Today I am joined by Todd Stephenson, a trending entrepreneur, and the co-founder of PupSocks, an Atlanta-based company that creates customized socks featuring the faces of customers’ pets.
Todd Stephenson is an experienced entrepreneur with a drive and ambition that is unmatched to others his age. Originally from Naples FL, Todd went to the University of Central Florida, graduating with a degree in Marketing in 2016.
Todd has been a self-proclaimed hustler from an early age, launching a mobile computer repair business at the age of 16. At 17, he started a backpack company called KIDDS, which donated its proceeds to kids in need. During its first holiday season as a business, KIDDS was able to purchase $20,000 of gifts for underprivileged kids on the south side of Chicago. In college, Todd started a chain of bakeries around various college campuses, drawing in broke college students with extended hours until 3 AM and free delivery.
Currently, Todd is the owner of PupSocks, a custom-printed sock company where customers can upload a photo of their furry friend onto an awesome pair of socks. PupSocks has now also expanded into other products such as blankets and ties. Todd’s company PupSocks has been featured on Good Morning America and The Today Show in addition to being the subject of a case study by Facebook. PupSocks is currently one of the largest custom sock companies and is continuously expanding.
Todd believes that the formula to starting your own business is simple: never give up, work as hard as you possibly can, and be open-minded.
With this, I got straight to asking Todd some questions about how he optimised his business idea and taking it to the next level of success. Here is what he had to say:
● How did the idea for your business come about?
Me and my business partner at the time owned a chain of bakeries around Florida. We were so fascinated by ecommerce and how you were able to target a certain area without having a brick and mortar store there. We started to launch countless E-commerce stores to see what could get some traction, anything from 6 foot stuffed teddy bears to camping gear. Eventually we realized that the custom product industry was the next big market to explode. We launched a bunch of different custom products & socks were the ones that really caught traction right away.
● What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I always understood the value of freedom and the value of controlling your own life. Success isn’t about money, but about freedom. By running my own company, I am not handcuffed to a corporate structure like a typical 9-5 job has.
● How did you come up with the name for your company?
We wanted to create a simple catchy name. At the time, we were focusing on getting socks with dogs on them - The word Pup is very catchy & Socks were the only product we were selling at the time. Combine those two and you get our name, PupSocks.
● How did you raise funding for your venture?
We didn't raise any funding. We have bootstrapped it since day one and haven't taken a single penny of funding. In today’s world, in ecommerce, you’re able to launch businesses with little capital. We made the website ourselves, created the ads ourselves, bought some entry level equipment and just ran with it. The company was an instant hit which gave us the capital to rapidly grow.
● How do you build a successful customer base?
We created a successful customer base by knowing who our customers were. Too many companies out there don’t know who their customers are. By looking at the data you can start to paint the picture of who your customers are. Once you do that, you can build out an experiencs to satisfy those customers & target those customers via ads to expand your base.
Follow Todd Stephenson
on Instagram @Sockpapi
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.
Check out our Festive offers upto Rs.1000/- off website prices on subscriptions + Gift card worth Rs 500/- from Eatbetterco.com. Click here to know more.