By Beth Besen
Socks. We all need them, we all wear them. Without doubt, most everyone has a sock drawer. Maybe even two sock drawers. There are socks for sports, even specific socks for specific sports, and socks for everyday wear.
And yet, socks are, well, to put them in garment industry terms, “basics”. Often sold in multi-set packages and merchandised with other foundations, socks, ironically, aren’t exactly known for ‘knocking our socks off’.
That is, until a couple of local guys put the sexy in socks. Not X-rated sexy, but purpose driven, integrity-driven, win-win driven sexy. And it all started with a quote…
“Socks are the number one most requested clothing item at homeless shelters”-David and Andrew Heath read that, and it moved them to want to do something to help. They realized that buying and donating a bunch of socks might accomplish something in the short term, but would have little sustaining long term impact. So, they put their considerable backgrounds in business and finance together and came up with a bee-utiful plan.
Bombas donates a pair of socks for every pair sold Bombas comes from the Latin word for bumblebee. That bees work communally to enrich their hives made them a perfect symbol for the Heath brothers; as they put it, “when we say Bee Better, we mean it as a mantra, a way of approaching every day. It’s stitched into the inside of every pair of Bombas for a reason. It’s a reminder to push yourself harder to be better at your athletic pursuits. A reminder that these socks are engineered and designed with thought to bee better. A reminder that you helped someone in need with your purchase. And a reminder that we’re all connected and little improvements can add up to make a big difference.”
Busy bees, one and all Andrew and David (and a younger sister Emily) grew up in Armonk, where their parents always modeled the importance of taking part in and giving back to the community.
Dad Robert, who invented the Fibrar safety system that supports wood-chipped playgrounds, was President and Chairman of the Board of the Music Conservatory of Westchester. He is also involved with the Armonk Outdoor Art Show which raises money for the local library (you can read more about both the Music Conservatory and the Armonk Outdoor Art Show in our last issue: theinsidepress.com/).
Mom Linda was President of the Harrison PTA before the family moved to Armonk. After the move and without skipping a beat, she became president of the Byram Hills Scholarship Fund and also volunteered for eight years as a costumer in the Byram Hills Theatre program. Linda is a CFP and, as such, has done pro bono financial literacy work in the greater Westchester County community. She has been on the Board of the Mount Kisco Child Care Center, and also served as President for two years.
Even as a young boy, David always knew he wanted to run his own business. Later, in high school, he realized there was only one college he wanted to attend; he applied early to Babson College, was accepted and graduated in 2005.
Andrew, the more athletic of the brothers, went to Occidental University to play water polo. He graduated in 2004 with a degree in economics and spent eight years in corporate finance. Recognizing how much David loved his Babson education, Andrew decided to attend Babson for an MBA, completed in 2012.
Today, both brothers live in Manhattan but, whether for a family dinner or to escape the noise and heat of the city, find that they frequently return home to visit. They say they “carry a great sense of community from Armonk”, consider it home and would definitely think about moving back one day. They recall a shared memory of having envied kids who went to bigger schools than Armonk’s, but today realize the value of coming from a small town. In fact, David allows that he is “best friends with 12 guys who are all from Armonk and see each other weekly.”
More s-o-c-k-s moments…
An old joke comes to mind. It helps to know a bit of Spanish, but it’s pretty accessible regardless. Basically, a traveler from Spain, who forgot to pack socks, finds he needs them when he arrives in the states. He goes to the store and tells the salesman that he needs socks, “Necesito calcetines.” The salesman does not speak Spanish, but wants to help and wants to make a sale, so he points to his shirt. The visitor shakes his head no. The salesman then points to his pants. Again, the visitor shakes his head no. Looking ever more perplexed, the salesman next lifts the leg of his pants and points to his sock. The visitor claps and smiles, shakes his head yes and says, “Eso si que es!” Salesman replies, “Well if you could spell it, why didn’t you say so!?” *rimshot please*
Goofy jokes aside, most of us recognize that “eso si que es/that’s it” moment. Another word is epiphany. Andrew and David had an epiphany when they read the quote that changed their lives. Today, their company, Bombas, continues to change the lives of many others. They say they see themselves continuing to focus “on building a brand that people love to be a part of, designing products that people wear proudly and bringing awareness and help to the less fortunate.”
Beth Besen is the Executive Editor of this magazine, and a very happy and satisfied Bombas customer.