At the time of writing this post, The Sox Factory is undoubtedly the best custom sock manufacturing business in Africa. This statement is bold, but it is true. Our quality is unmatched, and we can complete orders of 1000+ pairs quicker than our closest competition can produce a sample. Don’t take my word for it – test it for yourself. At its core, our business is manufacturing, not reselling and marketing, and this is what gives us the edge in the market.
Manufacturing is not beautiful; it is extremely hard and painful at times. Small issues can have massive consequences, and while growing at a rate of almost 200% per year, manufacturing has proven to be challenging, to say the least. However, it is also overwhelmingly rewarding.
The first half of 2022 was dedicated to improving our product quality. The theory was that if we spent more time and money getting the product as good as possible, we would have more time to sell and spend less time apologising for our shortcomings. Fixing quality in socks is a lot more difficult than one might think. There are so many aspects that go into manufacturing a good sock, including raw materials, staff training, good design, proper testing and adjusting, but all of this is just scratching the surface. There are also many micro-factors that lead to a good or bad product, such as ambient temperature when manufacturing, humidity, voltage from the grid, temperature of the oven we use to set the color in our socks, and the list can go on forever. This is still a daily learning curve for us.
We work closely with all our suppliers and spend quite a lot of time developing better yarn, better ink, and better machinery. Most of our raw materials are not simple off-the-shelf products, and we spend hours every week working with our suppliers to improve the machinery and raw materials we purchase. Most of my time at The Sox Factory is spent critically looking at our systems, materials, and machinery. As we grow, adjusting and testing new theories and equipment is getting more and more difficult. But we know that not trying new things will eventually kill our business, which is why our devotion to research and development will always be a major part of our business, despite it being hugely disruptive to day-to-day productivity and cashflow.
While the technical side of things is important, it means nothing without the people. I am extremely lucky to have a business partner like Francois Theron, who has a gift for bringing out the best in people. While my mind is 90% focused on finance and manufacturing, Francois is focused on sales, marketing, HR, and anything people-related. We have an amazing team at The Sox Factory, and bluntly put, we would not have them if I were in charge of the people. Where I spend my time improving the manufacturing side, Francois is focused on streamlining the process for the customer, removing any unnecessary and time-consuming steps and limitations to give the customer the easiest and fastest high-quality experience.
Even though we have done a lot to bring a better product and service to the market, we still have a long way to go. We still make mistakes, and it is likely to continue well into the foreseeable future, but we have made bold moves to ensure that our level of service will at least double in 2023.
I hope you will consider The Sox Factory for your custom sock needs. Our aim is really to have happy customers and to put the best product on the market.
Thanks for reading.
Director & CFO