Farm To Feet
Top Notch Comfort, Functionality, Aesthetic
Made using US Materials and US Manufacturing. Made by US Workers.
To find out more behind how Farm To Feet got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Farm To Feet Marketing VP, David Petri
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Farm To Feet Marketing VP David Petri. Farm To Feet was launched by Nester Hosiery in 2013 with one mission; to delivery the highest quality outdoor performance socks using 100% American materials and manufacturing. One of the more remarkable aspects of Farm To Feet is the existing infrastructure that made it possible for them to produce their own products and, more importantly, reduce emissions produced from shipping materials and products back and forth. To add on to that, Farm To Feet’s available infrastructure has set them up to produce an incredible progressive functional design for added comfort while being wrapped in a gorgeous aesthetic. One thing is for certain, Farm To Feet is primed for big things.
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out Farm To Feet’s website
- Grab a pair of Farm To Feet socks of your own
- More about Farm To Feet and
- Follow Farm To Feet on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- More about Bluesign System Certification
What is Farm To Feet and how did it form?
“I think it’s easier to start with our parent company Nester Hosiery. Netser Hosiery is a sock manufacturer located in Mt Airy, North Carolina. We’re now in our 25th year of operation. We were started by a gentleman named Marty Nester who basically grew up in making socks, in the early 90’s he decided he wanted to start his own sock making company… He wanted it to be a focus on outdoor performance socks and primarily using wool as the body yarn. So, that really set us up to be a premier manufacturer in the outdoor space…”
How did you guys kick things off with the brand after your launch in 2013?
“We felt it was very important as we were going to come into the market we needed to make sure we were establishing really good relationships with outdoor specialty retailers… We soft launched at Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City in January of 2013. It was more conceptual, we didn’t even have any branding done yet, we just wanted to test the idea...The media loved it and several of our retailers thought the idea was brilliant as well, so we went further…”
What has the growth been like since you began?
“Since then it’s been exponential we’ve seen double digit percentage growth year after year… We ended 2017 at about a little over 1,000 retail doors in the US and Canada as well as several online channels…We’re poised to see similar double digit growth this year...”
Is there anything particular you would attribute that growth to?
“There is definitely a desire amongst consumers for a couple things. One is you’re seeing more and more consumers wanting to know where their products are made, how they're made, what’s in their products. Farm To Feet does a very good job of articulating that story...The other part is there is a tendency for people to want to buy things that were made in the country and you’re seeing a lot of on shoring of apparel…I think that appeals to a lot of people”
What is your commitment to sustainability?
“At Nester Hosiery sustainability is part of our DNA and how we operate our manufacturing business… One of the things that we’re proud of today is we’re a Bluesign Systems partner...Bluesign is a certification process that certifies a supply chain and it’s primarily used in apparel and textiles…”
What does a normal day look like at Farm To Feet?
“First and foremost we are Nester Hosiery. If you want to look at it from a big picture standpoint we have three businesses that we run. We run our manufacturing business where we make socks for other companies. We’re a licensing business where we license brand names and we manufacture and sell socks under those brands names and, then we are also Farm To Feet... “
What has been one of the hardest parts about getting Farm To Feet off the ground?
“I think the biggest challenge we had was just getting people to be willing to take a chance and put us on the pay. I think the end result is when they do that and they see their customers respond to this new product… you end up having repeat customers coming back to buy more…”
Do you have any fears in regards to Farm To Feet?
“I think any businessman is going to tell you that they have fears. Things can change. I mentioned we had retailers in Canada and, not to bring politics into this but with recent current events we are taking a close look with what’s happening with trade as it’s being managed by our country with other countries…”
What would you say are some of the biggest mistakes that you’ve gone through?
“The mistakes that we’ve made I haven’t really dwelled on them. One of the mistakes we made early on when we launched and we started to have national press, not having the ability to buy socks online. Although there’s always going to be a channel conflict, in today's day in age you have to have an omni channel presence to be able to reach the entire marketplace…”
What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business in the outdoor space?
“I think the best advice I could give anyone is to make sure you have a solid plan in place. If you don’t have something written down, something you can point to as your North Star...If you try to go into anything without something you can point to and say this is what you’re trying to accomplish, you’re going to be all over the place…”
Where do you see Farm To Feet headed into the future?
“We just went through a brand refresh and we just reinitiated our new mission statement. Our new mission statement is ‘Celebrating the manufacturing tradition. Farm To Feet makes the world's best socks to follow their own trail. With that mission comes a vision that we are committed to make the world's best American made socks, we’re committed to improving and making the outdoor recreation experience better for all, and to advocate the protection of wild places and outdoor spaces. Our hope is to continue to grow our brand and product but, also become a force for change to make sure our public lands are protected…”
How did you come to get involved with Farm To Feet?
“When I started my career my undergraduate degree was in aerospace engineer with a vision of becoming an astronaut. I joined the navy and served in the navy on active duty for 11 years as a nuclear engineer on two different aircraft carriers...I eventually made my way to North Carolina with my family. When we moved here I decided to go back to school to get my MBA and focus on marketing…”
What is the best part about helping to start Farm To Feet?
“Growing up my dad was a blue collar worker, he was a pipefitter, always talked about buying made in America… He passed away a couple of years ago but, I was able to tell him when we were launching Farm To Feet about what we were doing and seeing the sense of pride in his eyes that I was working for a company that was supporting American jobs. I think that point was probably the most rewarding for me…”
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