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Company Culture Blog

How to Find a Sock Manufacturer

At Sock Club, we are your source for personalized, stylish, socks that are suitable for various occasions, tastes, and styles. The process of getting socks that are customized to your design preferences and are made from exceptional quality materials is as easy as it’s ever been. As a premier provider among custom sock manufacturers, we can help you get the socks you want with your preferred customized design and ship them quickly to your door.

Now, how can you find the right sock manufacturer to get the custom socks you want?

What to Expect from a Custom Sock Manufacturer?

A quality custom sock manufacturer will understand your need for a custom design process that is easy and deliver a personalized experience that prioritizes your individual needs. Another distinction of a premium sock manufacturer is an easy-to-use interface that seamlessly guides you through the design and ordering process and enables quick and easy communication with a sales representative. It’s important to find a partner that offers bulk pricing and doesn’t charge extra for services like setup, design, or online checkout.

Some custom sock manufacturers require ordering a higher minimum order quantity (MOQ) than you need for your specific project, which may conflict with your budgetary limitations. It is good to work with a manufacturer who is experienced with production and can offer you a low MOQ that will allow you to purchase a reasonable quantity of custom socks rather than having to pay more money for more pairs of custom socks than you actually need.

Ordering Custom Socks in Bulk

There are benefits and disadvantages to buying custom socks in bulk. The considerations to factor in include how you plan to use your socks, the size of your target audience, and your company/team’s budget.

You can make an informed decision by understanding the pros and cons of ordering custom socks in bulk and which manufacturer to go with: one that understands your need for high quality production, offers a number of style and packaging options, simplifies the ordering process, and has reasonable MOQ requirements.

Business socks that are branded are a great incentive for employees, clients, event attendees, etc. Bulk ordering is an excellent way to express loyalty or appreciation or provide incentive for members and new clients during the course of the year.

Other groups and organizations that often require special socks from custom sock manufacturers include athletic teams, school and social groups, nonprofit organizations, retail brands, and so many more!

Interested in custom socks for your organization or group? You can begin designing your custom branded socks right here on our website. For help with your order or to request information about the options we offer, get started with us and we’ll walk you through the process.

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Company Culture Blog

How To Use Swag To Enhance Company Culture

More than 16 million American workers have made the transition to working remotely since the COVID-19 outbreak became widespread in March 2020. 16 MILLION people, all undergoing a complete 180 shift in their day-to-day routines.

What can I do to support my staff? What can I do to make sure that your company is promoting a robust internal culture? How do I engage remote employees?

These are the kinds of questions corporate executives should be asking themselves in these unprecedented times.

 

To maintain workplace viability and effectiveness, business leaders need to turn their attention to three things: organizational structure, company culture, and employee appreciation. These may seem like daunting tasks, and you may feel lost as to where to even begin- we get it. That’s why we’re providing you with the knowledge you need to start implementing initiatives to engage your employees. We’re also going to let you in on a little secret on how to quickly and effectively enhance workplace culture: company swag.

 


What is Organizational Culture?

According to Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Company Culture, there are four generally accepted attributes of organizational culture:

  • It’s shared
  • It’s pervasive
  • It’s enduring
  • It’s implicit

At its core, company culture refers to the environment and norms that characterize an organization’s workforce. The collective values, behaviors, motivations, assumptions, and attitudes of the workforce all contribute to your company culture and dictate the team identity of each department. Culture can (and should) be shaped by leadership so that it effectively communicates and serves to advance the company’s goals.

When properly cultivated, company culture has the power to propel employees’ productivity and performance to new heights, thereby maximizing an organization’s capacity to prosper. Other tangible benefits include higher employee satisfaction and decreased company turnover rate.

Under normal operating conditions, U.S. workers can collaborate with their peers daily in an office setting. In environments like these, where communication with colleagues is constant, and the physical surroundings are designed to reflect the company mission and values, employees quickly learn and conform to the workplace culture.

 

Group of colleagues collaborating on a project

 

Such environments are no longer the reality for most workers, though. We all expected remote work policies to be short-lived, but here we are, still going strong four months later. Shelter-at-home orders and concerns of disease transmission are still at play, and office reopening dates continue to be delayed.

Recent studies have disproved any prior notion that remote work is inherently ineffective; some research findings even indicate that people are more productive when working from home. We’re witnessing the emergence of a new normal, and it seems like remote work is here to stay.

