Bombas Socks Has Buy-a-Pair, Donate-a-Pair Retail Model

retail business model

Buy-one-get-one free is considered one of the greatest retail concepts of all time.

In today’s more socially conscious environment, an interesting twist was added by a company that crowdfunded its product focus: socks.

Bombas, which only makes socks, follows a buy-one-pair-donate-one-pair retail business model. The donation component fueled the creation of the company, rather than the other way around.

As Bombas notes on its website:

“Socks are the number one most requested clothing item at homeless shelters. This quote inspired us to create Bombas, an athletic-leisure sock company with a mission to help those in need.”

To ensure its socks would sell, the company sought to produce better versions of the commodity.

For example, it uses Peruvian Pima Cotton, among the most comfortable sock fabrics available, which warms feet in winter and cools them in summer.

Bombas’s socks also feature natural moisture absorption, reinforced bottoms and Stay-up Technology, an elasticity designed to keep the socks up the leg (all socks are calf-high).

Socks meant for donation include special additional enhancements, such as darker colors to render wear and tear less visible. Their anti-microbial treatment is meant to prevent fungus growth and lessen the need for frequent washing. Reinforced seams are said to add greater durability.

Bombas says it has donated more than 350,000 socks since its October 2013 launch. Also, its donation partnership network has grown on a daily basis.

The company started out working with Hannah’s Socks, a group that solely focuses on distributing socks to the needy in America.

Bombas used an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to successfully raise $142,488 the month the company launched, Reuters reports.

The initial goal was for $15,000. However, due to the swift support, the company extended its goal four times before reaching the grand total.

On offer to donators were a variety of product packages at a multitude of prices, starting at $24 for the Starter Pack: three pairs of Bombas socks (including matching donation of three pairs of Bombas socks).

The company was able to sell one of its high-end packages, The Nobel Bombas Prize, for $350,000. The company says:

“At this remarkable pledge level, we will be able to help Hannah’s Socks reach their 2013 goal in one fell swoop by delivering them with over 225,000 pairs of Bombas.”

Bombas co-founder Randy Goldberg attributed the company’s success to its approach to the campaign. It was deemed as the beginning of a business, rather than a one-off crusade.

Also, customer service played a huge role. He says:

“We responded to every comment and inquiry on Indiegogo, and we created new ways to keep our supporters and early evangelists involved on a week by week basis. We waited to launch the campaign until we felt we had our voice and story fine tuned. And then we kept things interesting by adding new goals, images, art, and mini campaigns along the way. For us, the key was keeping the energy up, attention to detail, and the support we got from our friends, Indiegogo, and our early supporters.”

Ed Lieber Ed Lieber is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. He is a journalist and marketing copywriter with 20 years of experience writing, editing and managing for print and digital vehicles.