Do you hate sorting and folding socks? Me too!
My name is Jacob Dietle. I’m 14 years old, and this is the story about my new company, Snapz USA, which is bringing my designs to life.
I’m going to tell you about how I solved an age-old problem, how we’re going to benefit disadvantaged kids, how we’re launching this product at one of America's most famous retailers this holiday season, and how you can help, including how you can be part of my Advisory Board and meet all kinds of interesting entrepreneurs.
Sorting socks sucks!
Doing laundry is one of my weekly chores and most definitely my least favorite part is sorting socks. You put socks in the washing machine, then the dryer, then you have a big pile of socks to sort through and attempt to match them. Of course, it almost always turns out that the Sock Zombies have stolen one or two socks so you’re left with extras.
Back to sorting... Colors have to match. Patterns have to match. It takes a long time and is about the most boring, biggest waste of time I can think of.
I spend twenty minutes folding jeans, shirts and underwear, and then it takes me two or three times longer to sort and fold the socks.
Sorting socks sucks! Don’t you agree?
This is Snapz.
It’s bad enough with just my socks, but I have two brothers. That’s a lot of socks every week. So I figured there must be a better way to deal with this sock thing. If I could just figure out a way to keep the socks together while being washed and dried, afterwards, they would already be sorted and ready to put in the dresser.
I tried multiple ways of keepings socks together: safety pins, chip clips, paper clips, folding, rubber bands, but nothing worked.
Then it hit me: if I could find a small, super strong means to snap them together, I could just take them off, snap them together, toss in the wash, put in the drier, then ---viola!---they’d already be connected and ready to be put back in the drawer.
I told my Mom about my idea and she said we needed to talk to her friend Bill Townsend who is an entrepreneur and chairman of Amati Foundation, a nonprofit focused on helping young people. Bill’s companies have sold for over $7 billion so I trusted that he knew what he was doing when it came to launching a product. Bill loved my idea and said that if I wanted to start a company around it, he and my Mom would help guide me. I thought this was a great idea: after all, who says a 14 year old can’t start a company, especially if I get good advisors? I’ll tell you about these advisors in a bit.
For now, let me tell you about Snapz!
I like to design things in an effort to make them better. I began learning about sock manufacturing. I worked with manufacturers around the world until I found one that could make what I believe to be the best feeling socks available. Then I worked with YKK, the famous American zipper and snap company to create the specialized snaps that hold my socks together. I got samples made, then we tested them, then we made changes, then we tested them again, until finally we had socks that we loved.
As you saw in my video, most socks are made of cotton, rubber and polyester which is cheap but doesn’t help with odor or wicking moisture away. I figured if I’m going to design socks and start a company around them, I don’t just want to make socks like everyone else; I want to make socks better.
I sought a way to make socks that would perform well but have environmental
benefits, too. They have to be comfortable, long lasting, and whether they are dress socks or athletic socks, they have to control odor. Then I learned about bamboo and its anti-odor properties. I learned that viscose bamboo, when made from hard bamboo stalks, creates a cozy fiber that is soft and warm, yet helps wick moisture away, keeping your feet dry. Viscose bamboo material has a soft and buttery feel and can absorb 3-4 times as much moisture as cotton. That means less odor. This is what makes bamboo perfect for socks.
Bamboo has a lot of other benefits so I decided that my socks had to have bamboo in them and when we got the test samples in, my hunch proved right. These socks are really, really comfortable! Plus, at the end of the day, you don’t have to worry about taking your shoes off and your socks stinking like they would if only made from cotton.
Did you know that bamboo is ecologically friendly to our planet?
- Bamboo requires no irrigation to grow because it thrives under natural rainfall.
- A stand of bamboo creates 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees while absorbing 5 times the greenhouse gases.
- It requires no chemical pesticides or fertilizers to grow because it naturally fights pests and lives great in many different natural settings, growing up to 47 inches in a single day once mature.
- Bamboo does not need replanted after harvest because, unlike trees, bamboo will regrow right from the cut.
- Due to the fact that bamboo roots stay in the ground when cut, it protects the soil from erosion and keeps it nutrient rich.
Bamboo is a marvelous green alternative to help preserve the environment!
Giving back to Americans in need.
We can all agree the environment is important, and most companies would say that sourcing bamboo is a good enough way to give back. But I don’t want Snapz USA to be “good enough;” I want it to be “exceptional!”
I thought if I could do something to help other kids, this would be even more fun to do and something my friends would want to help me build.
You know, lots of kids don’t have the basic necessities of a good pair of socks.
I learned this from talking to children’s charities. Something as simple as a pair of socks can make a difference in a disadvantaged kid’s life.