Establishing, evolving, and reinforcing team identity are all challenging but crucial processes when managing remote teams. It’s more important now than ever for your company to invest time and resources in culture-building initiatives.

 


How is Culture Created?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a secret playbook on infallible strategies for developing and sustaining company culture to share (we sure wish we did!). Which initiatives will be the most effective depends entirely on the type of culture that exists at your company.

The foundation for a strong company culture begins with onboarding and training programs and a comprehensive performance management system. It is essential that employees know what is expected of them and understands how their role contributes to the company’s overall mission. Onboarding/training and performance management are both vital steps to ensuring that your team has a solid grasp on the inner workings of the business and can explicitly define the company’s mission and values.

The next step is equally (if not more) important because it serves to cultivate company culture and keep it from fizzling out: implementing ongoing measures of employee recognition and appreciation. It’s a well-known fact that employees are more engaged when they feel like they are valued, and their successes aren’t going unnoticed. Consequently, productivity and efficiency levels rise, and your business is better equipped to meet its goals.

 


Why Should You Invest in Company Swag?

At first glance, it may not be the culture-building solution you were expecting, but it’s one of the simplest and most creative ways to strengthen company culture. Furthermore, using swag to boost company culture is an effective strategy for remote workplace environments, and it goes without saying just how important that is right now. Investing in company swag for your employees is a gesture that shows you care, not to mention it allows them to take pride in (and show off) your brand.

Branded swag is a unique and practical gift for employees. It conveys professionalism, unites internal teams, reinforces company values, welcomes and excites new employees, celebrates achievements and milestones- the list goes on and on. Most importantly, it sends a message that your organization is committed to its employees and appreciates the contributions made by each individual.

 

Sock Club - Custom Socks for Google

 

As is the case with all aspects of internal marketing, company swag is only guaranteed to produce results when it’s done right. Before you start ordering promotional products, here are three tips for building and designing an excellent swag deck:

1. Be Personal

Now that we spend most of our time at home, our swag should reflect our new norm. Create products that could be useful for home life, such as branded apparel, self-care items, athletic gear, or even custom face masks.

2. Be Mindful

Don’t be the reason more waste ends up in landfills. Practice sustainability by providing employees with eco-friendly swag. Some examples include reusable coffee cups, water bottles made from recycled material, or steel straw sets. Added bonus: sustainable merch and swag can reinforce your company values, which is key to creating a healthy company culture.

3. Be Practical

This one should be a given, but we’ve all seen far too many swag items end up in the trashcan because of the lack of practicality. Branded products that are obviously cheap or purposeless will undoubtedly be thrown away or forgotten about and can actually look unfavorably on your company. Spend a little more on high-quality, functional products- you won’t regret it.

 


 

By no means are we suggesting that swag is going to be the answer to all of your company culture problems. What we are saying is that it’s a great place to start if you’re looking for tangible ways to establish a sense of unity within your remote team and turn your employees into brand champions. So what are you waiting for? Get to building that brand deck and send your employees some company swag as a small token of your appreciation.


Upgrade Your Swag Deck With Custom Socks

Categories
Blog Company Culture

Made in USA: Why it Pays to Invest in American Made Products

While you’re out perusing the aisles of your favorite stores ready to make a purchase, how often do you stop and check the “Made in ___” tag to see where your items are coming from? 

Chances are, you’re more than likely to see the same three places popping up everywhere: “Made in China”, “Made in Taiwan”, or “Made in Mexico”. Seeking cheaper labor costs, more and more companies opt to use overseas factories and manufacturers to produce their products, pushing American companies and workers to face larger competition and outsourcing for domestic sales and jobs. 

 

Years and years ago, most products on our store shelves were proudly emblazoned with a “Made in the USA” sticker, but since the end of the 20th century, we’ve seen a steady decline in American made products. Lately, however, American consumers have begun to reverse this trend after seeing the benefits to their communities when buying locally made products. Buying American-made helps to strengthen our local small businesses, bolster the economy, and create more jobs here at home. At Sock Club, we’ve partnered with mills in North Carolina to make our products, resulting in faster turnaround time and higher quality goods for our customers. 

