Openness and transparency

We believe it is important to communicate openly and honestly with our customers about our suppliers and partners.
Everything can be done better, that’s a fact… We do our best to work in a human-, animal- and environment-friendly way, and are constantly striving for a better version of ourselves and our socks.

Who we are
Nadia De Leyn, wife of Kris (the man who fixes everything as long as he can or goes to work himself and makes furniture with written off dented residual material). Our ecological footprint is not clean at first sight (Kris has 5 sons, I have 1), but we compensate as much as we can, usually … We mainly buy 2nd hand, wear everything down to the core, love natural materials, prefer to buy from the farmer, focus on native plants, let wild herbs grow and apply as much as possible to the permaculture principles.

The concept
100% Belgian, a collection based on 7 colours with which we can create a lot of combinations. We resist Fast Fashion and capricious trends. We don’t sell teasers genre limited edition. All our socks are permanent, handy, especially when it comes to socks, you know … You can buy them a piece by the way, if you like.

Production Zokk’n
Unfortunately we didn’t find a Belgian partner who would make socks for us, because of the small quantities and the fact that we are starters. We want to stay in Europe anyway and in Portugal we visited Fiorima, a modern company in Braga, near Porto, known for their knowledge and quality. Since 1 December 2018, Fiorima has been consuming energy from 100% renewable sources. By 2020, they will have a photovoltaic system for their own use. They offer a number of guarantees on which we are very fond:

  • SA8000 : 2014 (Social Accountability International)
  • OHSAS 18001 : 2007 (Occupational Health & Safety)
  • ISO 14001 : 2015 (Environment)
  • ISO 9001 : 2015 (Quality)
  • GOTS – Global organic Textile Standard
  • Oeko-Tex 100 : Tested for Harmful Substances

Used yarn
Our yarn consists of 85% merino wool ! Also 13% polyamide and 2% elastane for strength and comfort, it is waiting for naturally degradable alternatives (but they are not yet on the market). Merino socks usually have much more polyamide and elastane. Our merino socks do not have a coating and can therefore not be washed at 40°C. A wool programme (30°C) and wool soap are strongly recommended. So we ask our customers to make a little effort. Some people are dropping out, but we strongly believe in our concept and the importance of sustainable maintenance. You know: for some reason you don’t have to mention elastane if there is only 1% in the yarn. Who would invent such a thing?
Igea (Prato – Italy) is the spinner and supplier of Fiorima. They guarantee that our yarn is spun with mulesing-free wool. So the animals are not mistreated. Since 2010, a photovoltaic system has been active on the ceilings of the Igea warehouses, with 2000 panels, for an annual production of 550 MW, which corresponds to 50% of the company’s needs, with an annual reduction of about 400 tons of CO². We have not yet visited this company due to a lack of budget.

At the back of each sock there is a label made of organic raw cotton. The name of the reference is embroidered on the inside and our logo on the outside. The labels are supplied by REBIL Group in Aachen, Germany. You know: our first shipment with labels to Portugal was declared missing by bPost (they were then found again, and remain with the knitter). REBIL rescued us and in a weekend re-created labels, sent them directly to Portugal, and the second order arrived earlier than the first. All at the same price, there was never any intention to take advantage of the situation. Anyway, a sustainable partner as far as we are concerned! But, again, we haven’t visited this company yet due to a lack of budget. Their guarantees in a row:

  • Oeke-Tex 100 : Tested for Harmful Substances
  • ISO 14001 : 2015 (Environment)
  • ISO 50001 : 2011 (Energy management standard)
  • Higg Index
  • ISO 9001 : 2015 (Quality)
  • OHSAS 18001 : 2007 (Occupational Health & Safety)

We thought long and hard about how we would attach labels to our socks. We absolutely wanted to avoid that one plastic thing that is sometimes shot through. The other metal thing on the toes as well.
We made wraps. With a wrap we can keep up to 7 socks together and in the meantime give information about material and washing instructions. The printer is Baskerville from Kontich. The wraps are printed on Cycle offset 170 g, made from 100% recycled fibres. Baskerville uses vegetative inks (70% quadri /100% Pantone colours), prints almost alcohol-free.
The strictly separated waste collection contributes to the preservation of the environment.
In addition, we also purchase letterbox boxes made of recycled cardboard, which we seal with paper tape. We are saving up for our own printed boxes …
When we receive products in boxes ourselves, we strip the boxes completely of their plastic and then re-use them when we have to send a large package ourselves. We also do this with all the filling material that we unfortunately sometimes receive for free.

For the design of our logo and corporate identity, the product photography as well as the photo shoot, we worked with talented local young people. Eternal thanks to Shtick from Berchem, Thomas Nagels Photography from Brasschaat and Tone & Co from Bornem and his team (Photography: Oona Smet // Styling: Marieke De Pauw – Liza Babylon // Models: Sarah Currinckx – Kenny Smet // Model by Jackie Lee Antwerp). If we want to print a small amount of business cards etc. we would like to go to Marc Troch Printing House in Ekeren.

Photo material
Powerful imagery to support the retailer is important. We chose Re-board, a cardboard with a honeycomb core, covered on both sides with coated white kraftliner. It is a lightweight material and environmentally friendly compared to commonly used material (plastic) for such promotion. Durable as long as we handle it with care. What could be better: we had to decide quickly and started working with Drukland without knowing what the company stands for in terms of sustainability.

We have purchased an Epson ET-2650 to avoid ink cartridges. This printer works with integrated ink reservoirs. Our printing paper is recycled grey kraft paper.

Combell is committed to Corporate Social Responsibility. They work on sustainable customer relations, focus on happy employees, choose a sustainable purchase, use, reuse and recycling policy and play an active role in supporting communities.

We have an account at Triodos, because ethical banking is also important. With this decision we have not made it easy for ourselves. We don’t have a bank card and in the beginning there wasn’t even an app available. We also find Triodos to be a bit deficient in their service for small businesses like ours. Anyway, everything could be better, we know…

On a very small scale, we have supported two organisations: Filets Divers (offers opportunities to people in poverty) and the association Downsyndroom Vlaanderen. This was done with their prior approval. We will never give discounts on socks or make promotions for ourselves. That’s logical, because we don’t suffer from stock that has to be sold quickly. When we think of actions, we only do so for the benefit of these important organizations. You know: the support is based on the number of socks sold and as a small company we have little knowledge and resources to run a large campaign. We are working on it …