Sock Ons came about through a dare that my mother-in-law challenged me with, when she saw a competition run by Tamara Monosoff an American mompreneur encouraging moms to solve everyday problems.
It was a cold December winter and our fourth son had just been born. We were due to attend a family celebration with a photographer that necessitated him wearing trousers instead of his usual baby grow. One small hitch – this baby couldn’t keep his socks on his feet for more than a minute. I looked high and low to find a solution to a problem I was sure millions of parents before me have had, but to no avail. There was no product available to keep babies socks on their feet. And so my son was photographed in all the family pictures looking very smart but with bare feet.
With very little sleep, and four children under the age of 8, I knew that there had to be a way to keep babies socks on. And so my creative sleep deprived mind set to work trying to find a solution. With my mother-in-laws challenge at the back of my mind I researched everything under the sun and understood the mechanics of baby feet and how easy it is for socks to slip off.
As a qualified graphic designer, I put my creative problem solving skills into work and through many different prototypes and designs – I came up with Sock Ons. They are designed to look a bit like a ‘sock jacket’ and are worn over babies socks. The hole around the heel acts as a ‘lock’ and the sock underneath gets caught in that hole when babies pull it from the toe.
Having the idea was probably the easiest part of the whole process. I got shortlisted as a finalist in Monosoff’s ‘Mother of Invention’ competition so I knew that my idea had wheels. I spent the next year filing for patents, design registrations, trademarks, I met with textile designers, had patterns drawn up and factories were sourced. I didn’t have much money at the time so I was working as a graphic designer to help fund this idea. Prototypes were tested and focus groups were set up. And Sock Ons were born.
But now I needed to figure out how to let parents know that they didn’t need to suffer from the ‘lost sock syndrome’ any longer. I took a last minute stand at the Kind Und Jugend Baby Trade Fair in Cologne Germany and I ended winning the most coveted award in the industry for Design and Innovation! I was immediately launched onto an international market and only had one small problem of not having any stock.
There was a blur of frantic negotiations with a new factory in China and I ended up flying in stock to meet the demand. I didn’t want to let on that I was just fumbling my way through as I went. I didn’t even know what FOB or other industry trade terms meant but there is no better way then learning on the job and fast! I spoke to so many helpful people and listened to their experiences and learnt from many mistakes along the way.
From very humble beginnings – I am proud to say that Sock Ons have become an international brand and over 1 million Sock Ons have been sold to date. I have learnt that you can never stop and you have to continuously invent new products to keep them fresh and my vision is to create a whole range of innovative baby products under the ‘Ons’ brand. From small seeds - great things can grow.