How quirky socks brand Soxytoes clocked Rs 30M in revenue in two years
Entrepreneur Vidushi Kanoria believes Gen Z and the millennial population use fashion to express their individuality and to stand out in a crowd. This group, between 15 and 40 years old, also form the audience that her quirky socks brand Soxytoes caters to.
The Noida-based startup specialises in designing funky socks featuring internet trends, millennial lingo, and other themes based on pop culture shows, food, and cute animal prints. Keeping a close watch on internet trends, it churns out fresh designs every month.
Vidushi says high fashion, especially noticeable socks, are transforming and disrupting the “previously sober and perhaps boring” accessory, globally. The entrepreneur noticed that well-designed and statement socks are a conversation starter.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s tryst with non-conforming and trendy socks is testament to this. The politician once sported a pair of Chewbacca socks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, a pair of mismatched R2D2 and C3PO Star Wars socks during a meeting with the Prime Minister of Ireland, and multi-coloured striped socks at the G7 Summit. His penchant for socks has kept the social media abuzz on more than one occasion, a fad that seems to resonate with the younger population looking for fashion trends on the internet.
“This disruption is making an impact in the Indian socks market also. We are therefore confident that there is more than enough space for Soxytoes’ growth in the market,” Vidushi says, emphasising the startup is helping an entire generation of pop culture enthusiasts to express themselves and get noticed through its range of bold and eye-popping socks and (now) masks designs.
From avocado and pizza prints to geometric, polka dotted, and striped socks, and featuring mismatched socks with word plays like Hustle, Netflix & Chill, Nerdy Birdy, the startup assures quirky designs that “easily draw people’s attention”.
Keeping up with internet trends
When Vidushi moved to Delhi for her new job as Enterprise Account Manager at Idea Cellular, a relative, Aayush Goenka became her go-to person in the new city. Little did she know they would come together as co-founders to start Soxytoes in 20178
However, she says, the duo is now a dream team. Aayush brings two decades experience in leading a white label socks manufacturing and exporting company and Vidushi adds colour with millennial ideas and trends.
Priced between Rs 200 and Rs 250, Soxytoes received a positive response when it started selling on its website and leading ecommerce websites and entered the brick-and-mortar space by setting pop-up stalls at various events and malls.
While product development and sampling are conducted in-house, the bulk manufacturing process is largely outsourced on a contract manufacturing basis.
Besides the growing acceptance of socks as a fashion accessory paired with casual and business attire, the duo sees promising opportunity with the rise in working women in the country.
The startup also offers corporate and athletic socks in addition to diabetic care socks for diabetic patients and compression therapy socks for aching legs during long journeys.
Having recently launched monthly subscription plans, it is looking to personalise the experience by introducing a new feature where customers can get their names and initials monogrammed on the socks.
The startup’s marketing efforts include online engagement and participating in events like Comic Con and Little Flea to connect directly with the customers.
“Our target customer spends a lot of time on the internet, and prefers to shop online, though an omnichannel presence helps reinforce brand visibility and acceptability,” Vidushi adds.
It has also partnered with D2C brands targeting similar audiences, which includes Bumble, Clovia, Pee Safe, Flatheads, Paul & Mike, and Tea Trunk. The brand has also collaborated with influencers like chef-entrepreneur Pooja Dhingra to popularise its “donut-themed” socks.
The COVID-19 impact
The prolonged lockdown period following the spread of the coronavirus and social distancing has led to a decline in demand for socks. To ensure business viability, the brand leveraged its core USP of combining noticeable designs and product innovation and introduced a new product line of washable face masks.
According to the founders, they have anti-viral silver protection and melt-blown filters. The idea, Vidushi says, is to bring innovation and designs to previously neglected product categories and to explore more categories in the future.
Stating that the startup follows safety and sanitisation measures according to government guidelines across supply chains, the entrepreneur adds that its products are manufactured by fully computerised automated knitting machines, with minimum human involvement in the production process from the raw material to finished product.
While it has delayed growth into brick-and mortar-channels and tightened its spending, the new normal has also boosted ecommerce activity that has been helpful for online first brands such as Soxytoes.
Funding and revenue
Started with a seed capital of Rs 1.5 lakh, the startup has been profitable since inception and recently raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Gurugram-based based angel network, which includes Sorabh Agarwal, angel investor and former SMD, Copal Amba; Hemant Dua, angel investor and former CEO of Delhi Daredevils’; and Vikas Bagaria, founder of Pee Safe.
In 2018-19, the startup clocked Rs 10 million in revenue and grew 2x in the following year. Currently, on track to achieve Rs 50 million revenue this financial year, Soxytoes is also toying with expansion into international markets and hopes to launch in North America, Europe, and Australia in the next five years.
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan