Socks are essentials that are often taken for granted – but take a moment to imagine walking a mile in a homeless person’s shoes and you’ll view them in a different light.
That’s what Ed Vickers realised while he was volunteering at a homeless shelter in Exeter as he completed a bioscience degree at the city’s university in 2012.
Fast forward six years and he is the founder of Jollie’s Socks – a social enterprise with a simple ethos. For every pair of their colourfully patterned and ethically manufactured unisex socks sold they send a pair to a homeless shelter near you.
Jollie’s work with 26 shelters from all around the country from Aberdeen to Winchester so you can be sure that when you receive your recyclable tin complete with a pair of hardy hiking socks, so will someone who desperately needs them.
If you pay for the magazine you should always take it. Vendors are working for a hand up, not a handout.
“I noted that socks were the most needed product and the idea stemmed from there really,” said Ed, whose products have become a Big Issue Shop favourite.
“I wanted to see if it would work as a social business. I wanted to take something that the consumer loves in socks and use it to start a conversation about homelessness.
“We’re making a move to go online with a select few retail partners. We have always had such a big love of The Big Issue. I have always bought the magazine and it’s amazing to be able to partner up with them and partner with that brand because to us it’s perfection.”
Now 26, Ed is sharing the ‘wear a pair, share a pair’ but the success of the growing social enterprise has not distracted the young social entrepreneur from the core mission he set out to complete six years ago.
He added: “It’s amazing to see people benefit from the socks. The main thing is we can take time to explain to people what our mission is and it’s great to see people enjoy Jollie’s socks in homeless shelters.”
See the Jollie’s Socks collection in The Big Issue Shop here.