As an overweight teenager living in Weston about ten years ago, Mark Pfefer hated going to the mall. He didn't care about what he wore, never wanted to spend more than a minute in a clothing store, and he definitely didn’t want to try on clothes. The only exception: socks. A sock "had a universal size and you didn’t have to worry about it,” Pfefer explained. “It was an easy purchase, it was affordable, and I didn’t have to try it on. It was my easy way out of shopping.”
Fast-forward to 2014; a slimmer
“We saw that the [sock] market was booming, and no one really had a grasp on the market in the subscription world. More days than not, people are wearing socks,”
Combining his passion for socks from his high school days with the niche category that wasn’t fully tapped into yet,
Zing Sock Club currently offers casual dress socks, many with funky, colorful designs, all under the Zing brand. The designs get implemented into their custom-blended sock made of combed cotton, polyester, spandex, and a unique added material of rubber.
The first step is choosing how many socks you want (typically one or two, but some ask for up to ten) and how you want to pay (in-full or monthly). Discounts are based on how many pairs the member gets and how frequently he's paying for the socks. The average monthly subscription can range from $6.50 to $16. The member controls commitment by being able to stop whenever he wants. Subscriptions can be a one-time purchase or last three to 12 months. Next, members fill out a profile, a multiple-choice questionnaire with questions ranging from “Do you like to dine in or dine out?” to ones more particular to fashion, like, “How often do you wear a blazer?” The Zing system then puts your answers into an algorithm to choose the perfect socks for you for the lifetime of your subscription.
“This isn’t a shopping experience. We wanted there to be a certain surprise factor,” Pfefer said. “We’ll throw in bonus items and pairs. Each package has a card with the sock you’re getting explaining why it was made the way it is, the name of the
For Pfefer, the experience would be nothing without the backbone of the design team. His relationship with Marino, from his full-time job working at Neostar, ties him to the Marino Campus, a post-secondary educational opportunity for young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.
The latest Zing collection, with pairs ranging from $6 to $9, will be released in early October — just in time for the holiday season. The new designs will have an entirely different story that has nothing to do with the previous line. Each sock tells a unique story inspired by the students of the Marino Campus. Collaboratively, the students assemble a design and, as a group, piece together a storyboard from why the socks look the way they do to how they got their name. From there, the students will create the curated monthly messaging. For July, the message was, “May these socks be the fireworks that guide you to comfort! Happy 4th of July.”
“We’re really looking forward to these new designs. It’s nothing like you see in stores or online. The products are all inspired by the students, from the verbiage of the cards to the designs,”
Zing Sock Club's website is zingsockclub.com.
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