I was contacted by a sock company that sells groovy socks. The socks were colorful and bold. They made a statement, and for every pair that they sold they gave money to a charity, which supports entrepreneurs.
Here’s what they wrote:
Kelsey, Love your mission. You are an inspiration. I have some rad socks for you. I’m the co-founder of XXX – a sustainable social enterprise that makes socks that (insert cause here).
So I picked out my favorite pair and sent them my address because, “hey! Free socks!” But I ended my response with a simple question that has gotten me in a lot of trouble…
“Where are they made?”
That was two months ago. I never received a response or socks. Maybe they could’ve just forgotten to reply or send me socks. Maybe the socks are made in a nursing home by grandmas who are paid $100,000/year and a lifelong supply of grandkid calendars. Maybe. But I doubt it.
I bet their socks are made in some factory in a developing nation that they really don’t know much about, by people they haven’t really thought about. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m probably not. (Note: I believe it is possible to source responsibly from such places. prAna and Patagonia are now offering Fair Trade clothes.)
Their are a lot of for-profit companies that use social causes to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. This particular sock company believes that its donations provide folks with opportunities. I wish they just made socks, and made socks in a way that gave people opportunities. I think we all need to do that thing that we do, that thing that makes us sing, that thing we’re passionate about to change the world.
If your thing is making socks, make them in a way that changes lives. When you do that, I’ll proudly wear them.