Making steps towards sustainability incredible

Making steps towards sustainability incredible
March 2024
Szilvia Szabó

Szilvia Szabó Author

Journalist, Editor
Journalist, Editor
Collaborative content with

The idea of Incredible Socks came to Marc Carey while living and working in Los Angeles, harnessing the inspiration of the city from an entrepreneurial and design standpoint.

A conversation in a coffee shop gave him the final push to follow Richard Branson’s approach to Virgin - ‘Screw it, let’s Do It’!

Now living in Ireland, he officially became the Chief Sock Maker and started manifesting his dream to help people feel incredible wearing socks with a blend of style, sustainability, and a touch of social responsibility.

Marc Carey, Chief Sock Maker at Incredible Socks.

“My career has taken me into international marketing roles, primarily for Entertainment brands across the world. I spent the last 20 years building other people’s brands, positioning their products, and driving sales strategies with super results.

While I spent some time living in Los Angeles, I saw that everyone there had a side hustle and was starting a business.

I got the idea for Incredible Socks as every Christmas, Birthday, Father's Day, Mother's Day and practically any gifting occasion, my family gave each other socks. So, I thought, why not socks?”

Driven by his personal values and motivation to give rather than take, Marc wanted Incredible Socks to operate in a way that makes a positive difference.

“While we are carbon neutral and use sustainable materials, packaging and processes, my dream is to be awarded B-Corp status through our actions related to helping people, communities and the planet.”

He is passionate about the brand and obsessed with socks, constantly working on new designs, taking inspiration from looking at other great brands, talking to customers and excited to see where the brand goes next.

Marc sees socks as more than functional pieces in our closet, saying his approach to design is based on three words: bold, fun and unexpected.

“I want my designs to stand out, whether through the colour combinations or the illustrations on the product. Incredible Socks is about having fun, so I want my designs to lift moods, spark conversations and put smiles on people's faces.

When you buy these socks, you are not getting a boring black pair of socks - you’re getting something that not only feels great but also is an extension of your personality and character. Have fun. No more boring socks!”

Incredible Socks is made out of bamboo, which considered to be significantly more sustainable than cotton. Image: Incredible Socks

To materialise his vision, he decided to use bamboo as a fabric to manufacture premium quality products for comfort, durability, and breathability.

Since bamboo is a fast-growing grass, it requires no fertiliser or extra irrigation and self-regenerates from its own roots, so it doesn't need to be replanted, so cultivating it means lower environmental impact.

Marc explains: “Unfortunately, cotton and sustainability do not work well together.

Cotton requires huge amounts of chemical fertilisers and pesticides to grow, polluting local ecosystems and the water from which communities drink. It degrades soil quality, prevents biodiversity, and forces many to labour in tough conditions.”

To ensure fair working conditions and environmental credentials, the bamboo sourcing and supply chain is audited to the highest standards at Incredible Socks.

This includes everything from clean energy, fair pay, inclusivity and equality within the workforce to working hours and conditions.

He highlights the massive potential in making essential fashion items like socks, underwear, and t-shirts to be sourced, produced and sold more sustainably instead of considering them as part of fast fashion, which significantly contributes to the climate crisis and exploits workers.

Besides good intentions and dedication, a lot goes on behind the scenes to develop an idea, source products or materials, register trademarks, build websites, manage social media, etc.

“Hitting go on my website and launching marketing felt so good and a huge achievement. After that, having my first sale come in, and every subsequent sale that followed and continues to follow is so wonderful.”

To evolve in his leadership, Marc listens to people who have already achieved business results while going through a similar journey.

“Whether it’s through other entrepreneurs or mentors at Enterprise Ireland or my Local Enterprise Office, I approach each day with curiosity. I am always willing to pivot and try new things.

The only element of my business I am rigid on is my core values: Great products, sustainable materials and practices, and our commitment to giving back to our charity partners and the planet.”

“I’d rather make no socks than use materials that have caused damage or hurt to the environment and farmers,” says Marc Carey.

He is determined to continue to build on philanthropic goals and make as big of an impact as possible with their charity partners.

The brand donates 50 cents from every sale to charity partners, including Bombay Teen Challenge, Jigsaw, and Focus Ireland.

“I’d love Incredible Socks to really make a positive difference in people’s lives in Ireland and internationally. I am so committed to these missions while at the same time growing my styles, products and lines."

Although Marc feels the rollercoaster effect of running his own enterprise, he says that’s what also keeps it fun and interesting.

“I am a dreamer and would love to have hundreds of styles in thousands of stores, dressing millions of feet every day.”

He enjoys the unwavering support of his family, saying that his dad has been a huge supporter on every level.

“He’s been leading his field across so many business areas for over 40 years and always keeps my head on the financial side of things.”

Another source of inspiration and motivation comes from spending a lot of time reading business books and following podcasts and social channels from some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, listening to founder stories and analysing various approaches.

His ethos is a constant driver for him, saying that “through Incredible Socks, I encourage the message: Live incredible, Do incredible, Be incredible.”

Szilvia Szabó

Szilvia Szabó Author

Journalist, Editor
Journalist, Editor