54. Solesmith

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Founder: Lauren Dorling
Founded: 14/11/14
Website: www.solesmith.co.uk

Admittedly “bored” by her customer service job, Lauren Dorling began researching potential business ideas when she stumbled across a pair of ski socks which she thought were perfect for her up and coming holiday.

Wishing to have them personalised, the Birmingham University graduate was shocked when she was unable to find anyone online offering personalised socks. The now 27-year-old didn’t hang around. She handed in her notice, just days after being given the keys to her new house, and jumped in with both feet.

Inspired by her mother, who had made children’s blankets and cushions from her garage, Dorling founded Solesmith which designs, makes and personalises designer socks.

A seasonal business, the Derbyshire-based start-up focuses much of its attention on unique items for Christmas, weddings, birthdays and annual holidays like Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

All personalised socks are made to order, with the majority of Solesmith’s sales coming from one-off transactions, though plans are already in place for a subscription-based model in the coming months.

Selling via its website, on independent sites such as notonthehighstreet.com, and even in some independent stores, the brand has already expanded its offering and now sells everything from t-shirts, to pyjamas, to jewellery boxes and pencil cases.

2017 will also see the launch of the wholesale side of the business, allowing other creative firms to offer customers personalised items via Solesmith’s wholesale dropship website.

A true kitchen-table start-up that has grown to serve over 75,000 customers worldwide and 20 staff at peak gifting times, Solesmith is set to turn over a six-figure sum for 2017. It just goes to show what you can do when you pull your socks up and start your own business!

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