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Socks: small product, big business

🧦 They come in pairs, we all wear them, and there’s much to learn about their design and quality. Meet Erve Group’s sock experts Stephanie and Maud.

Erve Group - socks - small product, big business

Sock experts. Not a specialization you hear about every day, but the Erve Group has two of them. Meet Stephanie Vanderdonckt and Maud Hofland, who know all there is to know about these small but important garments.

Although the product is small, socks are big business.

Erve Europe is one of the leading production companies in this field for the European/EMEA market and socks make up a considerable share of their total product portfolio. They supply them to some of the world’s biggest retailers.

The production process of socks is complicated and requires specific expertise. Expertise that both Maud and Stephanie have in abundance.

Find out why this job knocks their socks off.

Sock knowledge was mainly acquired on the job for Stephanie, a merchandiser at Erve Europe and Maud, merchandiser at Beconnected Shanghai. Year-on-year growth for sock production inspired the Erve Group to establish experts dedicated to this category.

“Erve Group is the ‘go-to partner’ for socks, since we have a lot of socks experience and know-how,” Stephanie says.

“Socks are a big part of our group,” adds Maud, “and the category is continuously growing.

Erve Group - Erve Europe - branded socks - Lee Cooper Originals socks
Socks - Brands - Artwork

Besides that, a lot of socks are still produced in China.” China remains the top location for sock production as it offers the largest variety of raw materials, which Beconnected sources locally. It’s also a major manufacturing hub with an experienced workforce in factories that can accommodate large orders. This expertise means that Erve Group can produce its vast product offering for various purposes and markets.

There’s also a huge amount of teamwork between Erve Europe’s headquarters and the production countries.

“Our dedicated socks team at Beconnected are in close contact with the suppliers and have a lot of hands-on experience. They really make the difference,” Stephanie says.

How did you become a sock expert?

🧦Stephanie: “I kind of grew organically into this role because I started out following up sock orders and assisting in the booking process of sock orders. I traveled twice to China as well as to Turkey and Portugal, which are the most important sock-producing countries. On these trips, I joined booking meetings with the socks suppliers and visited a number of factories with an eye on gaining more technical socks knowledge.”

Stephanie Vanderdonckt - Erve Group sock expert

🧦Maud: “In 2017 I started as an intern at Beconnected Shanghai for my study. I spent a half year there and had to return to graduate, but I never left Beconnected. After a half year in Shanghai, I moved to our printing & labeling factory in Ethiopia, where I spent another half year. After this, I moved back to Shanghai and started my role within the socks team of Beconnected Shanghai. To be honest, I learned most socks expertise just doing the job with my colleagues and suppliers.”

Maud Hofland - Erve Group sock expert

Why choose the Erve Group as a sock supplier?

Maud: We take all your worries away! We can organize the total chain for you, from design to dropping the orders at the door of your warehouse. Next to that, we have our own quality team in the factories to assure your products are how you want them to be. Furthermore, we offer all types of socks, from basic black socks to licensed socks, sports socks and work socks.

“Quality is very important to us. We always strive to have the best quality for the best price”, says Maud. An in-house quality control team and third parties test the socks for strict quality requirements at all stages of production. Customers can rely on receiving exceptional quality socks for a competitive price.

Erve Group - Erve Europe - licensed socks
Socks - Licenses - Artwork

What does the future of socks look like?

Maud: Socks have endless creative potential and it’s not just because all people all over the world wear them every day. There are different requirements for lightweight sports socks, insulated socks for hiking or durable socks for construction work. There are countless directions to explore in technical materials and how the products perform.

New technologies and innovations in design and production continually offer something new. Sustainability is also increasingly important, as with the apparel industry in general. We’re looking into ways to use alternative materials and make production processes more environmentally friendly. There’s a lot to look forward to!

Stephanie: We also put a lot of effort into making our socks more than just a practical item to wear.

We explore fun ways of packing our socks and look for innovative designs and ways to produce our socks using fashion trends like neon colors. The fun factor is always important, and we put a lot of time and investment into this.

Erve Group - socks - fun packaging
Socks - Fun packaging

Erve Group is a circle of companies, including:

Erve Europe
European leader in character licenses and brands. We produce branded fashion and apparel featuring TV, film, cartoon and video game heroes.

Leading producer of quality fashion and accessories. Our sourcing and trading company specializes in private label apparel and is a preferred supplier to major global retail chains and department stores.

Beconnected Industrial
The first high-tech textile printing and labeling factory in Ethiopia.

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