Emerging Irish business Incredible Socks has started its sustainable journey on the right footing.
An Irish sock-making business called Incredible Socks has taken an innovative design approach to sustainable materials.
Founded by Marc Carey, the chief sock maker (CSM), the brand has gained recognition for its commitment to sustainable materials, and dedication to making a positive social impact.
“I am constantly looking at ways for Incredible Socks to use the most sustainable practices possible while still making smart business sense”
With a diverse range of fun, vibrant designs, Incredible Socks offers more than just a fashion statement. The socks, made from premium-quality bamboo, provide comfort, durability, and a unique touch of personality to any outfit.
Carbon neutral business
Incredible Socks incorporates sustainable bamboo materials into its manufacturing process, ensuring exceptional strength, durability, and a minimal environmental footprint. Bamboo’s rapid growth, coupled with its ability to thrive without the need for pesticides or artificial fertilisers, aligns with the brand’s commitment to eco-friendly practices.
The carbon neutral brand donates 50 cents from every sale to charity partners, including Bombay Teen Challenge, Jigsaw, and Focus Ireland.
For every ton of carbon emitted during its operations, the business offsets this impact by investing in carbon credits, reinforcing its dedication to a greener future.
“I am constantly looking at ways for Incredible Socks to use the most sustainable practices possible while still making smart business sense,” explains Carey. “I look at cost effective ways to remove the plastic T tag that holds socks together, replace plastic hang tags with cardboard and ensure our packaging and delivery methods are the most sustainable possible.
“My customers are very savvy to sustainability and are helping me to be the best I can. My core market, based on sales and consideration data, is female 25-to-44 years old. The interesting factor is my core audience is buying male sock styles and sizes which suggests to me a lot of my sales are intended for gifts. I’ve addressed this by recently adding fun, colorful gift boxes to my product ranges to help customers by providing fun, elevated gifting solutions.
Carey says Incredible Socks is an Irish apparel brand specialising in fun, design driven socks.
“We offer products for adults, kids and babies across 40+ casual and sport styles. Our products are made from bamboo which I feel is a key differentiator for us on the market. Most socks are a polyester/cotton mix. Bamboo is a great sustainable option that also produces incredibly soft and durable products for customers. We are an e-commerce buiness and currently sell exclusively through our website and market via Facebook, Instagram, Google and TikTok.
A sustainable fashion statement
Carey’s background is in marketing and branding.
“Most recently my career has taken me into International marketing roles primarily for Entertainment brands across the world. I spent the last 20 years building other people’s brands, positioning their products and driving sales strategies with super results. This led me to think, why am I not doing all this for my brand and my business. I was encouraged and motivated by spending a lot of time reading business books and following podcasts and social channels from some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs such as Richard Brandson and Steven Bartlett. Hearing and studying a lot of founder stories and analysing various approaches gave me the confidence to jump in and go for it.”
Carey says Ireland has a great support network for supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs.
“It’s a great place to start a business. I think the approach of organisations such as Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices is very unique to Ireland. I have done business in the UK and the US and never found a supporting network such as the one that exists in Ireland. My impression is that Ireland wants you to win and be successful. From courses like Start Your Own Business, mentoring programmes right up to grants and funding, the eco-system here is very supportive and collaborative.”
The lessons from starting a growing a business have already come hard and fast for Carey.
“I am guilty of thinking build it and they will come. I remember launching the business and pushing the website live. I sat back and waited for the sales to flood in. They didn’t. I learnt the valuable lesson that you have to hustle and work for every sale.
“Customer acquisition is a serious science and even when you do acquire wonderful folks, converting them to an actual sale is another job in itself. Looking at data, some customers look at products and revisit the site seven or eight times before hitting ‘confirm purchase’ at check out.”
His advice for fellow founders is to do their research. Carey uses as many data sources as possible. “I use and take learnings from Google Data, Google Trends and from the Business Manager functionality of Meta platforms. I also look at sales data and trends on my own website via Shopify – which is an e-commerce store platform I cannot recommend enough.
“Look at similar businesses and similar products. Know your competitors and look at what they are doing. Join your Local Enterprise Office and network. Talk to as many entrepreneurs and founders as possible. Share stories with them and listen to theirs. Every time I sit and chat with another founder I come away with a new idea, a new learning and a new opportunity to follow.”