Have you ever had an incomplete pair of socks or have lost socks in the dryer? Well, eighth-grade student Deling Chen of North Oaks has come up with a solution: Sock Munch! Sock Munch is a device that helps keep your socks from disappearing in the wash. I interviewed Deling and asked her questions about her new product.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
A: My name is Deling, and I am an eighth grader at St. Paul Academy. I like web design, biking, and ice cream! In my free time, you can catch me biking around Pleasant Lake, growing my business, and playing piano.
Q: Why did you decide to make Sock Munch?
A: During the early stages of designing, I wanted something that was appealing to everyone. I wanted it cute. I also wanted it to be useful. Since I am always missing socks, I thought that something to save socks would be a great idea. Because I wanted to make this idea cute and endearing, I thought that a duck would be a good start. I started calling the duck ‘Munch’ as he ‘munches’ socks. Subsequently, I came up with the company name Sock Munch.
Q: How did you get the idea for Sock Munch?
A: One day, I tried to find the other pair to my sock when I realized that I might have lost the other sock. This struck my inspiration: how many socks do people lose? I did some research online and found that people can lose up to 15 socks per year! I asked my family and friends, and they have also had frustration finding the other sock. So, I came up with Sock Munch. My goal with Sock Munch is to make laundry more fun, a lot easier, and reduce headaches from lost socks. I wanted to address a problem that everyone understands.
Q: Was it hard to turn this from an idea into a prototype?
A: Not really. A bright, Saturday afternoon, my mom and I took work at our sewing machine to create the first Munch! The whole afternoon was dedicated to cutting out the fabric, sewing the pieces together, adding a mesh bag, and finally stuffing the head. We then identified a professional illustrator to make a design-worthy illustration and interviewed several soft toy vendors to make the product. After deciding on a soft toy vendor, we started working with them on a professional prototype, which can be scaled up for production.
Q: How do you think this will impact people who use your product?
A: My hope is that kids will be more eager to help with laundry and with house chores. I understand and appreciate the importance of being organized and neat. This startup will be my vehicle. Through this startup, I hope to grow my passion for helping and teaching others, especially kids.
Q: How can people help this project become a reality?
A: I have a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign running until April 30, 2021. After that, I will be taking orders off my website, sockmunch.com. Thank you to everyone who has and is continuing to support me!
Q: How much money has been raised so far?
A: As of April 14, we have raised $8,243!
Q: If you get enough funding from Kickstarter, when will you be up and running?
A: My goals for the next three months include testing the prototype, sending out the first batch of
Munches for review and feedback, starting an Etsy shop, and showcasing Munch at local children’s boutique stores.
Q: What is your biggest hope for this project in the future?
A: A dream of mine would be to see Munch on a shelf in a local, brick-and-mortar store for children. Having Munch featured in stores like Pacifier, Goodnight Moon, Patina, etc. would be a dream come true!
Q: Do you have any advice for any other kids who want to start a business or make any big project?
A: Just try it! Starting a business takes time and work. Often, it can take more than one time to be successful. In fact, this isn’t my first startup! A few years ago, I started Hippokarma, LLC selling stationery. Sock Munch is a more recent idea. There is a lot to be said by just trying. I learned many skills just after a few sales! If something doesn’t go as planned, it’s okay: keep trying and learning! Of course, you also need to have the right people involved (lawyer, accountant, business mentor) to make sure you are on the right track.
Q: Is there anything else you would like the readers to know about you or Sock Munch?
A: If you want to save your socks, or teach your kids to save their socks, Munch can be your answer! But moving beyond Munch, I think supporting local small businesses really adds value to the community.