Wild Feet: Students help those in need through sale of fun socks
By Rae Jefferson
There is a roaring in the jungle, but not because of lions – it is because of a few Baylor students and their snazzy socks.
Mustang, Okla., sophomore Micaela Fox started an online business called Jungle Socks this past year. Fox leads the business with the help of Panama City, Fla., junior Dannielle Perez, and Kansas City, Kan., junior Jack Steadman. Perez is the public relations officer, and Steadman is the chief financial officer.
The company sells colorful, patterned socks at www.junglesocks.com. Jungle Socks is making a name for itself because of its one for one concept, which gives a pair of socks to someone in need each time a pair is purchased from the website, Fox said. Sock recipients are from places like Nicaragua, Africa, India, the Himalayas and the U.S., according to the company’s website.
“I tried to think of something practical, but then I was like, I want to actually do something – let’s give a pair for every pair we buy,” Fox said. “We want to see joy spread throughout the whole entire world with these things.”
China Spring sophomore Erin Copeland said she bought a pair during summer break.
“I ordered them online this summer because I saw that they were having a sale through their Facebook page,” she said.
Copeland said she could not be happier with the product.
“I absolutely love them,” she said. “They’re great for any fun occasion or simply to wear with shorts and a T-shirt.”
Fox said even more important than giving away socks is building relationships with those who are receiving them.
“We don’t just give them socks,” she said. “We actually sit down and get to know them on a friend level. We listen to them and tell them, ‘You are significant; you are worthy and your voice is worthy to be heard.’”
Customers have the ability to be part of something more than just purchasing socks through a sister project called the Wooden Floor, Fox said.
The Wooden Floor allows customers to read the stories of people who benefit from sock donations. Fox said the name originates from the idea of putting on a pair of socks and giddily running and sliding across a wooden floor.
“We’re envisioning an avenue for people to come and get filled with joy, not through the material thing of socks, but through the access of their voice being heard,” Fox said. “We want them to know that there is joy out there. There is hope, there is goodness, there is life, there is a reason to slide across a wooden floor.”
This past summer, Fox traveled to Gulu, Uganda, with Antioch Ministries International on a church mission trip and gave a pair of socks to a man named Vincent after spending three weeks with him.
Fox then asked Vincent to record his life story, including hardships and testimony of God’s goodness. Fox said she knew Vincent had wisdom to share with those who wanted to visit the Wooden Floor.
“He said, ‘If I can let my joy for the Lord and the joy that has happened in my life, despite pain, be heard, then yes, I’ll tell you my story,’” she said.
Fox said she desires to make others’ stories known because of her love for Jesus.
“What he is to me inspires me to love and care for others as much as I possibly can because I know that I am loved and cared for by such an amazing God,” Fox said. “He is such a great storyteller and is incredible at being personal and intimate, so that inspires me to tell stories. Stories are the heartbeat of the world.”
As a customer, Copeland said she thinks socks are a great way to connect with and impact people, especially children, from around the world.
“When you think about it, socks aren’t the first necessity for anyone but they bring joy and warmth to kids,” Copeland said. “Especially kids who have never owned a pair of socks.”
Bringing revival to the business world is at the heart of Jungle Socks, Perez said.
“There is awareness of this, but we want to transition this to a movement within the business sector,” Perez said. “This is going to be a movement.”
Perez said changing the business world goes beyond a personal conviction and is something God has called them to do.
“This is something that the Lord has promised us,” Perez said. “He said, ‘You have favor in this area, and you have my heart behind this, and my heart breaks for the business world because they idolize something that’s not me.’”
A business student, Fox said Jungle Socks was the result of an entrepreneurship class project. When the professor gave students a prompt to develop a business idea to fulfill an on-campus need, Fox said she desired to do something that met needs while making a difference.
“I wanted to think of a blue ocean strategy, which is a never been done before kind of thing,” Fox said.
While other students were dreaming up on-campus smoothie shops, Fox said she was remembering a time when she noticed students’ propensities for outrageous socks.
“I was walking down Fountain Mall and was seeing people’s socks,” she said. “I was just thinking, ‘Gosh – those socks are so cool.’ It’s something super simple.”
Fox said she hopes to see Jungle Socks expand to include in-house manufacturing, fair-trade production and other products, such as stickers, hats and T-shirts.
“We’re envisioning big things,” Fox said. “What that looks like is something we’re still praying about, but all those things are definitely things we would like to see in the future.”