WAKEFIELD â€“ After developing a blood clot in her arm, a student at The Prout School in Wakefield was inspired to develop her own way of giving back.
Makena Masterson, a 16-year-old junior, was hospitalized with a four-inch blood clot in the summer of 2011 at the Childrenâ€™s Hospital of Orange County in Orange, Calif.
She said her experience staying on the hematology floor changed her, as she saw children who were much more sick than she was.
â€śI was the only patient on the floor with hair,â€ť she said. â€śI realized how lucky I was.â€ť
After her hospital stay, Masterson was inspired to create a product that anyone can use and from which 100 percent of the profits go to charity.
SNOX, which Masterson said are â€śthe love child of a sneaker and a sock,â€ť were born.
Masterson received a â€śloanâ€ť from her parents, who own a small leather goods company, to begin the business. She then selected the colors for SNOX, which are available for both men and women in black and white, orange and blue (Mastersonâ€™s favorite colors), light and dark blue, green and blue and gray and green.
She also chose the design for the rubber, non-slip design on the bottom, which was SNOX! and includes a pattern of â€śxo.â€ť
â€śI like the xo design on the bottom,â€ť she said. â€śItâ€™s sort of like hugs and kisses.â€ť
Masterson used her parentsâ€™ contacts in the factory business to order her SNOX in May, which arrived in August. In November, her website www.snoxsocks.com, was up and running.
Aside from her parentsâ€™ help ordering the socks, Masterson now runs the business herself. She has a weekly agenda, which includes sending customers e-mails to thank them for their purchase, researching and contacting charities and managing the website.
â€śI send a thank you e-mail asking for a review from every single customer,â€ť she said. â€śOne man said his wife is handicapped so itâ€™s hard for her to walk in regular socks, but in SNOX she doesnâ€™t slip as much. Itâ€™s fun hearing those stories come back to you it makes a little more special.â€ť
More reviews of SNOX help them move up the list on Amazon when people search for socks and the more SNOX Masterson sells, the more money goes to charity.
So far Masterson has donated $600 from the proceeds of SNOX to Remnant International, a charity, which helps Ugandan women who have fallen into prostitution.
She has a list of 12 charities so far that she plans to donate to. Also on her list are Direct Relief International, Scholarship America, Action Against Hunger and the CHOC Childrenâ€™s Foundation, a charity benefitting the hospital where Masterson stayed.
Masterson said she would also like to look into local charities or donating SNOX to a local childrenâ€™s hospital.
Ultimately, she would like to expand the entire business.
â€śI know this can grow so much bigger than it is right now,â€ť she said. â€śIâ€™ve already done this much and Iâ€™m really optimistic about the future. Iâ€™d like to start a movement of giving back.â€ť
Masterson cited TOMS as an inspiration, a company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased.
â€śI love how TOMS has a culture around it,â€ť she said. â€śIf SNOX got that it would be great.â€ť
She said she would consider donating a pair of SNOX for every pair purchased, but right now her focus is on donating the profits.
Masterson said she is surprised at how quickly SNOX have become popular.
â€śItâ€™s definitely grown way more than I expected it,â€ť she said.
Masterson plans to continue running her SNOX business once she graduates from Prout and goes to college. She said she is looking into entrepreneurial studies and so far Northeastern University is her favorite of the colleges she has visited.
â€śIâ€™m just really passionate about what we do,â€ť she said. â€śI hope that people love the message behind it.â€ť
SNOX are available for $9.99 a pair at www.snoxsocks.com or on Amazon.