Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Quincey Cummings, Co-Owner of QEJA Socks, located in Park City, UT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are QEJA Socks, an e-commerce apparel brand based in the U.S. with a global reach. We design socks that have the DNA of a high-performance cycling sock but are also comfortable and stylish for everyday and office wear. We’ve designed our socks for everyone to enjoy, but our target customers are those who lead active lifestyles and appreciate quality clothing. They are professional and stylish and care about their impact on the planet. They also value simplicity in their lives and don’t want dozens of different socks for different activities. With QEJA socks, all you need is one pair for the day - from your morning run to the pickleball court, going to the cafe or office, hitting the gym, or on the bike for a grueling climb.
Tell us about yourself
We are a family-run business from Park City, Utah, but we are currently all living in different parts of the world. Hence our tagline “Born in Park City, Utah, Designed in Sweden, Made in Italy ''. We are a global family with ambitions to be a global company. Since we all live across the globe, it's great to be able to work remotely on this project together. Fun fact - QEJA represents the first initial of the siblings’ names - Quincey, Erin, Josh, and Audrey.
We have grown up doing a lot of activities outdoors, from road cycling, skiing, hiking, running, and mountain biking. Often, the conversation would turn to the clothing or gear we use and the fabric on our feet we often found too flashy or too uncomfortable for everyday wear. We wanted a simpler option, one sock that could be worn to the office and our after-work bike ride or dog walk.
Environmental impact has been a priority from the beginning; we didn’t want to just create another commodity - we consciously sought out textile experts and factories that could blend organic materials with recycled technical fabric to create a beautiful, soft, and durable sock. Our socks are made in one of the best textile factories in Italy, one that has a long history of creating high-quality clothing. Avoiding single-use plastic is also a priority. We are dedicated to using recyclable and compostable packaging materials. We’re a benefit business, contributing members of 1% For The Planet and exploring ways to further offset our carbon footprint. We believe in putting People and Planet over profit.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Getting our first order of socks in our hands! It was a two-year-long journey from the first conversation to receiving our first order. Of course, pandemic-related delays set us back longer than we anticipated, so seeing our vision finally come to life was very rewarding.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Knowing when to do something yourself and when it's time to pay a professional to do the task. Doing everything yourself can be exhausting and stressful. Luckily, in our family team, there's a wide range of talents and experience that fit well into running an e-commerce apparel business - design, team and project management, social media marketing, bookkeeping, and customer relations. We made the decision to invest and hire professionals to help with branding and our website. Our web developer, Sweatpants Studios, made us a gorgeous and highly functional site, and we are so pleased with the results!
It’s scary as a new business to invest precious funds in professional services, but learning from experience, we can say it is worth it in the long run and can save you a lot of stress! Do what you do well, and learn some new skills, but be open to hiring a pro for certain tasks.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Recognize when it’s worth it to outsource certain tasks and hire a professional, whether that be accounting, website development, marketing, etc. This will save you a lot of time and headaches and allow you to focus on the tasks you do well to grow your business. Find referrals for good services, and invest in quality work.
- Don’t try to cast too wide of a net at once. Focus on your general target audience.
- It's easy to get swept away in the “hustle” and find yourself working 24/7 to start/grow your business. Take time to relax, enjoy your hobbies, and schedule “unplugged” days. This will help your stamina and mental health and keep your passion and drive alive.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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