Revisiting a Calgary sock company inadvertently promoted by Donald Trump one year later
CALGARY -- On November 26, 2019, President Trump was making a speech at a rally in Boca Raton, Fla. His attempt to say “the U.S. set another stock market record,” accidentally came out as “we just set another sock rocket.”
Social media jumped on the mistake and #sockrocket began to trend on Twitter.
Tommy Zizian is the owner of Sock Rocket, an Calgary-based retailer that sells socks with unique designs online. After the presidential gaffe, sales jumped from a half dozen a day to about 100 in 48 hours. It was advertising the small company couldn’t dream of.
“It registered huge on our end,” said Zizian. “And it also registered very well in our city as well.”
Sales spread into the U.S. in December 2019.
“January and February it was sort of just recovering from everything that happened,” said Zizian. “Coming down a little bit and returning to reality and trying to figure out how can we change our business plan, how can we use this (Trump comment) and morph our business into something greater.”
But in February, the company started having supply chain issues and, in March, COVID-19 hit.
Zizian says it's been challenging for him and every small business owner ever since.
“We usually are doing a bunch of Christmas markets at this time (but we're) not doing any of that,” said Zizian. “We’re in a lot of stores that are operating at 25 per cent capacity now or have closed down so that whole aspect of the business is changing.”
But on the bright side, Sock Rocket’s social enterprise is set to hit it’s goal of donating 100,000 pairs of socks to charities since it started business in 2016.
For every pair of socks sold, three are donated to Calgary charities. In November 2019, 25,000 were donated and now 12 months later over 70,000 have been handed out to people in need.
Elisha Jackson, the director of development at the Children’s Cottage Society, says the donations have helped them supply children with socks. The organization helps children, from newborns to eight years old for up to three days while their family is dealing with a crisis. Jackson says when the kids arrive, they come with nothing so the Cottage has to provide all the hygiene products and clothing for the kids.
“When we give the children these items, they take them home,” said Jackson. “So that means we are always running out of them so that is why it is so nice that Sock Rocket is coming to bring these socks because we need them all the time.”
Zizian delivers 1,000 socks at a time four or five times a year.
“I know that what we’re doing is not ground-breaking but definitely people need to wear socks and here we are, we’re surrounded by agencies that are helping out those in need in or city and it’s an honour actually to be able to do our part."
Learn more about Sock Rocket online.