, they also selling baby colored socks, ankle socks, bamboo socks, No show liner socks and funky boxers. But after 6 months into the business, they had to make major changes.
“We never had enough stock to meet our customers demand and in about 6 months, we needed to re-brand and expand. We used our savings to get more socks in bulk from the new manufacturer we had.”
Most of Funky Socks sales come from their online platforms mainly Instagram which as more than 24,000 followers, in addition, to repeat clients and word of mouth from fulfilled clients.
Their products range from Kshs 300 and upwards per paid depending on the design.
Funky Socks delivers the products to clients anywhere within the country as they have two riders who assist us with deliveries outside Nairobi.
Penninah, a graduate of Journalism and Communication from Multimedia University and Elisha, a former professional dancer attribute their success to their consistency, patience, prayer, and persistence even during the hard times.
“What sets us apart from the others is we are very keen on customer satisfaction, we value our customers’ feedback a lot; Our Goal is to make our customers happy.”
The duo cites that the journey has not been easy as they have had a couple of challenges like not having enough supplied to meet their needs or having to deal with clients who order but do not show up on the day of delivery considering that their model is pay on delivery (POD).
“Another big challenge has been with the rates of shipping which keep going up every day; it is becoming tougher by the minute, but we try our best to stay positive and always make instant solutions to these problems.”
To every aspiring and emerging entrepreneur, Peninah believes that one has to make a lot of sacrifices to succeed in business.
“We’ve had to spend less money on unnecessary things and staying broke for some time in order to invest back to the business. This is in addition to late nights and early mornings with no social life especially in the early days of the business.”
“Nonetheless, it gives me 100% pleasure to know that we are making an impact directly in our client’s lives; the interactions, the criticism, the business aspect is what drives our passion to keep on keeping on.”