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Sock Maker Expands Oceanside Plant – Its First in U.S.

MANUFACTURING: Company Planning Additional U.S. Plants

FutureStitch, a high-end sock-maker that opened its first U.S. manufacturing and research plant in Oceanside in 2021, is expanding.

Headquartered in San Clemente, the company last year leased a 9,000-square-foot Oceanside warehouse and, in May, leased an adjacent building of about the same size at 622 Airport Road.

Taylor Shupe
CEO & Founder
FutureStitch

“It was always our plan to expand our knitting capabilities once we achieved breakeven in our on-demand sock printing and embellishment business,” said CEO Taylor Shupe.

In addition to making high-end socks for such companies as lululemon and New Balance, a good part of FutureStitch’s business comes from making socks embellished with designs to mark special events.

Shupe had set a goal of reaching $50 million in revenue in 2022, but he said that the company fell about 10% shy of reaching it.

“We attribute this to weaker demand in the second half of the year due to our customers’ high inventory positions,” Shupe said.

FutureStitch socks cost $3 to $8 a pair, depending on the amount of customizing and the size of each order, Shupp said. At retail, they sell from $10 to $20 a pair.

People are willing to pay more for FutureStitch socks because of the “art, design, superior fit and comfort,” Shupe said. “Many of our products have exclusive prints and licenses.”

Among other things, FutureStitch uses a number of devices in its Oceanside plant to test its socks for wear and tear, including one that rubs the sock material 24 hours a day to determine how long it would take for someone’s foot to wear through it.

The Oceanside plant is also filled with huge knitting machines

Boss Stitch

Shupe said that he’s not planning on expanding any more in Southern California.

“We are, however, planning to expand further with another facility in the south, such as North Carolina or Alabama,” Shupe said. “We’d like to acquire or create a JV (joint venture) with an existing mill.”

In addition to the Oceanside manufacturing plant, FutureStitch has a manufacturing plant in China and a joint venture operation in Turkey.

The company has a staff of 21 in Oceanside, about half of whom were formerly incarcerated and are part of what Shupe calls its Boss Stitch program – a name chosen by the employees.

Shupe works with San Diego Workforce Partnership and North County Lifeline in recruiting formerly incarcerated workers.

He said that he got the idea from a documentary that showed that children were more likely to get in trouble if their parents were in jail or prison.

In addition to employment, Boss Stich offers a variety of social service programs to its workers, including a course in herbal medicine and gardening in collaboration with Moon Valley Nurseries, motivational sessions with former gold medal weightlifter Laura Eiman, self-defense classes, meditation classes, and a book club.

Shupe said that he’s hoping to expand Boss Stitch and is looking for volunteers to help.

“The program was created to empower our justice-impacted employees with an entrepreneurial mindset. It helps them learn skills and techniques to gain better control over their future,” Shupe said. “We want them to all feel loved and supported, strong and powerful, to be the boss of their destiny.”

Over the past year, Boss Stitch has worked “fantastically well,” Shupe said, providing FutureStitch with a reliable cadre of workers.

“I’ve never had such a retentive and positive employee base,” Shupe said. “We have also been the beneficiary of wonderful businesses and individuals in the community who’ve offered their services.”

FutureStitch

Founded: 2017
CEO: Taylor Shupe
Headquarters: San Clemente
Business: Sock manufacturing
Employees: 430
Website: www.futurestitch.com
Contact: 760-707-2003
Social impact: FutureStitch hires and trains people who have been incarcerated and supports North County Lifeline.
Notable: The company plans to base more of its manufacturing in the U.S.

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