Socks: small product, big business
Did you know there was such a thing as a sock expert? Or even that there are teams of people dedicated to 🧦s? In fact, Beconnected is home to some of the world’s sharpest minds when it comes to these small but important garments. So, sit back and discover something new about socks with the firm’s dedicated specialists Maud, Stelie, Miracle, Crystal and Jean.
Sock experts. Not a specialization you hear about every day, but Beconnected – part of Erve Group – has them. Just like Maud Hofland, who knows all there is to know about these small but important garments.
Although they’re small, socks are big business. Beconnected is one of the leading production companies in this field for the European, Russian and Australian markets, and socks make up a considerable share of their total product portfolio. The firm supplies them to some of the world’s biggest retailers.
The production process of socks is complicated and requires specific expertise. Expertise that the team at Beconnected has in abundance.
Why this job will knock your socks off
Year-on-year growth for sock production inspired Beconnected to establish experts dedicated to this category. “Beconnected is the go-to partner for socks since we have a lot of socks experience and know-how. Socks are a big part of our group,” explains Maud, “and the category is continuously growing. Besides that, a lot of socks are still produced in China.”
China remains the top location for sock production as it offers the largest variety of raw materials, which the firm sources locally. It’s also a major manufacturing hub with an experienced workforce in factories that can accommodate large orders. Besides China, Beconnected also produces socks in Turkey and Vietnam and is preparing to start sock production in Ethiopia, where it sees big opportunities for growth. This all contributes to an overall capacity capable of producing vast product offerings for different purposes and markets.
There’s also a huge amount of teamwork between Beconnected’s dedicated socks team and its suppliers. “We have a lot of hands-on experience, which really makes a difference,” Maud says.
A burning question about socks
It seems like a simple (but obvious) question: just how do you end up joining a global team of sock experts? “I started as an intern at Beconnected Shanghai in 2017, during my studies,” explains Maud. “I spent six months there and had to return to graduate, but I never left Beconnected.” After half a year in Shanghai, Maud moved into a position at the firm’s printing and labelling factory in Ethiopia. “I spent six months there,” she says, “then moved back to Shanghai and started my role within the socks team of Beconnected Shanghai. To be honest, I learned most socks expertise just doing the job with my colleagues and suppliers.”
The socks team of Beconnected Shanghai has three merchandisers and two quality controllers. “Our merchandisers have more than 10 years of experience in socks,” explains Maud. “Two merchandisers working from the office in Shanghai travel to Zhuji, Socks City of China, on a regular basis. One of them, Miracle, has already been doing this for 11 years and just enjoys it more and more. He loves the dynamism of the industry so much and says he wants to work with socks for the rest of his life. Our third socks merchandiser, Crystal, works and lives in Zhuji itself, just like our quality controllers. She thrives on the variety that comes from the private label and licensing business, working with different customers and ensuring the production process always runs smoothly. This level of passion and expertise is crucial. And the flexibility to always have our own people available in factories gives us a huge advantage.”
Why choose Beconnected to supply your socks?
“Firstly, we take all your worries away!” explains Maud. “We can organize the total chain for you, from design to dropping the orders at the door of your warehouse.” If that wasn’t enough, Beconnected offers all types of socks, from basic black socks to licensed socks, sports socks, and work socks. “Quality is very important to us,” adds Maud. “We always strive to provide the best quality for the best price.” Additionally, Beconnected’s in-house quality control team and partners test the socks for strict quality requirements at all stages of production. That means customers can rely on receiving exceptional quality socks at a competitive price.
What does the future of socks look like?
Socks aren’t just for Christmas. In fact, people all over the world wear them every day. That means they have endless creative potential, says Maud. “There are different requirements for lightweight sports socks, insulated socks for hiking or durable socks for construction work,” she explains. All of these different demands mean that there are countless directions to explore in technical materials and how the products perform. “New technologies and innovations in design and production continually offer something new,” adds Maud. “Sustainability is also increasingly important, as with the apparel industry in general. We’re looking into ways to use alternative materials and make production processes more environmentally friendly. There’s a lot to look forward to!”
With Beconnected, innovation doesn’t end with the product itself. “We also put a lot of effort into making our socks more than just a practical item to wear,” explains Maud. “We explore fun ways of packing our socks and look for innovative designs and ways to produce our socks using fashion trends like neon colors.
The fun factor is always important, so we make sure we put a lot of time and investment into it.”
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