Teenage entrepreneur Makena Masterson donates all profits from her company Snox Socks to charity.
Masterson was inspired to start Snox Socks after she had an unexpected medical emergency. Living in Westerly with her family, she had traveled back to California to visit friends, developed a blood clot and was rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. She recovered, but didn’t forget the other kids she saw in the hospital with cancer and other illnesses.
“I took my health for granted before that, and then I realized how lucky I was and I wanted to give back,” says Masterson, who was a junior at the Prout School at the time.
She decided to follow in the footsteps of her parents, who run lifestyle brand Kena Kai, and launch her own product. But instead of taking the money, the profits have gone to a range of charitable organizations.
Masterson went with the simple idea of socks, since everyone wears them, but to make them different, decided to give them a more creative, teenager-y vibe and have a grippy, non-slip bottom. With her parents’ guidance, Masterson used the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba and set up manufacturing in China and launched Snox Socks.
The socks come in two basic styles: regular Snox, thick ankle socks with the nonslip bottom and ballerina socks that are thinner and have two straps that go over them. They’re good for people who do yoga, Pilates or just for around the house, she says. They’re available through Amazon.
Since launching in 2011, Masterson has donated nearly $9,000 to the children’s hospital in California, which she says provides free medical care to lots of other children; international humanitarian nonprofits and Crossroads Rhode Island.
Along the way, Masterson received a young entrepreneur award from then-General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and earlier this year, got a grant from designer Kenneth Cole, which she plans to use to build inventory for the holiday season.
Now a student at Fordham University in New York City, Masterson is hoping to expand her product line one day and have items made in the United States and to also encourage more conscientious consumerism among businesses and customers.