Almost three years ago, my boyfriend and I decided to start our own company. The odd socks idea first started when Sam, would constantly unfold the socks I spent a few hours pairing every Sunday as he thought that matching socks looked weird. He rarely ever wears the same pair, in fact our family and friends know something is definitely wrong with Sam if he is not wearing mismtached socks. He states that “life is too short to wear matching socks”, the typical cliché phrase that everyone seems to enjoy. After a few years of coming up with unique business ideas and years of me shouting at him for unfolding the socks, Sam suggested for us to come up with BSily.
Yes we know Sily is spelt with a double “L” but Sily really stands for Sam & Lily - get it?
I was in my second year of a Business Management degree at the University of Birmingham, England while Sam was creating a new website for his family business in the Algarve, Portugal but somehow life got in the way and we lost the motivation to go ahead. Two years later and the odd socks idea was still hovering over us and we suddenly questioned ourselves, “Why haven’t we gone for it yet?”. Within 3 months, while I was in the last stretch of my degree and just before summer arrived (the craziest time of the year in Portugal) we set up BSily Socks. Not going to lie, maintaining a long distance relationship and managing time to focus on the business was not easy, but that is a whole different blog post.
We first started with designing the logo just to get ourselves motivated again. We reached out to a few designers online (you would be amazed with the amount of resources available at your fingertips!) and a few options were sent to us. This took a while as we wanted a logo that would be unisex, simple and fun - I guess that is what we would like to think of our logo now. Sam came to visit me for a week and within a few days we gathered some odd sock design ideas and contacted some manufacturers based in Portugal. This was always something that we found crucial, not only was it beneficial for us but we also wanted to support our local economy. This was the exciting part, buying a notebook where we could jot down all of our marketing ideas, visiting the factory, deciding on the designs, packaging - the list is endless! However, the budget was limited so we really had to restrain ourselves.
(thank god we got a designer!)
“How did you get the money?”
We put aside enough money where we thought if anything unexpected happened, we would still be okay. However, we quickly realised that in order to do it well, that was not enough. Luckily, a private investor believed in us and most importantly, believed in our idea and was willing to go on board and join our venture. We could not be thankful enough for this opportunity.
We followed by asking the designer to proceed with all the requested designs, we sent it to the manufacturer and waited for some samples, this seemed like years! Trust! We were particularly anxious/excited/stressed to get the full batch of odd socks as soon as possible as I was only home for a month before I had to go back for finals and of course, wanted to be part of everything. Meanwhile, we got the primary and secondary packaging ready, we contacted a few photographers in the area, we got our family friends to be models and as soon as we received the first batch it all became real. Our spare room was definitely no longer the “Make-up room”, we had 36 plastic containers holding over 5400 odd socks. It was scary to think of all the different possible scenarios, but we believed we were ready for it. We were fed up of listening to all the inspiring stories and thinking, “that could be us”. We wanted to make our dream a reality and here we are.
Why build someone else’s empire when you can build your own?
As always, stay silly :)
Sam & Lily