This month we chat to James and Lianne, the husband-and-wife team behind Monkey Sox, a not-for-profit Teddington-based business specialising in socks. The company donates 50% of profits to three multiple sclerosis (MS) charities. The socks are always odd but co-ordinated, representing how the body acts and feels different left to right when living with MS.
When, and why, did you start your business?
We set up in October 2018, two years after James was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. We always wanted to run a business together, so this gave us a special reason.
What challenges did you face when setting up?
Setting up a new company whilst juggling our day jobs has been challenging – James is a doctor I’m a designer. It’s hard to focus and prioritise as we have many aspirations for the brand.
What do you love most about running your own business?
We have loved meeting people and seeing a community unfold; there are customers we now call friends who have given so generously of their time to help us too.
What valuable lessons have you learned?
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth, you never know what opportunity is round the corner.
Is there anything you would do differently if starting out again?
Of course there are things we could have done differently but we have genuinely enjoyed learning from our mistakes and are proud of where we’ve got to.
What’s your most popular service or product?
Our mis-matched sports socks, always the brighter the better!
What advice would you share with other small businesses or those thinking of starting out?
Pace yourself, you can’t do everything at once but it will come. Plus don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What are your plans/hopes for the future of the business?
We aspire to being a household name to open more conversations about MS and ultimately raise more money for our charities. We have donated £17k to date and are aiming high!
Name some other local independent businesses you love to support.
All the fantastic local brands at the Teddington Traders Market plus Shelley at Heirloom – she has supported us from the start with her advice and a fantastic display of Monkey Sox.
What do you love about our local area?
Being outdoors! We love spotting Monkey Sox on joggers and cyclists in Bushy Park and the towpath and are so happy about the return of Parkrun!
And finally, tell us a little-known fact about yourself
We’re childhood sweethearts! James proposed to me at the finish line of the London marathon and we held our wedding back at school where we met!
The Boathouse Design Studio
27 Ferry Road, Teddington, TW11 9NN
Tel: 07591341343 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: monkeysox.org
Compiled by The Word Sanctum,
Copywriters for small businesses.