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As a regular exhibitor at our Green Festivals for the last five years and counting, RocknSocks owner Misty Reilly has already met hundreds, if not thousands, of Green Americans. We wanted to give the rest of you a chance to meet her too, so we asked her to tell us more about what inspired her to start RocknSocks, and what's coming next for her business (hint: organics!)...
Green America: What does your business do and what are your most popular products?
Misty Reilly: RocknSocks offers colorful and funky socks made in America with recycled yarns. Designed in California and knitted in North Carolina, RocknSocks is proud to work with domestic knitting mills and use regenerated cotton and wool which comes from pre-consumer textile waste. While we make socks for both women and men, we are especially known for our ladies' over-the-knee styles and our funky knee-high pattern socks. We have been designing socks since 2007, the same year we joined Green America.
What makes RocknSocks green?
Misty: Inspired by the ethics of the Green Festival and the businesses featured at the annual November event in San Francisco, we started RocknSocks with all the basic principals and tenets of a “green” business. We sourced a pre-consumer recycled yarn to knit our socks. We work with local American mills to knit our designs. We use recycled materials for packaging, marketing, and shipping our product. We work with other Green America businesses to fulfill our vendor needs. From printers, to web hosts, to credit-card processing and banking, we choose to align our business practices with others who hold sustainability and conservation with the same respect we do.
Wall of RocknSocks at the Green Festival.
What were you doing before you started your green business?
Misty: I worked as graphic designer in the San Francisco Bay Area before starting RocknSocks. Having attended the first few years of the Green Festivals, I was being called to start my own green business. The concept of sustainability, not only for the Earth, but for my own desired lifestyle, led me to develop RocknSocks. Being an avid music lover and attending lots of West Coast music festivals, I wanted to continue to be a part of that community. Seeing independent women design and sell their original designs at these events, inspired me to do the same. I saw that socks and other accessories was a void that needed filling. So I decided to bring funky and fashionable eco-friendly socks to rock-n-roll music festivals. That is were the name RocknSocks came from and a business was born.
What have been the biggest challenges to social and environmental responsibility?
Misty: The biggest challenges are cost and sourcing. It costs more to work with
recycled yarns made in the USA. It can be done cheaper in other countries, but we stay true to made-in-the-USA values, our growing to the size to utilize several mills has served to help control manufacturing costs. With sourcing, initially it was difficult to find a mill that would work with small sock orders in recycled yarns, so a great deal of persistence and research was required.
What has been your proudest moment as a green business owner?
Misty: One of our proudest moments came when we were approved in a number of Whole Foods Market regions. We also love it when direct retail events bring us into direct contact with loyal customers who extoll the positive virtues of our socks. All of the feedback is positive!
What advice would you give to other green entrepreneurs just starting out?
Misty: Do your research. Ensure the materials you use can be certified or guaranteed to be what they are supposed to be order after order, year after year.
What's the next green step you're working on right now?
Misty: We are working to bring US grown organic cotton to our product line by 2014. This will be a very exciting new line!
What green product (besides your own!) can you not live without?
Misty: Health Force Nutritionals. Sustainability also means sustaining your own personal health and wellness. We are huge fans of the products made by this company. We use their powdered bulk superfoods daily.