That is why I created the “Buy 3, Donate 1” program for Snaps USA. When consumers purchase a 3-pack of Snaps, whether in a retail store or online, they're not only getting a great sock that solves the whole sorting and folding mess, but they're helping put new socks on the feet of kids that may be economically disadvantaged, living in a homeless shelter, or just struggling to be able to put well-made clothes on their bodies. For every 3-pack sold, Snaps USA will donate another pair to disadvantaged kids.
Next, because I also love music, I decided to give 5% of the company profits to Amati Foundation so that can continue buying musical instruments for kids who can’t afford them. In return, they agreed to underwrite all our corporate entity formation. Amati Foundation doesn't buy crummy musical instruments for their recipients, they get really good instruments that young people can use from school to college and into their careers. By supporting them, we can help thousands of kids gain access to music education which has been proven to help with cognitive ability.
It's like we're creating "warm feet, warm minds" and I can picture it now…a kid dancing around the room in their Snaps socks while playing violin. It will be like Tom Cruise’s underwear dance in Risky Business, but with a Bach Serenade instead of Bob Seger!
A big launch for the holidays!
This campaign isn’t about a concept. The product is finished. It works great. It’s ready to go to market. I just need your help to get it there.
Snapz socks have been tested through over 500 washings in both household and industrial washers and driers. They are proven to work. Now they are ready to be manufactured. Best of all, I have a great partner whom we intend to launch with for the 2013 holiday season…the world famous retailer Fred Segal.
Fred Segal is an upscale Los Angeles, California based clothing retailer with two stores in Hollywood and Santa Monica. It has a long history of being ahead of trends: in 1960, Mr. Segal opened the world’s first jeans-only store. It grew to include other clothing, footwear and now restaurants and is expanding to Japan and Las Vegas. They’ve been featured in many TV shows and movies including Entourage, Legally
Blonde, The L Word, White Oleander, Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson’s Creek, Clueless, Maid To Order, and Less Than Zero. Even the singer Pink has referenced Fred Segal in her songs.
I’m also meeting with major retailers to get them to sell Snapz after the launch at Fred Segal and envision selling these socks at places like Amazon.com, Sak’s, Barney’s, Macy’s, Kohl's, Target, Men’s Warehouse, JC Penney and specialty retailers around the world.
The more retailers we line up, the better, because my goal is that by the time I graduate high school, Snaps USA will have donated 1,000,000 pairs of socks to needy kids.
Why Snapz is on Indiegogo.
Bill and Mom recommended I put together a group of advisors to guide my business. They said I needed to find people who could pitch in with their time and talents to help me grow this. I agreed.
One of the things we discussed was how we would fund the company. My Mom and Bill paid for the start-up costs to get to this point. Bill likes his socks so much he offered to fund the whole company, but we discussed the value of earning and protecting the lessons that come with and are needed in making a company succeed. That’s when I realized I wouldn’t learn anything if he just wrote a check for $100,000. I wanted to learn what it was like to be an entrepreneur and part of that is learning how to raise funds to launch this product.
This campaign will give Snaps USA the funding required to go from samples to full scale production, including ordering materials, manufacturing, hiring salespeople, filing more patents, launching an e-commerce website, bringing Snapz to the masses and beginning to design more great products.
I picked Indiegogo because I like the concept of people pitching in to help create something in the fashion space, and with Snapz, when you pitch in, you not only help me launch the company, but you support our efforts to provide socks to disadvantaged children and musical instruments to deserving kids.
You can help me reach these goals.
We need $64,000 to ramp up production and go to market. My advisors said if we raise $100,000 or more via this campaign, they will contribute another $100,000 for new products. What a great challenge!
But right now, I need your help to raise $64,000 to get our first shipments done and start selling through Fred Segal and online. And if we hit $100,000, that's all the better!
I have a great group of advisors that I have to tell you about.
First is the most important person in my life, my Mom, Lisa Lane Dietle. She’s an amazing woman! I got my desire to help others from her. She received a service award by Dependency Court Los Angeles, CA for her public service and is always looking for ways to help others. She has worked for P&G, Jockey, and started Agent of Change where she works with companies like Hillsides, Crystals Garment, Leland Zales, Chrislie Formulations. Mom is my rock and foundation and is always encouraging me to think big.
Bill Townsend is an entrepreneur, author, and, tech and advertising veteran. He has been involved in launching or managing some of the biggest names in the Internet including Lycos, GeoCities (now Yahoo!), Deja.com (now ebay and Google), and Newegg.com. He knows a lot about attracting customers, having been involved in several successful products including P90X, Tony Horton’s Ten Minute Trainer, TurboJam, Insanity, TeamBeachbody, Jeunesse Global, Carbonixx, GoCards, and Beyond The Wall retail stores. He also has lots of experience in working in
Europe and Asia. Bill knows technology and the Internet so he’s going to be of great
help as we move into e-commerce and social media.
