Vidushi Kanoria and Aayush Goenka
Market for socks growing at 11%
Founded by sock-preneurs Vidushi Kanoria and Aayush Goenka in 2018, Soxytoes is an online brand promising to disrupt a category as sober and boring as a pair of socks. The founders talk to Paulami Chatterjee on how the pandemic spiked a lot of their plans, how they are bouncing back, and that too with new categories in the pipeline.
What has the growth story been at Soxytoes in the last three years (excluding 2020)?
The global market for socks is 26 billion pairs of which India's share is only 2 per cent - quite dis-proportional to its population size. This creates a massive opportunity and is the reason why the Indian sock market is growing at 11 per cent -- much faster than the world average of 4 per cent.
Even today, most of the socks available in the Indian market, including on e-commerce, are of poor quality and unhealthy to wear, very often fakes of leading sports brands.
Our experience during the previous two years has shown that the Indian consumer is evolving and wants to move towards a better quality and better designed product. Therefore, our core USPs - viz noticeable designs and product innovation - have resonated with the consumer psyche.
We have grown from sales of zero to half a million units/annum in the past 3 years. We have shown a strong growth in 2020 as well, thanks to increased e-commerce demand and expansion into the masks category.
Pre-Covid about 50 per cent of our sales were through e-commerce and 50 per cent through brick-and-mortar channels including kiosks, pop-ups and resellers. In fact, we had a very encouraging response to our pop-ups at events like Lil Flea and Comicon and at malls like Select City walk and Quest. Although the Covid situation has forced us to exit brick and mortar channels in 2020, this will for sure again be a focus area post-Covid. We are now expanding into footwear and sleepwear categories.
What was the impact of Covid in terms of sales, staff cutdown etc?
In terms of sales, the lockdown has significantly impacted the demand for socks in brick-and-mortar channel, although e-commerce demand has remained robust. To ensure business viability during peak Covid months, we leveraged on our core USPs - viz noticeable designs and product innovation - to produce a line of face masks, which did well for us.
We started as a team of 3 committed sock-preneurs, and since then our core team size has increased to 8. We have kept ourselves lean from inception, and have outsourced our warehousing, logistics, tech and other such functions. Although product development and sampling is in-house, our bulk manufacturing is largely outsourced.
What was the inspiration behind founding of the brand?
While innovation has in some way or the other tweaked our clothes, our shoes our watches, our ankle-hugging friends have remained neglected. This made us realise that socks needed a revolution too. Thus was born the idea of 'noticeable' socks - a transformational, orbit-shifting innovation, which set out to disrupt this previously sober and perhaps boring category. We started talking about socks 2.0. Better quality, eye-popping designs injected with a lot of new tricks up our sleeves. That's what we're promising to deliver.
Which are the categories the brand is into? Which category sells the most?
We are into accessories (socks and masks for men, women and children). Socks sell the most.
What is the USP of your products?
Our socks and masks are noticeable, quirky, highest in class quality. Besides our bestselling casual and corporate socks, our innovative products like Perfomax high performance athletic socks, Com-Feet-able socks designed for comfort, Diabetic Care socks for diabetics, Compression Therapy socks for aching legs and for long journeys and Infused! Socks with the wellness of natural aloe vera and energising mint oils have been highly appreciated by the market.
Who are your target audience?
Millennials in the age group 18-40.
This article was first published in the February 2021 edition of the print magazine.