While it is amazing for brands to give away products or donate a portion of their proceeds on behalf of their customer base, in founding Sock Footage, Marisa Sheff was hoping to take the same 1 to 1 model one step further. Having been involved in and volunteered at a number of charitable organizations over the course of her lifetime, Marisa has had the opportunity to work closely with members of the homeless community.
Through her work, she quickly realized that there was a common thread among the individuals with whom she crossed paths: they all craved connection and conversation. They wanted to be heard and they wanted to be seen. Unfortunately, in this age of technology, we have lost authentic connection, and, as a result, many of our relationships have become short-lived and transactional. After a five year stint as a corporate account manager in the sock industry, she knew she wanted to find a way to combine her passion for socks with giving back to those less fortunate.
Socks are the most needed, but least donated items at homeless shelters. As such, for each pair of socks purchased on our site, a donation pair is provided courtesy of our brand in an effort to support our members in reclaiming that meaningful, in-person donation experience. We are hoping that this complimentary pair of socks will encourage you to get out there and give! We truly believe, and have witnessed firsthand, that being physically present in the donation process has the power to change your life while touching the lives of those in need. Help us inspire others to #PAYITFOOTWARD!
Our #PAYITFOOTWARD initiative was created to remove some of the stigma around homelessness. By documenting the before-and-after highlights of your giving experience and sharing personal footage online, we are confident that you can change people’s views and bring awareness to the growing concerns surrounding those living on the streets.
Where did the idea for Sock Footage come from?
Sock Footage, an online sock subscription and retail store concept with a 1 for 1 giving model, was born out of a desire to combine my passion for socks with an opportunity to give back to those in need. After learning that socks were one of the most needed but least donated items to homeless shelters, I wanted to use my industry experience to help reduce some of the stigma associated with those living on the streets. For every pair of socks purchased on www.sockfootage.com, a complimentary donation pair is provided, to encourage individuals to get out there and donate (whether face-to-face or via our partner charity).
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
While there is no typical day, my list of daily tasks include but are not limited to digital marketing, sales, website management, vending machine replenishment and shipping. As such, I like to highlight the importance of integrating a habit of routine into my schedule to help keep this list in check.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It was recommended to me early on by a close mentor to treat every “new business idea” like a school project, tackling it piece by piece, so as to not let it overwhelm. It is this advice that I credit for bringing some of my best ideas to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
After noticing an increase in the use of vending for non-traditional purposes, I was extremely excited to combine this new trend with my existing social entrepreneurship model. Sock Footage was therefore to my knowledge, the first company to launch a charitable sock vending machine.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
As a solo entrepreneur, I spend my days getting my hands and feet wet in all aspects of the business. I truly believe that my ability to wear multiple hats is what differentiates me from other business owners, making me more productive in moving through her day to day tasks. I graduated with a Fashion Communications Degree from Ryerson University. The program was tailored towards making each student a jack of all trades, which is a necessary component when entering the world of entrepreneurship.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I often wish that I would have put more emphasis on being charitable in my younger years, which was one of the main reasons whyI made the decision to pilot our first sock vending machine on my former university’s campus, to help plant the seed for students to get involved in giving back at an earlier age.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
If you have a business idea with enough heart & hustle behind it, you can make anything work.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Surrounding yourself with a network of like-minded individuals to lean on for support is paramount. Entrepreneurship can be lonely.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Providing individuals with the option to have their free donations socks shipped out with their orders, so that they can get involved. With an emphasis on reconnecting face-to-face with people on the streets, I wanted to give others the opportunity to feel like they are a part of a community. Typically, once someone is able to witness firsthand the impact of their donation, it propels them to want to give again.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Working with influencers who did not fully understand the core message behind my brand. When a company tells a story, it is important to carefully choose partners that align with their mission and are able to properly communicate what it stands for. With every new collaboration, I now insist on connecting by phone first to ensure that my business’ message really resonates.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A breakfast-in-bed food delivery service 😉
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Having exercise as an outlet during the pandemic has allowed for reduced anxiety levels. So definitely, the money that I put towards workout equipment, to be able to convert a portion of my garage into a gym during quarantine.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Buffer! It allows me the opportunity to post to multiple social media platforms by scheduling all posts in advance, and is a major time saver! I currently use it for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Gift of Imperfections by Brené Brown. Entrepreneurship is a struggle. It is important to be vulnerable throughout the process and this book teaches the skills to tackle shame and vulnerability in its purest form.
What is your favorite quote?
“This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.” – Glennon Doyle
- Entrepreneurship can be lonely, so make sure to surround yourself with a strong network of like minded individuals who you can lean on.
- Productivity comes in waves, learn to practice forgiveness and take a break/exercise when necessary to regroup and push forward.
- Being vulnerable and adaptable is necessary to any successful business.
- The feeling that comes from giving back to someone in need is irreplaceable.
- Perspective is key, we are all facing our own set of challenges, but things could always be worse.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.