Here are just a few ways in which buying domestically-manufactured products benefits everyone:

 

1. Provides Jobs

When buying American-made, you help foster domestic job creation, provide growth to other industries, and develop a future of job security for our workers. In a study done by the Economic Policy Institute, they found 1 manufacturing job helps support 1.4 jobs in other sectors of the US economy. 

When we invest money into domestically made products, the money is immediately reinvested into our communities and helps provide more employment opportunities for both current and future generations.

I'm a winner giphy

2. Better for the Environment

Products made overseas don’t have to commit to the same regulations set forth by our Environmental Protection Agency here in the United States. The EPA requires our manufacturers to adhere to strict policies on pollution, waste, and other environmental hazards that could be detrimental to our communities. These guidelines are crucial for promoting a culture of environmental consciousness and help push us towards more renewable and eco-friendly manufacturing processes. However, foreign manufacturers are not bound by these stipulations and may take shortcuts to benefit their profits, at the cost of our global environmental health. 

Shipping is also a concern. Products traveling across the Pacific and Atlantic ocean travel extreme distances when compared to domestically made products. Buying American-made guarantees less fuel use, less pollution, and a smaller global carbon footprint.

Bridesmaids giphy

3. Better for the Economy

When you buy American-made goods, it creates a ripple effect. You’re not only directly supporting the workers who work in the factories, but you’re also helping all the other secondary companies that help keep them running. No business is self-sufficient, they need the help of their communities in the form of construction crews to build their infrastructure, utility companies to keep them powered, local restaurants to keep them fed, and financial companies to keep them on track. 

Buying American-made products can also be beneficial to the consumer by providing them with lower fulfillment times, reduced shipping costs, and more ease of mind when they feel they have a connection with the manufacturer they’re purchasing from. 

Family at dinner giphy

4. High-Quality Products

Take one look around the Sock Club website, and you’re sure to quickly find the “Made in the U.S.A” label proudly displayed. You may see that and wonder why we (and so many other companies) make such an obvious effort to market our products with this classification. As you continued scrolling through our site, you would also find Sock Club’s mission outlined: to deliver the highest quality products, in the shortest turn times, at competitive prices. 

These offerings are what sets us apart from our competitors, and none of it would be possible if our products weren’t manufactured here in the U.S.A. 

While overseas production is a cheaper option, the quality of products is often sacrificed. When a product is labeled as “Made in the U.S.A.,” there is a universal expectation that the product will be of high-quality, and that the shipment a buyer receives will be true to how it was marketed. This really isn’t an unrealistic expectation, because, historically, American companies have lived up to this standard by building their products with high-quality components that are necessary to ensure a product’s longevity and durability. 

Ultimately, the unparalleled quality of American-made products compensates for the often higher costs. Not to mention, shipping times are reduced drastically when products are made, fulfilled, and shipped domestically. 

Tom Hanks giphy

Our production team, located in North Carolina, has been knitting high-quality socks for some of the world’s finest and most well-known brands for over two generations. In addition, we have partnered with numerous vendors that supply American cotton, spin that cotton into usable yarn, dye the cotton, then knit and finish the socks. We’re proud of the partnerships that make up our supply chain and make our socks possible. We’re also proud that our products are marked by the sticker that reads “Made in the U.S.A.”

Explore our past designs!

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Uncategorized Company Culture

Knitting the Dream: Sock Club’s Evolution

“We’ll get it done, and if we can’t, we’ll find a way to get it done.”
– Lauren Chen, Sock Designer at Sock Club
sock club founders in sock mill
While Sock Club’s legacy began with its subscription service in 2012, we quickly found our footing in the promotional and custom product space in 2014. We’ve created socks for a variety of dynamic industries, from automotive to education; tech to music. What started as two guys with an idea grew into a business that far out weaved Sock Club’s humble beginnings. Lauren Chen, a seasoned sock designer of three and a half years, steps us through the company’s custom design evolution. 

How has Sock Club’s custom brand strengthened over the years through evolution? “I think the great thing about Sock Club is how we’ve been able to define and prove ourselves. We make it work and Tim Gunn-it on a short deadline. We’ll get it done, and if we can’t, we’ll find a way to get it done. I have to give a shoutout to our vendors for making all of that possible, and especially for working with us so we can exceed expectations for our clients.” With their help, we were able to start the foundation for Sock Club’s evolution

How has the process of making custom socks changed for the design team? “The team has added so many different sock designers with various takes and styles. Some designers enjoy pushing the boundaries of what Sock Club can do, while others like to focus on a specific theme. It’s been interesting to see the design team’s diverse illustration styles as well as their ability to take wild concepts and condense them down into something that can be knit.”

