In eight years, the B-Corp apparel company Bombas—which gives a pair to the homeless for every pair sold—has gone from a famed near-rejection on Shark Tank to reeling in more than $200 million in revenue.
In this episode, Bombas CEO David Heath offers Quartz CEO Zach Seward an expert lesson in how to build a successful business around a social purpose.
Heath founded the company, with Randy Goldberg, after he read a quote on Facebook about socks being the most-requested item in homeless shelters. Not only did he see an opportunity to do good, he also saw an opportunity to bring high-tech performance socks to a mass market. Bombas attracts both ethical consumers and athletes, retaining them with an unusually generous customer service approach.
And by narrowing its donation socks to only a few SKUs specially engineered for the needs of those experiencing homelessness, the sock maker has been able to keep costs feasible enough for its charitable program to continue growing as the company grows—including into t-shirts, underwear, and slippers—ensuring that it never has to compromise its mission for its bottom line.