Sick and tired of cold feet and socks that just won’t cut it?
It’s time to ditch those worn, wool, feet gloves and upgrade!
To find out more behind how Point6 got it’s start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Point6 cofounder, Peter Duke
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Point6 co-founder and CEO Peter Duke. Point6, based in Steamboat Spring, Colorado is a sock company created to take sock production to next level by improving its quality, comfort, and longevity while making huge strides in reducing the environmental impact of production. Point6 socks uses merino wool and is spun using a compact spinning method, which creates as tighter, stronger sock.
Peter Duke, and his wife Patty, are no strangers to the outdoor industry and especially sock production, having cofounded Smartwool in 1994. After stepping away from the company they are back with a brand new company that is deeply rooted in its co-founders experience, passion, and motivation to create a perfect product.
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
- Find the perfect sock for your favorite activity
More about the technology behind Point6 Socks
More about merino wool and why it is a superior option
Point6’s warranty, return, and recycling policy fit for a king
The team that drives Point6
Stay up to date with all things Point6 by checking out their blog
Point6 size chart
- Point6 Tactical
What is Point6 and how does it stand apart from other sock companies on the market?
When I got back into the business I knew that we had to out perform, out produce our previous company of Smartwool…When we came back in we had to do a lot of research...”
Everything that we do, is taking the development of the sock as simple as the sock may be but, to take it to such a high level that when people put our socks on their feet they can absolutely recognize that it’s superior
“When we spin our yarns we use a compact spinning method, which basically keeps the loose ends brought to the center of the yarn so that there’s no fuzzies or piling of the sock, that of course is a more costly product…”
How did you get into the outdoor industry?
“I’ve always been in the outdoor industry. Before I started Smartwool I was involved in skiing; I taught skiing, I was on a national team in skiing, I ran different ski schools in the country…”
“So my wife and I embarked on starting a ski hat company and started to learn about that side of the business and started to learn about wool. About two years into that project we were introduced to merino wool and how merino wool can be washed and dried…”
What exactly is merino wool and how is it different?
“Merino is actually a particular breed of sheep that produces a long, silky, straight, soft, fiber.”
“Even with that, once you get into that aspect it then becomes an artform. There are so many different aspects of producing a great quality wool...it’s all how you spec the wool out from there, how you get rid of the itchy wool, keep the good stuff, it goes on and on and on…”
“I can tell you that all of our competitors don’t know how to do this because my life is based around taking something and developing something and making it the best that we can make it...”
How did you develop your product?
“When we introduced the wool to the outdoor market the outdoor market was very much in favor of synthetics… our first job was to convince people that wool was a superior product…”
We realized that the consumer wanted to start getting into colors, designs, and stuff like that. That’s when I got out of the Smartwool deal but, I knew then that, that was going to create a problem with wearing out…”
“Now with point6 we have a design team that is actually led by my wife and we have all sorts of colors and designs...we just learned how to overcome the durability issues…”
What brought you to Colorado?
Peter takes us through his journey of how after growing up in the Catskill Mountains he was pulled towards Vermont then to Tahoe and finally ending in Steamboat, Colorado, clawing his way up the Ski industry ladder.
Who has helped mentor your throughout your career?
“In the business world I can say that I’ve never had a mentor. I can say that in my directing of ski schools, I learned the business aspect of what you have to do. I can say that I’ve had a lot of people I’ve come into contact with and learned from them but, I never really had someone watching over me…”
What is Point6’s commitment to sustainability?
“Our commitment is to be as clean as we possibly can to the planet…to make wool machine wash and machine dried there is a process called super washing. Super washing uses chlorine… We’re going to be introducing a chlorine free process starting in january where it uses plasma. It’s one of those things
“We are very much involved in conservancy end of things where we give product, etc”
What kind of culture exists in your organization?
“Well, anyone who has a dog will bring them to work, mine included. It’s a pretty relaxed environment, we’re all outdoor people…”
There are days specifically during the winter when we have a powder day where no one’s in the office because they’re out skiing...Those are things we allow, we’re very open to people taking days off so that they can accommodate their other interests in life…”
What would you say has been one of the hardest parts about starting Point6?
With Smartwool, the challenges I had initially in the early stages was funding…”
“My challenge now in Point6 is that I created an eight hundred pound gorilla which is Smartwool and the challenge is trying to get market share back from them…”
What are you guys doing to recapture that?
“One of the things is to create a superior product, which we have. Our next step is to differentiate from the pack of other merino wool sock companies out there where we’re introducing new technology…”
“This technology is called ‘37.5’ … and this technology is actually ground up lava rock and it becomes a powder form.”
“We spent 2 and a half years in developing a way to take this powder form and have it embedded in the nylon…What we have been able to do is take away the conventional nylon that everyone has been doing...Not only does the wool absorb and evaporate the moisture, now the nylon aids in that…”
What would you say is some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
“I have a naivety to people, I trust people, I believe in people, I take them for their word. I think that that has put me at a disadvantage…”
What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business in the outdoor industry?
Look at your competition. See if it’s an opportunity where you’re introducing something new and innovative. I’d say that that’s probably your best entry into the outdoor world…”
What is your role in Point6 vs Smartwool?
At Smartwool, when I started it, I put on every hat during the day...we did everything…”
“Point6 we were fortunate enough to bring some people in and help fill those gaps because it does take a lot of time and wear on your body to do those things…”
What is it like to work with your wife, Patty?
“Husband and wife teams are not easy...we’ve had our challenges and especially in bringing up our children to be able to turn off business and take care of our kids...For my wife and I it’s been a wonderful journey for both of us…”
Where do you see Point6 headed into the future?
“I believe we will become a strong competitor in the outdoor industry. I think that as we develop our line will become better known to the consumers...I want to make sure our customers, our consumer base; when they make a purchase they have the good feeling that they’re buying a value, one that’s going to last, they can trust, and depend upon. And that’s who we are…”
Do you have plans to expand passed socks into other areas?
“Yes. In fact we’re now developing gloves and we should have it to market, not this winter but, the following winter…”
What is the best part about running Point6?
- “The fun of being around people. I just enjoy being able to rub elbows with people I know in the outdoor business. I just enjoy watching other people have success as well… this is kind of like a platform to be able to go to trade shows and be around my old constituants, my friends, my colleagues… It’s just an avenue not to grow old…”