I sat down with two sock-obsessed guys who found a way to give millions of socks to the homeless
On any given night in New York City, there’s up to 60,000 people sleeping on the streets. When entrepreneurs Randy Goldberg and David Heath learned that socks are the number one requested clothing item in homeless shelters, they decided to do something about it.
Earlier this summer, I sat down with the two co-founders — surrounded by mood boards and rows of socks — at their office in New York City to learn about their amazing work and how it’s benefitting people in need.
“We went sock-obsessed for two years,” Heath told me. “We looked at every sock on the marketplace and ultimately created — what we determined — would be the best, most comfortable sock that you’ll ever wear.”
Early on, Heath joked about the idea of getting a tattoo to celebrate donating their first million pairs of socks. He and Randy gave themselves ten years to accomplish that goal.
Since founding the company in 2013, Bombas has donated over four million pairs of socks. And Goldberg has the tattoo to prove it.
Heath’s tattoo reads “Bee Better,” Bombas’s motto.
“The word Bombas is derived from the Latin word for bumblebee. Bees work together to make the hive a better place. We like that. When we say Bee Better, we mean it as a mantra, a way of approaching every day. It’s stitched into the inside of every pair of Bombas for a reason,” it says on their website. “It’s a reminder to push yourself harder to be better at your athletic pursuits. A reminder that these socks are engineered and designed with thought to bee better. A reminder that you helped someone in need with your purchase. And a reminder that we’re all connected and little improvements can add up to make a big difference.”
There are so many misconceptions when it comes to people who are homeless — that they’ve committed crimes, are drug addicts, are lazy, etc. — and Goldberg and Heath’s firsthand experience working with New York City’s homeless population has helped them understand just how wrong these notions are.
“As a New Yorker, I always had a very specific perception of what I thought homelessness was, right? The person suffering from mental illness or a drug addict, or an alcoholic begging for change,” Health said. “[But] when you go and donate your time and serve lunch at a mission, you see all walks of life. You see mothers with children, you see businessmen, people who have just fallen on hard times.”
Finally, I talked to the guys about how Bombas changed their lives, considering they’ve positively affected the lives of so many others.
“For me, it’s about the people,” Goldberg said. “I get to work with this group of people every day, and [Heath], but really we have an incredible team. And if you surround yourself with people that are smarter than you are and really interesting and then get to connect to organizations who spend … their whole life committed to helping out, we get to connect and learn from them … You change the way you think about success. And what success looks like from the outside is always different than what it feels like from the inside.”
By A Plus’ Claire Peltier
Clairity is a series introducing readers to new fashion and beauty products from brands our host, Claire Peltier, believes in. These products not only help readers look and feel good, but have a positive impact on the world, the environment, and hopefully the user’s self-image, too.