In what ways have you seen designers push boundaries now compared to when you first began at Sock Club? “When I first started, the design team was still using vector designs to some extent. We quickly transitioned into creating production-ready samples of designs and would use Photoshop to trace designs and ‘pixel push.’  However, some sock designers realized we could use the threshold and posterize tools in Photoshop to speed up our process and turn given art into knitwear more efficiently. However, this wasn’t something I learned until a year or two here but has been a total game-changer.”

How has your design approach evolved since you first started at Sock Club? “Being a sock designer has ultimately taught me efficiency. I’m much better at anticipating what clients are probably looking for, especially if it’s a scenario where they send me a logo and want me to ‘make it work.'”

Have you noticed any trends in how custom designs have changed at Sock Club?  “Since last year, the amount of requests for athletic socks has definitely increased. We’ve learned a lot about the do’s and don’ts and best practices of athletic socks, and we are equipped with the knowledge of what we can successfully create.”

Who is your favorite client?  “I have two. Iam8bit produces video game merchandise. The owners are really nice and provide us plenty of lead time and fun, creative assets. Last year, I helped them create a Fortnite sock that was used as a giveaway. My second is Mayfield Robotics. The original point of contact was this woman named Laurel. I still have her number on my phone. She’s super positive and always helpful. It’s just nice to work with clients like that. Mayfield’s robot, Kuri, is really cute, too.”

Mayfield Robotics
Lauren’s custom knee-high socks for Mayfield Robotics.

Where is Sock Club’s custom sock design heading? “Our cotton crew sock is the frontrunner followed by our athletic crew sock. As we are developing our processes, I see us making any kind of chassis [style] imaginable for our custom socks. I think we’re only going to continue refining our design and expanding our business outside of socks.” The sock evolution is changing every year, how will you use your custom socks?

Categories
Company Culture

5 ways to create a positive company culture

Having a thriving company culture is important. It’s a direct reflection of corporate values and employer brand. It allows you to attract and keep the cream-of-the-crop talent while retaining valuable employees. When it comes to keeping employees happy, organizations should go above and beyond. Here are five ways the create the best company culture.
Sock Club employee outing

1. Establish your mission People want to work towards something. Communicate a clear company mission that people can get behind. Whether it’s providing the best customer service possible or innovating technology, employees want to know they’re doing good work. This is important to the company culture to keep the vision positive and inspiring. Make sure you believe it too.

2. Stop. Collaborate… It’s an age-old tale Vanilla Ice has been evangelizing since the dawn of time. Collaboration leads to more productivity and a positive workplace environment. Promote collaboration by providing an open office space both spatially and interpersonally. An open-concept workspace allows employees accessibility to each other by creating more opportunities to work together. You can take this concept a step further by using project collaboration apps like Asana and Trello.

3. …and Listen. Ice said collaborate AND listen. If employees are going to work together, it’s important to promote active listening and management should lead by example. Host brainstorming meetings. Fully concentrate on the person speaking and their ideas and not just passively listen in order to respond. Make employees feel heard!

4. Communicate your culture! Company culture should be evident, however, it’s not always common sense. Outline it to new employees. Define it. Live it. Clearly communicate what’s expected of each individual in their role. Many companies use poster series, weekly meetings and happy hours to remind people. Most importantly, consider culture in every decision made. From the time candidates walk in the door for their interview to their 10 year anniversary, how is culture communicated? Communicating a positive culture and employer brand is key to hiring the best talent.

5. Never stop investing in your employees. Investing in your employees is the greatest business decision you will ever make. Employees want to grow throughout their careers and simply having the opportunity to move up the ladder is no longer enough. The more employees feel invested in, the more loyal they will be to the company. So sign off on those enrichment courses and encourage company members to take on new roles. If the budget is tight, consider gifting your team some company swag. No matter the size of the investment, you’re definitely going to see positive ROI.

Check out some of the company culture swag Sock Club has designed!

Custom socks from a variety of companies
Custom socks from multiple companies