Donated socks are making waves in helping the Kettle Moraine community, and it all started with a delegate from the Kettle Moraine Delegation. Tess Schultz Vermillion, co-founder of MKE SOCKS, started the small business based in Milwaukee. The business donates a pair of socks to a local homeless shelter for every pair that is purchased. Her career in being an entrepreneur began in September of 2017, and her team has plans on growing in the future.

When tasked with the project of creating a business that would help solve a problem within the community, Tess Schultz Vermillion and her fellow classmates, Olivia Partenfelder, Sara Carter, and Chamya Smith, turned to something everyone enjoys…fun socks! We found out that socks are one of the most needed but least donated items in homeless shelters, and we wanted to change that!” said Delegate Schultz Vermillion.

Their mission is to help the homeless and have the community be a part of it. With that in mind, they began to put their business plan into action as they prepared for an important presentation. We had 8 weeks to create and figure out everything to build a business. At the end we had to present our business idea to different entrepreneurs, marketers, and ECT during the Milwaukee Startup Week in November,” said Delegate Schultz Vermillion. Their presentation turned out to be a success because it introduced them to their mentor, Neil Giugno. He asked them if they were interested in pursuing their business ideas, and they happily consented.  “He [Giugno] has helped guide us through the ups and downs of making a business and taught us about loans, banking, and all the things that I, a sophomore in high school, wouldn’t typically think about on the daily,” Schultz Vermillion said.

So far, their business has been successful, having sold out after their first holiday winter fair. They met many people who showed interest in MKE SOCKS and wanted to do what they could to help the community. In the future, they plan on implementing statewide shipping and selling their socks at different fairs and local stores. They also look forward to having locally designed socks put up for sale.

Interested in getting a new pair of socks and making a difference? Check out MKE SOCKS on Instagram and Facebook @mkesocks, and listen to the podcast they did with Michael Black on Soundcloud.

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