Shoe Business: Marisa Lawson from Knock Your Socks Off

We are checking in with our friends in local shoe-related businesses to find out how they got interested in shoes (or socks!), where the journey running a niche business has taken them, and what the future holds in a post COVID19 world.

Marisa LAWSON ~ Knock Your Socks Off (KYSO)

What is your background? What led you to open a sock business?

My background is in retail buying and marketing. I have worked in the corporate retail industry for 10 years.

I started my sock business because I love socks! Socks have always played an important role in the outfits I wear. Furthermore, I used to be a buyer for Women’s socks at a Canadian Retailer so I already had the knowledge of the product and what it should cost to make. So, it was a natural fit.

What is the process? Who designs the colourful patterns?

I design the patterns and pick the pantone colours using a simple white piece paper! After this I send my scanned designs to my Graphic Designer who puts them on CADS (computer-aided design graphics program). After I get the CADS, they are sent to the manufacturer to create a sample.

What materials do you use? Where are the socks made?

The socks are made from a blend of bamboo and cotton.

What kind of challenges have you faced running a niche business?

One challenge I have is the minimum order quantities placed by manufactures when making custom socks. They can be high which makes it challenging as a small business owner with limited purchasing power.

What have you found is an effective way to market your socks?

Every company is different and I've found that word of mouth, Pop-Up shops and affiliate marketing has been most effective for my business.

Your business is online. Have you been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic?

Yes, it has affected me in terms of not being able to participate in Pop-Up shops, but customers are still able to order online.

Will you make any changes to your business post-COVID?

COVID-19 has made me focus more on online/digital marketing, rather than relying on in-person shopping like pop-up shops.

What are your dreams for the future?

I definitely would love my product to be sold in retail stores and for me to expand my line.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a sock fan. Has he purchased any of your socks? If so, can you share which ones? If not, which ones would you recommend?

No, he hasn’t worn any of my socks, but that would be awesome if he did get to wear a pair. I’d definitely recommend my bamboo and cotton socks. He’d look good in any style!

Thank you so much Marisa for taking the time to answer our questions! If you're interesting in purchasing her socks, visit her website here.

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