Spotlight: Cole and Parker
If there is one word I could come up with that could best describe Cole and Parker it would have to be sockcessful. See what I did there? Cole and Parker craft bright, bold, and premium socks that help to start businesses.
Cole and Parker are named after iconic jazz musicians John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. They are both one of the most dominant jazz and bebop influencers of all-time. There is no wonder why the London (Ontario) based menswear brand are influenced by these musicians innovative approach to creating, collaborating, and inspiring.
I never thought it was possible to have a favourite sock brand until I came across Cole and Parker. I was first introduced to the brand during the Gentlemen’s Expo and have fallen in love with them ever since. The more I learn about Cole and Parker, the more I am fascinated with the culture and products they’ve built. Aesthetically, the socks are gorgeous. The designs are unique, bright, bold, and fun. The quality of their products are exactly what you would expect. Comfortable, light, and extremely complimenting – which is exactly why I have featured them as a ‘must have’ on my 2013 holiday gift guide.
Cole and Parker was founded based on a vision to create an intelligent, sustainable business that clothe the entrepreneur while using their passions of giving to support entrepreneurs worldwide.
Cole and Parker was founded by Jeff House and Diana Charabin who I recently found out have gotten engaged to one another. Not only do the Cole and Parker socks help to start businesses, they apparently also start relationships.
When the business was kick-started in March 2013, the young entrepreneurs speared an Indiegogo campaign to take their first designs into production. Their goal was to accumulate $20,000, and were overwhelmed by the response when they received $43,000 in support of their new menswear start-up. Their on going business development efforts has helped them to grab the attention of over 40 retail locations across the nation, with selective designs available in Holt Renfrew.
“Being genuine is very important to us. We do everything with integrity – doing what we say we are going to do when we say we are going to do it.”
I had the extreme pleasure to chat with Samantha Laliberte, business developer at Cole and Parker about the company’s collaborative environment to find out that the sock designs created are crowd-sourced by hosting ‘hackathons’, where family and friends are brought together to brainstorm design ideas. The best of the best are selected to be designed by Juan Mendez, lead graphic artist responsible for translating ideas into a print-ready format.
“We carry this entrepreneurial spirit in everything we do.”
Inspired to create a program to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs, Cole and Parker have partnered with Kiva – the largest micro-finance organization in the world – to have the most impact possible when inspiring and supporting entrepreneurship. Kiva was founded in 2005 and has processed over 100 million loans totalling over 400 million dollars. Working with 68 different countries worldwide, Kiva is fuelled by over 192 field partners and 450 volunteers.
Proceeds from each purchase of Cole and Parker socks is loaned to support entrepreneurs in poverty. So literally, purchasing a few pairs of socks can start multiple businesses around the world.
“We want people to live energetic and purposeful lives. We create a platform for people to grow, take risks, and give it a go.”
If you’re in the market for new socks, do yourself a favour and find a location near you that carries Cole and Parker and browse their colourful collection, all with unique characteristics and personalities. Cole and Parker are a menswear company to keep a close eye on in 2014. With plans of expanding their business, you can expect the same quality and creativity to be carried through out their new products.