Jaspreet Singh's Water-Resistant Socks Take Off
An Indian American law student sidetracked his future when he stepped into a puddle on the way to a public speaking class.
Jaspreet Singh, 23, was running late for his college class where he was scheduled to pitch a business idea to ‘fake’ investors – his classmates – when he drenched his foot running across campus in the rain.
“I kept putting the project off and putting it off until the day of the class,” Singh recalled to India-West. “I didn’t have an idea, but then standing in my wet socks, the first thing that came to mind were water-resistant socks.”
Then a student at the University of Michigan, the Detroit, Michigan, native began looking into what it would take to create the socks he had pitched to his classmates that fateful day.
Singh called several manufacturers, but, while they said it was a good idea, none of them was ready to take the plunge and help, as they felt it was too costly.
He then took a step back and began researching how it would be possible to make the socks. After about a year-and-a-half to two years, the first prototype was developed in late 2014.
Eventually, Singh said he partnered with a manufacturer in North Carolina who “believed in the idea and was willing to work with me.”
Singh and his brother Amanpreet teamed up to found 5 Water Socks, which would manufacture and sell the water-resistant socks.
The name of the company is reference to Punjab, Singh said, where his parents emigrated from, and Michigan.
“Punjab means the land of five waters and Michigan is surrounded by the five Great Lakes,” Singh explained to India-West. “And Punjab and Detroit are facing similar socioeconomic issues, and we are trying to bring this to light (through the name of the company).”
Singh partnered with a test engineer who found a way to use hydrophobic nanotechnology to make the socks. The work resulted in premium socks featuring the company’s trademarked RainArmor technology, which uses a proprietary process of blending water-phobic nanoparticles with comfortable, high quality yarn fibers.
“Our socks look, feel and breathe like regular socks,” Singh said of his product. “You wouldn’t be able to tell them apart unless you got them wet.”
Where waterproof socks are heavy duty and have a rubbery feel to them, causing the feet to become hot and sweaty, Singh said the water-resistant socks offered by 5 Water Socks are more versatile.
“Waterproof socks don’t feel like socks and are not for everyday use,” he said. “You can wear our socks everyday – they don’t get as wet, and they dry off faster (than regular socks).”
Singh added that he had several athletes try the socks on with positive reviews.
In order to make the business a reality, Singh, along with the help of friends, family and research, went to the Internet to help fund the project.
Using targeted social media practices and word of mouth, 5 Water Socks had good traction when it launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise $10,000 to get the company off the ground in June.
Within two days, Singh said the goal was reached. In total, the campaign raised more than double its asking amount, with backers contributing more than $21,000.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping the social media would get it to $10,000, but I didn’t think (the goal would be reached) that fast,” he said. “It was exciting.”
Because of his success with the crowd funding effort, Singh plans to teach a class on how to build a successful campaign to get a business up and running.
Since his campaign ended, Singh has spent countless hours working on building a database to reward the backers with socks and anticipates they will receive them in the fall.
For those who did not back the campaign, the socks – which come in ankle and mid-calf heights and small, medium and large sizes – retailed at $22, can be pre-ordered and are expected to be delivered in October.
The company is also receiving a lot of interest from organizations outside the country who want to be wholesalers.
“We are exploring all options,” said Singh, who added they hope to have the socks sold through retail stores in the future. “Right now, we are looking into licensing the technology.”
Singh received his bachelor’s in biopsychology, cognition and neuroscience from the University of Michigan. He also completed a graduate program in real estate development from Michigan. He is currently working on his juris doctor degree at Wayne State University Law School.
Despite his focus on other career paths, he is letting 5 Water Socks go as far as it will take him.
“There are a lot of things I want to do. I want to do something in business,” Singh said of his future goals. “If (5 Water Socks) takes off, I would love to do it.”
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