NZ Sock Co Ltd

This story was showcased in our 2019/20 Annual Report

Since receiving AGMARDT funding the New Zealand Sock Company has undergone a major development drive towards production of more technically advanced socks.

The company, which has grown business by 20 per cent since receiving the funding, has brought much of its manufacturing back from China to grow its Ashburton based factory. It has also invested in more state-of-the-art machinery. With one of the most modern plants in the world, the company can now produce more technically enhanced heavyweight socks for the agriculture and trade sector. They are also partnering with many international brands.

AGMARDT’s support has enabled the company to expand on its market research, by spending time in the countries it wants to sell into, attending trade shows and bringing export customers to New Zealand to strengthen and grow relationships. Travel has included meeting contacts to discuss developing a specialised military sock. The company has been working with Callaghan Innovation to progress this opportunity.

The company has also collaborated with New Zealand textile innovators TMC, using their Nuyarn technology to produce socks made with 38-micron wool. A world first, this provides opportunities for New Zealand wool growers and eliminates the use of nylon reinforcing, offering a higher percentage wool sock. This is already on sale in the USA and a New Zealand brand will be launching a wool range in April 2021.

A New Zealand made merino range for the Chinese outdoor  and sports market is also under development. This will be showcased at Asia’s leading multi-segment sports expo in January and go to market in June 2021.

“I never thought we would be supplying the Chinese – anything is possible,” says managing director Euan Sparrow. “The support from AGMARDT fast-tracked The New Zealand Sock Company’s presence and growth internationally, especially in the USA, with our focus being on Merino Wool and ‘New Zealand made’.

“Our export strategy today is vastly different to earlier marketing initiatives. We have successfully grown our online presence, with a new website and investment into social media. We continue to get increased sales from our website in addition to more international enquiries.

With more of our product being moved back from China to NZ manufacturing, we are seeing a large increase in online sales.”

With the advent of COVID-19, the company adapted some knitting machines to make face masks which attracted considerable media attention and increased traffic to their website, generating mask and sock sales. The company is already exporting to Japan, the USA, Australia, Denmark and Germany, with “robust plans” to expand into more of Europe. Its strategy is to grow within its capabilities while continuing to purchase new plant annually, to ensure the business and its customers have a leading edge over competitors.

The support from AGMARDT fast tracked The New Zealand Sock Company’s presence and growth internationally, especially in the USA, with our focus being on Merino Wool and New Zealand Made.”  Says Euan Sparrow