A sock company based in West Michigan, and a water crisis unfolding in Africa. Two subjects that ordinarily would have nothing to do with each other. But the story of 20 Liters and boldSOCKS is no ordinary story.
boldSOCKS is a company born to do one thing: make bold, cool, funky socks for men, women, and children. boldSOCKS was founded when two co-workers, Adam Whitmore and Ryan Preisner, wondered out loud perhaps a little bit too seriously to each other why socks were so boring, and why were they stuck wearing them every day?
While most people would leave the question right there, Adam and Ryan decided to do something about boring socks. And, boldSOCKS was born.
Their decision to bring distinctively bold, fun and expressive socks to the masses fulfills one of boldSOCKS’ beliefs: that socks are an extension and expression of their wearer, and should be treated as works of art. It has been an incredibly successful endeavor, as boldSOCKS has emerged as a leader in the growing fun sock market.
To the founders of boldSOCKS, simply making and selling cool socks wasn’t ever going to be enough. Their company’s mission has three main tenets. First, to actively participate in God’s redemptive work by treating others with dignity and respect. Second, to be good stewards of resources. And third, to create more goodness in the world than destruction. As followers of fashion trends can attest, the fashion industry is built on many unsustainable and exploitative manufacturing practices. The boldSOCKS team has worked diligently to create a more sustainable and socially ethical business model. This started with identifying a production facility in Colombia that shares their values. The facility treats workers fairly; paying a living wage and providing a safe work environment.
Another part of boldSOCKS’ business model has been to provide hope and sustainable funding to organizations making a real difference in the world.
Enter 20 Liters.
As boldSOCKS CEO/Co-Owner Ryan Roff tells it, the idea to share the company’s success with 20 Liters started on a cold night in November. The boldSOCKS team attended a 20 Liters filter build hosted by Mars Hill Bible Church. They heard stories of how 20 Liters was making a real impact on the global water crisis and they saw the miracle of a group of dedicated individuals, producing concrete results in just a couple hours’ time. The volunteers that night built 450 filters for families in Rwanda; families desperately in need of a clean source of water.
After the build, the boldSOCKS team met with 20 Liters volunteers. They learned that the cost of assembling and transporting filters to Africa was about $100 per filter. They also came to understand that without a reliable, year-round source of funding, those life-changing filters would sit waiting in a warehouse. boldSOCKS immediately saw a way to do good with their cool, funky socks. So boldSOCKS committed to the 1:100 model for their Statement Sockwear brand.
The 1:100 model is simple: For every pair of Statement Sockwear sold, boldSOCKS helps 20 Liters provide 100 days of clean drinking water to someone in need in Africa. To date, boldSOCKS has provided over 35 million days of clean water to vulnerable families.
boldSOCKS started as a simple idea to “Have fun and never wear boring socks again”. But it has grown into a company that creates and sells the best, least-boring socks on the planet. And more importantly, has created a purpose-driven endeavor devoted to bringing positive change to a world that so desperately needs it.
Want to make dirty water clean as a part of your business’ bottom line? From after-school jobs to cottage industries to socially conscious businesses, companies of all sizes have come alongside us to bring a sustained impact to our work. Every partnership looks a little different, find inspiration here.