I have always wanted to start my own business. Over the years I have had various ideas to start different apps, restaurants...the list is endless.
I moved to Ireland from France in 2017 and discovered that my feet were constantly getting wet, and I had to change my socks almost every time I got home - basically I realised that nobody can have too many pairs of socks.
The idea was turning in my head for quite some time after this, as I settled into a new job, new country, new life. Then in July 2020, I finally decided to do something about this idea that wouldn’t leave me alone.
I sat with my girlfriend chatting through different names for the business, what kind of socks I wanted to sell, how to design them, where to get stock, or make stock, how to get it shipped to the customer. We even (briefly!) discussed the idea of shipping them directly from our apartment in the west of Ireland.
I knew that I wanted to provide my future customers with the best quality socks I could find, while also considering impact on the environment and good customer service. This ruled out drop-shipping - I just knew I wanted to give my customers a piece of me, and ensure they had socks that they would not be able to find anywhere else.
And so HolyHoses started to come to life - I made some designs and found a manufacturer that used organic cotton and sustainable shipping materials to bring my designs to life. I found a distribution centre, so that my girlfriend didn’t have to put up with 1000 pairs of socks lying around the apartment. I set up my website, and started to get scared while waiting for my sample socks to arrive, so that I could take pictures.
When the ten pairs of socks arrived, I was overwhelmed by how good they looked (if I do say so myself!), and quickly had pictures taken and uploaded.
On the day I launched Holyhoses, I got 24 orders from family and friends, and was so delighted to have their support. Their feedback on my socks was also very positive, and I felt on top of the world at how well everything was going.
Then reality came crashing down - I had no idea how to get this idea out into the world beyond my friends and family! For some time, I struggled with advertising, getting one or two orders a month, and wondering if I was ever going to make this work.
Just recently, a close family friend who is a marketing expert called me up, and gave me some amazing tips on how to make the website look more authentic, and how to advertise and sell my products better.
I have now revamped the website, giving my socks some more interesting names, and adding pictures of actual people (namely my very obliging girlfriend, who I spent half a day following around with a camera while she changed her socks at various intervals!) wearing them in real life situations.
Re-launching the website is scary, but I am feeling hopeful that people will now more clearly see my vision, the quality and authenticity of my socks, and hopefully their feet will enjoy their new purchases once they arrive ;)