Major League Socks was gearing up for the inevitable sales spike created by the excitement around the NHL playoffs and prepping a new sock line featuring the likenesses of MLB players when the COVID pandemic brought business to a near-standstill.
Rather than sitting the pandemic out, however, the Toronto company has pivoted towards a new limited-edition product line featuring a new hero for the times: frontline healthcare workers. All proceeds from the sale of the company’s “Major League Heroes” socks, which are selling for $19.99, will go to the Canadian Red Cross.
The product line is a natural fit for a brand that has boasted a charitable component since its inception, having previously donated a portion of sales to organizations including CAMH and Movember.
“We were two guys who started out by putting [former Toronto Maple Leafs coach] Mike Babcock’s head on a sock,” says Major League Socks co-founder Jake Mednick. “We worked hard to get where we are now, but we’re also pretty fortunate, and being able to give back makes the journey a lot more special.”
“It’s in the DNA of the business and something we’ve always made sure was a part,” adds his partner Tom McCole. “When we launched we really made an effort to be community conscious.”
The Major League Heroes product line was developed in association with Juniper Park\TBWA and its design arm Le Parc. The Toronto agency assisted in a major rebrand of the company (formerly known as Babsocks) last year.
“They know about our long history as a brand that gives back and they put this idea together for us only three weeks ago,” says Mednick. “We loved it immediately.”
“We’re extremely humbled to be able to play a role in an initiative supporting our frontline healthcare heroes, the most important team in the country right now,” says Nathalie Cusson, creative director, design at Le Parc.
Major League Socks’ longtime designer Felix Ding (“our face guy,” says Mednick) created the images of a male and female healthcare workers wearing PPEs. The socks are the colour of medical scrubs.
Major League Socks is manufacturing 500 pairs of the socks to start, although Mednick says he’s confident they will sell out “pretty easily.” The company is promoting the socks via paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram.
Major League Socks had been riding a high prior to the arrival of COVID, including signing a licensing deal with both the Major League Baseball Players Association and Liverpool F.C. of the English Premiere League.
The latter is a dream come true for McCole, who has supported the team for years. That’s not the case for Mednick, who is a staunch fan of Liverpool’s bitter rival, Manchester United. “This is going to be a big test of my loyalty to Manchester United versus my bottom line,” he says.