Shelley Sarmiento is the founder of Little White Fashion Truck which brings unique and different clothing products to consumers through her fleet of, you guessed it, little white fashion trucks which are marketed exclusively through social media. She was cofounder of the 103-store chain White House/Black Market, which was sold to the leading women’s retailer Chico’s. She also teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology and is full of great ideas!
Brian Kelner is a veteran of the fashion and accessories industry. For over 20 years he has been a sales representative for companies like Christian Dior men’s hosiery (or socks, as I call them), Isotoner gloves and slippers, and Docker/Levi small leather goods. He is president of Kelner Merchandising Network (KMN), and Solebury Software. KMN is a national third party store service company, specializing in men's and ladies accessories and furnishings, and Solebury Software is a Software as a Service (SAAS) company specializing in scheduling and reporting for Field Service Organizations. Brian knows more about the Department Store and Specialty Store channels of retail distribution than almost anybody in America so I’m really happy to have him be part of this.
Overseeing our budget---and your donation---is Katrina Yao, who is Sr. Director of Finance at the #2 pure play online retailer Newegg.com. She is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Internal Auditor and will oversee finance and auditing at Snaps USA. (by the way, Katrina has a son who also hates sorting socks.)
Can you believe a 14 year old has gotten such a great group of people together to help make this a success? You know what the secret is? I told them about the product and asked them to help. Brian said, "I can't believe I didn't think of this!" and Shelley said it was "brilliant!" I am very thankful for their help and expertise.
This is just the start.
So there you have it: the story of Snaps and how I went from 40 minutes of sock sorting to less than 5 minutes while creating a great feeling, long-lasting product that helps the environment while also helping clothe and support disadvantaged kids.
Now it is up to you. Please consider supporting my project and product. I think it’s a winner and by helping, you can be among the first to have the pleasure of wearing and washing---and not having to sort---Snapz.
You can help me promote this project, too. Will you please put a link to this campaign on your Facebook page or tweet it on Twitter. Just paste this url: http://igg.me/at/snapzsocks
Give Snaps a try. I thank you, our ecosystem thanks you, and tens of thousands of kids will thank you, too.
T H A N K Y O U ! ! !
*Terms and Conditions. If you are receiving a pair or pairs of Snapz socks through your participation in this program, you may donate or give the socks away, but you agree not to resell them without a reseller’s permit. By donating to this program you agree that you will not resell for any monetary value, any product(s) Snapz USA provides you. This must be done to avoid people putting Snapz on auction sites or other retail locations outside of the official Snapz USA retail and online sales channels, thereby damaging the brand's reputation.
**Snapz For Life Terms and Conditions. Donor will receive 2 dozen (24) socks every year for life or for as long as Snapz USA is in business. Or you can choose a one-time shipment of 200 pairs of socks in black, blue, grey or a mix of colors. It is the responsibility of the donor to ensure Snapz USA has a current shipping address for the donor.
Advisory Board: Donor will be offered a position to serve on the Snapz USA Advisory Board, pursuant to all Advisory Board guidelines, to commence March 1, 2014 and end February 28, 2017, during which time donor will be eligible for any and all benefits the Advisory Board may be entitled, including, but not limited to, travel costs associated with meetings if attending in person.
***Details of donation of percentage of profits for Platinum and Gold Founder’s Circle Members. For Platinum Founder’s Club Members, we’ll donate 3% of net profits in Snapz USA to be split evenly among all the Platinum Founder’s Circle Members’ non-profit charities of their choice, in their name, or, if none are specified, we will split the percentage amongst the five charities shown below. For Gold Founder’s Club Members, we’ll donate 1% of net profits in Snapz USA to be split among all the Gold Founder’s Circle Members’ non-profit charities of their choice, in their name, or, if none are specified, we will split the percentage amongst the five charities shown below.
Please provide your charity name and shipping address, otherwise we will split the donation evenly across seven of our favorite charities:
Watchful Shepherd (http://www.watchful.org) child protection
Andy Pilgrim Foundation (http://www.andypilgrimfoundation.org) teen driving
German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County (http://www.gsroc.org) animals
National Park Trust (http://www.parktrust.org) ecology and nature
Marine Corps' Toys For Tots (http://www.toysfortots.org) children
Mazon (http://www.mazon.org) hunger
Wounded Warrior Project (http://www.woundedwarriorproject) veterans and their families
This means Snapz USA will donate 9% of net profits to charity (this program and 5% to Amati Foundation), plus our donations of one pair of socks for every 3-pack sold, which in total will result in Snapz USA giving back approximately 25% of net profits help make America a better place. The 3% and 1% net profits donations listed above will be made annually for a period of ten years as long as the company is in business and operated by Snapz USA.