A journey begins with a single step … and Harc has embarked on a journey that takes our participants out into the community in an exciting, new social enterprise venture – SockStarz
Made Possible Through the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
This journey began with participation in the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Social Enterprise Accelerator program. The program offered non-profits in the greater Hartford area the opportunity to compete to work with a team of consultants to develop a business plan to start a new social enterprise. Harc was one of the 10 groups selected out of a field of 38 different organizations who entered.
Jobs for Participants
Our chosen social enterprise: SockStarz, a wholly owned subsidiary of Harc, allows us the opportunity to operate a sock business to employ participants and generate revenue to help Harc continue its mission to help participants lead lives of dignity, quality and inclusion.
But Why Socks?
Socks are something that everyone needs and uses, and novelty socks are very popular in the marketplace. Even in our short tenure as a business, we’ve learned that we can employ our clients at competitive wages, offer them work with dignity and predictability, sell a product for which there is a robust market and room for growth, and create revenue diversity for the agency, thus reducing our dependency on government funding.
We’ve been able to secure inventory and fixturing. We’ve conducted 10 pop up sales in our building at 900 Asylum Ave and in the community through the support of partners such as YWCA, Mandell Jewish Community Center and Saint Francis Hospital generating over $14,000 in sales. Through these events we’ve been able to employ 4 participants in roles as Inventory Specialists, Visual Merchandising Specialists and Sales Specialists – and we’ve been able to do that at minimum wage!
Pop-ups then a Store
But pop ups is only one of the ways we want to launch SockStarz in the community – by mid-June we’ll have a fully functioning online store and are in talks to open a retail location in the fall of 2019. These initiatives will allow us to provide meaningful employment to others in the Harc family.
Come Visit Us!
These are exciting times for us –our early wins tell us this is the right business and we’re on the right path in this journey. Please visit SockStarz at one of our upcoming pop up locations: Beanz & Co.(300 W. Main Street, Avon) May 20 3pm – 7pm and May 21 7:30am – 3 pm West Hartford Celebrates(West Hartford Center) June 1st 10am – 6pm Harc’s Annual Meeting (Marriott, 28 Day Hill Road, Windsor) June 5th 5 pm