Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Turning an idea into a career

(Griffin Carroll/Daily Collegian)
(Griffin Carroll/Daily Collegian)

The words, “Don’t talk about it, be about it,” has been echoed by FEAT Socks founders and University of Massachusetts senior Taylor Offer and alumnus Elijah Grundel. This is the basis for their company’s success.

FEAT Socks, a limited edition sock brand owned by Offer, Grundel and UMass senior Parker Burr, started up in Amherst in 2014 and has been picking up steam ever since.

“We’ve grown drastically,” said Offer. “When I first started in October, we had our first order for 1,500 pairs of socks, now we have an order for 15,000 pairs.”

The business used to be between Grundel and Burr, who made custom team apparel.

“All the customers that we already had wanted custom socks,” said Burr. “Custom socks are a pain in the neck. You don’t make any money, and your customers are nitpicky. Throughout the last year, we got away from custom and got into stock socks.”

One day, Burr came back to their warehouse with socks from a local retail store, printed out some designs found randomly online and put them on the socks. Their current stock socks designs include Hawaiian theme, American flags, dogs and surfboards.

“They turned out really cool,” said Grundel. “We thought, maybe this is something more than making team wear. It has taken off from there. We spent the summer experimenting with different designs. We became more serious in the fall, got some better equipment, and really started pursuing it with online sales, which is a lot of what (Offer) works on.”

The online store,, has taken off due to the social media expertise of Offer. The store offers 10 percent off purchases for following the company on Instagram and Facebook, a strategy that has increased their Instagram following from 600 to over 5000 in a few months.

“Our Instagram increased because of word of mouth and promotions,” said Offer. “We post good content almost every day. We want to be that cool brand that people want to follow.”

For now, the printing of the socks falls on the trio. Inside their tiny warehouse garage are hundreds of design prints, plain white socks and a single press. The socks are put into the press, with the prints on top and the press is pushed down for 40 seconds on each side of the sock to create the finished product. Though a menial task, the trio can produce up to 100 pairs of socks per hour.

(Griffin Carroll/Daily Collegian)
(Griffin Carroll/Daily Collegian)

Their next goal, as the orders become bigger, is to outsource their production.

“With three people we can’t make 15,000 pairs of socks,” said Grundel. “Outsourcing a lot of our production to get finished products in rather than semi-finished products frees us up to do a lot of things. We can work with sales reps, build relationships with new partners, and crank out online sales.”

“I think we’ll take the distribution to third party pretty soon,” Grundel added. “Instead of managing inventory here we can do it somewhere else. We don’t even have to worry about shipping and we can focus on the brand itself.”

The biggest reason FEAT has taken off is because of the number of retailers it works with. FEAT is currently in 25 retail stores across the country, including Boston, New York and Los Angeles, and is aiming for 50 retailers by the end of the month.

Burr works with the retailers to get their socks into stores. Recently, the utilization of sales reps has been huge for the company. “We started going to some trade shows but learned quickly that trade shows aren’t the best thing for us to do right now,” said Grundel. “We don’t have any connections. It’s all about the relationships. We started working with sales reps; they love the product, and we really like them. They go to people who have been buying their product lines for years and if one of the sales reps say it’s going to be great the retailers trust that.”

While the FEAT Socks team continues to succeed, they have a message for everyone who has a business idea in mind.

“This is my third company,” said Offer. “You have to keep trying, don’t lose your motivation, keep going after it. I see people with great ideas who sit around for three months just planning and planning. Get your product out there, go do something about it, don’t just talk about it.”

“(Burr) and I started a business that didn’t work eight months ago,” said Grundel. ‘You just have to keep going. Biggest thing is to take action, instead of sitting around talking about things, just get them done. Do something.”

Griffin Carroll can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @griffcarroll.

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