By Isaac Morrison, Creative Content Producer
Bombas sells socks. What sets them apart from other sock companies is their business model. For every pair of socks purchased, Bombas donates a pair to a homeless shelter. Bombas founder Randy Goldberg explains in a blog post that the company was inspired by a Facebook quote that named socks as the most requested clothing item at homeless shelters. Co-founder David Heath shared the quote with Goldberg and the pair set out to start a company that would help provide socks to the homeless. So why did this 2013 Indiegogo startup with a crazy idea of “selling socks by giving them away” rise to a company with annual revenue of over $100 million?
They make great ads.
The first Bombas ad I saw was on YouTube. It was told in a story format and was focused more on the mission of helping the homeless rather than the product. By the end of the commercial, I believed that I could make the world a better place by buying a pair of these socks. That’s powerful marketing! It was a good strategy since millennials are constantly surfing YouTube and most feel a strong commitment to make the world better. The Bombas YouTube channel has over a million subscribers.
You know how it goes. You see a great ad, then you visit the website to see if the claims are legit and the reviews are positive. I learned from the website that Bombas is a derivative of bómbos, the Latin word for bumblebee. Bombas branding is centered around the idea that bees have to work together to make the world a better place. A blurb from the Bombas website says that:
“Bees live in a hive and work together to make their world a better place. They’re small, but have a big effect on things. When we say Bee Better, we mean it as a mantra, a way of approaching every day. It’s stitched into the inside of every pair of Bombas for a reason. It’s a reminder to push yourself harder to be better at your athletic pursuits”
At this point, I’m totally buying these socks, even if they fall apart in the wash.
Image by WeTriedIt
They make great socks.
Well, it turns out they don’t fall apart in the wash. In fact, I can honestly say they are the most comfortable socks I have ever worn. The honeycomb support system really does feel like it “hugs” my foot, as advertised. I bought a couple of pairs for myself, and I liked them so much that I bought some to give as Christmas gifts. Soon, without any incentive or encouragement from the company, I found myself promoting Bombas to everyone around me because I believed in their mission and their business values. The product reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and the few that aren’t positive have a response from the Bombas Customer Happiness team reminding the customer of the happiness guarantee and offering to make it right. When my Bombas socks do eventually wear out, I can say with certainty that I will be a repeat customer. I will also continue to give them as gifts.
They make a difference.
The model was risky but simple - one pair of socks donated to a shelter for every pair sold. It paid off big time, as Bombas was profitable in 3 short years. They now partner with over 2,500 organizations who help distribute Bombas Donation Clothing to the homeless and other in-need populations. To date, Bombas has given away over 35,000,000 items, but check out the real-time counter on their website. I bet a couple of hundred people have gotten new socks since you started reading this.