We spoke to Swanky Socks founder and co-director Tom Lawrence about sustainability, giving back and stepping with purpose.
Can you tell us about your role at Swanky Socks and how the company first came about?
I am the founder and co-director of Swanky Socks. Currently, I oversee our Australian and UK office. Swanky Socks was founded after receiving a pair of well-known branded socks which, after one wear, had a hole in them. From this, we have continued to develop our brand into a high-quality Australian Merino-based company with a focus around sustainability.
How have Swanky Socks grown over the years?
Swanky Socks is no overnight success. Established in 2014/15 we’ve pivoted many times over the years to get to today. Our future is exciting. After the retail brand diversified into the corporate market, we have firmly established ourselves as one of the most prominent custom sock brands globally. Recently we opened our UK office where we have seen large growth. Our future sees continued growth in Australia while driving further opportunities into the UK, EU and scaling our US markets.
Why is producing sustainably important to you?
Swanky Socks has always had a strong focus on ensuring a sustainable brand identity. With a focus around sustainable, natural materials like Merino wool we believe we are offering some of the best socks available while also ensuring we’re doing our part to support a cleaner environment.
What are some of the benefits of Merino wool socks?
After initially discovering Merino wool in 2016, we have continued to educate, learn and understand just how amazing this material truly is.
They’re more durable than cotton, meaning you’ll get a lot more wear out of your socks.
They’re actually great all year round. This is the biggest myth we’ve found. People usually align wool with winter and the outdoors. Merino wool is a great temperature regulator meaning your socks will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.
Increased breathability and moisture control. This natural fibre is exceptionally good when it comes to moisture and wicks away sweat like no other material, keeping your feet fresh all day long.
They feel amazing! Merino wool fibres are not as coarse as normal wool. They’re super soft and comfortable. We’re so confident in this, we have a first pair guarantee – love them or they’re free.
For every pair of socks bought, another is donated to someone experiencing homelessness. What inspired you to give back to those in need?
This was inspired after learning how importable socks were for those experiencing homelessness. Socks and underwear are two of the most needed items, yet the least donated. For us as a brand, we believe it is right to now focus on giving back through our channels. To date we’re coming up to over $850,000 worth of socks donated and funds raised from the sale of our socks for charities around Australia.
Do you have a favourite Swanky Socks design?
I’ve always believed in clean, subtle design such as dots, stripes etc… I do love our range from the Shiraz collection.
What’s the next big move for Swanky Socks?
Our focus right now is to mirror what we’ve done in Australia in the UK and US. With the launch of our UK office this year, we’ve been able to service business orders exceptionally fast. I personally have a vision for Swanky Socks to be the number one B2B custom sock manufacturer globally and believe we have everything in place to ensure our success. We’d also like to increase our growth in retail and through diversifying into all types of socks, made from Merino wool, we believe we can build a globally respected brand with a strong alignment to high quality materials and an identity around sustainability.
Where is your favourite place to travel in Australia?
Throughout Covid I’ve consistently traveled between Sydney and Byron Bay and spent my time in Suffolk Park. For me, it has this peacefulness about it and gives me the time to switch off and come back to Sydney completely focused. I’ll find myself walking along Tallows Beach and soaking up the natural beauty Australia has to offer.
For more interviews with awesome Aussie business owners, check out our chat with Rebecca Reithmuller, founder of Womn-Kind.