Wellington College students launch online sock subscription service
Kiwis may never need to go sock shopping again, thanks to a group of Wellington students.
Five Wellington College Year 13 students, Nicholas Lane, Isaac Tebbs, Conor Butler, Ben Murphy and Luke Fuller, have founded online sock subscription service LetterSox.
Created as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), a national competition where students around the country develop a business, LetterSox delivers a new pair of socks directly to the doors of customers each month.
Lane, the group's business CEO, says they began brainstorming company ideas at the beginning of the school year.
*Young Enterprise group encourages positive thoughts with positive talk
*Good Grazing snack box delivery business is 'My Food Bag of snacks'
*GoodieBox beauty delivered to your doorstep and your inbox
Among other ideas they considered merino socks, but advice from mentor Nick Churchouse, of business incubator Creative HQ, encouraged them to think bigger – so they aimed to "tip an entire industry on its head".
They surveyed hundreds of people about their sock experiences and identified common "pain points", Lane says.
"People really didn't like buying their socks: it was a chore, it was boring, it was a waste of time, but it's a necessity.
"We thought, 'How can we flip this on its head and change things up?' "
The company began with a $20 investment from each member, and revenue from marketing and sales has helped them deliver their first month of socks.
June's LetterSox were hand-delivered by Lane to 12 customers, and they want to more than double that number for July, he says.
"We completed our first cycle of subscriptions and that was a really good test. We received 12 subscriptions and we're really looking to boost that to about 30 customers for the second month for July, and then grow that exponentially from there."
Lane says the group see this as more than just a school project: "This is about building a business which is a viable business that we can carry on with beyond high school, and that we can grow and develop and expand beyond the realms of just a high school business."
He says YES provides them with unique opportunities that entrepreneurs in "the outside world" don't usually have.
"I view it as the only time in my life where I can build a business that is operational, viable and competitive in New Zealand and in the outside market that has the security and the support, and safety if you like, of high school."
The goal is to provide an easy, unique and enjoyable service that suits the needs of every New Zealander, Lane says.
They hope to grow their subscriptions to business socks, ankle socks, fun patterned socks and more.
Tebbs is in charge of sales and marketing and has also been heavily involved in getting the company website up-and-running.
He says although the group have put a lot of time and effort into making LetterSox operational, they have so far also been successful in juggling other school work and priorities.
Next week the group will face the YES "dragons' den", hoping to get a share of $5000.
In December the top-performing YES teams will have a chance of winning a share of $22,000 at the national awards.