When we started Afrisocks a little over a year and a half ago, we thought we had a small idea that we were curious to test out. 20,000 socks later, with customers in over 60 countries, we know we have a hit. Unfortunately, every entrepreneurial journey comes with its own setbacks, and here is our most recent one: we’re being copied by cheap Chinese knock-offs.
Here’s how the story begins: when we drew up our beautiful designs at a cafe in Accra (shoutout to Cafe Kwae) we tried to find sock manufacturers worldwide. Ghana doesn’t have any sock factories, nor does the rest of ECOWAS. We started talking to factories in China, India, South Korea, and Turkey.
Most of the samples we got back were sub-par. Our designs are complex, and manufacturers couldn’t make them. When they tried, they had errors, resulting in white stains (see below). Some of the manufacturers who managed to get our designs right made crappy socks that were very cheap. They would tear easy, have low cotton content, and when you wore them, they would stretch and the colours lost their brightness. We preferred to pay more (much more) for quality.
This is what bad quality socks look like. More about this manufacturer in a moment
It took us well over five months to find a manufacturer that could produce socks we were proud of, that would keep their bright colours over time, stretch well, and showcase our designs. Then, a few months ago, one of the Chinese manufacturers who we turned down after they produced some of the worst samples for us (see above), sent us a marketing email. They were offering to sell us cheap knock offs of our own designs. Yes, really. They must’ve lost our contact and thought we were a new company. We’re dealing with them legally, however the knockoffs have made it online and are being sold.
We’re not worried about you guys buying those - they’re not as nice as ours, the quality is subpar, and the colours don’t last after a few washes. You guys have a good taste and wouldn’t do it to us. We take it as a compliment. After less than a year and a half in business, we have copycats coming after us from half a world away. We will solve this issue legally for now, and practically in the future, when we’re able to start our own sock production facility in Ghana.
So if you love our brand, there are two ways you can help our team: First, share our page and this article, and if you see these knock-offs posted online, leave a comment, tell customers those are fake, and send people our way. Second, we’re actively looking for investors for West Africa’s first sock factory. Drop us a message if you have someone in mind. We’re proud of our growth and are looking forward for bigger, better, and original things. Stay tuned.