We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Tollworthy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
For ten years I worked as a wildlife TV producer – traveling the world and sharing experiences. I got to visit remote islands, work up mountains, and travel deep into the jungle – but no matter where I went, I always saw the same thing – single use plastic. No longer able to sit on the sidelines, I decided I had to help fight our global war on waste, and find a solution to the plastic that is polluting our natural world.
With the only goal being to help stamp out single-use plastic, I left my dream job and set out on 404 days of research and development. I completed an Open University course on marine plastic, attended ‘sock school’ and then ultimately built a product that had never been done before. Socks made from TRASH!
What should our readers know about your business?
I am so proud to say that Teddy Locks socks are TRASH!
If I was going to leave my dream job I needed to build a product and a business that I truly stood behind. One that was ethical, sustainable and responsible. I wanted all arms of the business to be true to those values – and that is why I worked to create the world’s most sustainable socks.
I started with the product itself – socks are the most frequently disposed of item in our wardrobe. With us each, on average, losing 15 socks a year – we are forced to then toss out the now lonely, unmatched socks left in our drawer. To make sure Teddy Locks would side step the missing sock conundrum, and be helping to reduce waste, I made sure to release all of our styles as 2 pair packs, so that if one went walkies, then there would be another left to be paired with.
But I also needed to make sure that Teddy Locks socks were durable, and would out last the other socks in your drawer. So, I spent many weeks working at my knitting mill in North Carolina. Learning the machines and the technology. Trialing yarns with different properties and testing varying patterning options. That is why, all Teddy Locks socks are reinforced in the toe and heel pockets, and knit with yarns specially made for Teddy Locks.
The materials were the biggest priority. At a basic level we all simply want soft socks that perform. But with so much waste, I knew I wanted to put the valuable materials that are already in existence back into circulation – could I turn trash into socks?
Yes! Working with my spinning mill I developed yarns that were moisture wicking, quick drying, thermoregulating and luxuriously soft! Surprisingly, Teddy Locks socks are made from 5 different yarns – but with no corners being cut I made sure that each of those yarns is made from recycled materials – specially for Teddy Locks. This way each individual crew sock recycles, and is made from 1 plastic bottle (which is collected from the east coast of the USA).
But there’s more. They wouldn’t have the lowest possible footprint if it wasn’t for my supply chain. I work directly with each of my suppliers. Knowing that they are all family run businesses, located in North Carolina, Teddy Locks supports manufacturing in the USA but also creates products from fiber to finishing within 250miles.
Seeing how far Teddy Locks has come, and seeing all of the conscious-soles wearing trash makes it all worth it. More than 10,000 bottles have been recycled and 1,500lbs of trash saved from landfill – and every time another sock is sold, another plastic bottle is stopped from entering our waterways.
It’s that positive impact that keeps me going.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
LA is big, and I like to keep things local, so just like seeing any city, I would pack a day bag and take on each area by foot.
Starting early I would recommend grabbing coffee and a light breakfast at Great White. Calm beach vibes and just strolling distance from the shore this is a great place to start your day.
Before the sun is too high, I’d then head down to Venice beach. There’s no better time to people watch. Soak up the activity in the recreation area, or watch the riders at the skatepark, before the tourists arrive and the recreational boarders head off to work.
If you love the beach and want to see it all, I would recommend renting a bike and cycling along the waterfront. There’s plenty of art to see along the way and you’ll earn yourself a refreshing ice cream.
Looking to really fit in, why not take a surf lesson at the Venice beach Kapowui surf school. They offer 1 or 2 hour lessons daily.
For lunch, I’d step into the shade and head to Tocaya Organica for vegan tacos and a cheeky margarita.
From here you are perfectly situated to take a stroll around the Venice Canals, and along the fishing piers, before the sun sets on the day.
Finally, it’s time to head back to the beachfront for a sundowner, before following the music to the High Rooftop Lounge for beach views and a good time.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t have been able to take on the immense challenge of stamping out single-use plastic with socks made from trash if it wasn’t for my husband. He has supported me through all of the ups and downs, taken risks and believed in the positive impact of Teddy Locks.
Ultimately he has been caring for our family, while I try help take care of our planet.
Thankfully he shares my same goal, he would like our daughter and future generations to experience the wonder of the natural world, to swim in clean seas and live more sustainably.
Luckily, for me, he also loves his Teddy Locks.