Make a bold fashion statement with Josh Turner’s colourful ‘Stand4 Socks’ and save the world for a just cause.
Launched in August 2015, Stand4 Socks is a social enterprise linking the purchase of everyday products, such as socks, with social issues and charities.
Social fashionpreneur Josh, 24, decided to swap the corporate world to run his own venture using socks as a vehicle of expression.
“It was a crazy idea – What if socks could save the world?”
“It wasn’t so much that I planned to start a social enterprise, I believe I am part of a new generation of conscious consumers who expect products to be made in a socially responsible way and have an impact on the world.
Before graduating from the University of Birmingham, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Most of my time, away from study, was spent with the university’s American football team.
The team’s coach, Wayne Hill, had a bigger impact on me as an entrepreneur than a lot of lecturers. He taught me about leadership, organisation, and vision, and this really stuck with me.
Stand4 creates unique ethical socks with each pair linked to a different social cause, giving an ordinary purchase an extraordinary purpose.
Bright socks have become a key fashion statement, a subtle way of expressing yourself and what you Stand4.
Breaking the status quo, each pair of our socks has a direct tangible impact on the world ‘one for one’.
For example, one pair plants 20 trees and another vaccinates 6 kids against measles, which won the Great British Entrepreneur Awards (Bronze) Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2015.
Our vision is to change the value of everyday purpose and create the most valuable connections between people all over the world, through socks to start with.
I remember sitting in a meeting while working at Virgin, and seeing all this crazy colourful wallpaper – Yet everyone’s socks was bland and boring.
These were exciting and interesting people yet their socks were expressing something very different. I thought, what if socks could be used as a vehicle of expression to show what they Stand4.
It was a crazy idea – what if socks could save the world?
The more I spoke about it, the more people thought I was crazy and was a joke, which in a sense was a motivation to actually go try it out.
Most people buy multiple pairs of socks a year but if they brought mine, they could vaccinate six children against measles or plant 20 trees. We are a movement of ordinary purchases having an extraordinary purpose.
The socks are all designed by me, currently, even though I didn’t go to fashion school and knew very little about fashion – I just knew what I wanted and created it.
They are made from ethical cotton using cutting-edge techniques. For example, our seamless toe closure makes the sock more durable but also comfortable for the user.
Each pair also features a social issue logo on the ankle to show what cause, of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, it is supporting.
“You need to be motivated by something bigger than just a financial return”
Corporate Social Responsibility has truly gone from a nice thing for businesses to do, to a must do.
As a young entrepreneur, I don’t want to create something that isn’t making the world a better place.
You need to be motivated by something bigger than just financial return but It all depends on what success looks like for you.
I have always been entrepreneurial ever since I can recall. This might be due to being dyslexic but I am always trying to change things, improve them or certainly do things differently.
I don’t like being told things are the way they are and accept it.
I think entrepreneurs should have a strong supportive network of mentors, advisers or just fellow entrepreneurs to speak to regularly – Even more so as a single founder.
With this crazy idea of colourful socks changing the world, from a commercial point of view, we want to expand in a big way into retail and really grow our movement to the next level.
In a few years, I would love to have our products in multiple countries and be able to see an even bigger real tangible impact we are having on the world.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting and unique path that I feel many wish they were brave enough to pursue. It certainly isn’t easy and a lot of ups and downs.
You need to be prepared and have a clear idea of what success is to you.”