If you looking to dip your toe into the fashion industry, there are a few avenues to take, t-shirts is always popular but is very competitive unless you have something exceptional. Today we look at a single product business that has large margins: the premium sock business.

What is premium socks
Premium socks is basically socks made from a more expensive material (often bamboo fabric) than usual socks and is often (but not always) sold in eye-catching designs. The premium sock business has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. Suppliers of bamboo socks claim “the fabric helps wearers keep their dry feet thanks to the hollow structure of the fibers which makes it super-absorbent. This means that the material effectively wicks moisture away from the skin”.

Sourcing the socks
I’m not sure of the state of manufacturing socks in South Africa but I do know that some high end US retailers have their bamboo socks made in Turkey which has quite a few manufactures.

Branding the company
This is very important when it comes to high end socks. You have to choose a name and logo (and even packaging) that screams luxury and quality.

Business Model
I have seen some premium sock companies in South Africa have kiosks in malls, not only is this expensive but it requires a salesperson to man the stall as well as shop fittings and the logistics of replenishing stock. While this model may be the best for growth and growing the brand, it has a lot of risk. I prefer a simple wholesale model: to high-end men’s retail stores. If you making a pair of socks for R20 and selling it for R200, giving a R80 of your R180 profit to a retailer is less risky than renting space, having staff, inventory management, logistics to and from kiosks. There is of course an opportunity for a high-margin ecommerce business (online store) as well.

While a kiosk will help a lot with getting your brand out there, you can always get to that later, it’s fine to do that from the beginning if you have a lot of capital. But the wholesale business could open other opportunities as well, if you have good relationships with manufactures you can start doing private label as well. In other words if there is an existing brand that has a shop and they are unlikely to stock your brand but if you already have a good supplier you can change the branding to theirs and still make good margins.

Image credits: Groupon, Fiverr


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