You could call them business socks. Cole and Parker is a new brand of flashy socks soon to arrive at high end boutiques in Toronto. Retailing at $24 a pair, and with 30 different styles in its first run, the vibrant socks do more than make a fashion statement. 20 per cent of profits go to a microloans program.
“We partnered with Kiva,” says Cole and Parker cofounder Jeff House. “They’re a large microfinance organization, and what they do is partner up with field partners throughout the world distributing microloans to entrepreneurs. It could be a guy looking to grow his farming and agriculture business and he needs to buy another cow. That loan could be on Kiva for $500. He takes that $500, gets a new cow, grows his business, and pays it back. So the loans can be recycled.”
The London, Ontario based company blew away its Indiegogo campaign goal of $20,000, hitting $42,606 in 25 days. The socks are a mixture of cotton and elastene so they have the snug, tight fit common to men’s dress socks. The ostentatious designs come from the mind of Juan Mendez, a man House likes to call “the best sock guy in the world.”
“He’s fantastic. A very creative guy,” says House. “He’s Columbian born, and now based out of Canada. The guy’s a very bright designer.”
Joe Patterson, founder of Toesox.com, is also partnering with Cole and Parker and House credits him with much of the design concept.
“He is all about the details,” says House. “It took a while to develop, but he was there working diligently to come up with the best product possible.”
Cole and Parker recently made a presentation on a filming of Dragon’s Den, although House is firm about not giving away any details on what transpired during their segment. He can tell us, however, that it will be airing in Season 8 of the hit CBC series sometime between the September 2013 and May 2014.
Chris Riddell is a freelance writer from Toronto who covers art, business, and urban life for various fine publications. Also a poet and aspiring novelist, he’s busting his butt trying to get his name into a few literary magazines these days. He encourages you to check out his website for a look at what he’s been working on lately.