UCHS grad Emmons ready to knock ‘socks’ off

UCHS grad Emmons ready to knock ‘socks’ off
Union City High School graduate Sharp Emmons is ready to knock the sporting apparel world’s socks off, literally, and replace them with some of his own.
Emmons, a 1989 graduate of UCHS and an avid cyclist, has taken his upstart sock company — Swiftwick — to the next level and he has hopes of marketing the footwear to the masses.
“Originally, I designed these socks out of my love for cycling,” Emmons, 37, admitted. “However, no matter what walk of life one is in, if a person wears these socks, they can benefit.
The Union City native and son of Jim and Jill Emmons had been cycling on and off since his college days at the University of Tennessee (1989-1994).
In Knoxville, he did it, primarily, to stay in shape, but a few years back he took the sport up again as a leisure activity.
Years removed from those experiences and married to wife Elizabeth and with 1-year-old daughter Vivian in Brentwood, Emmons began his latest business venture in January 2007 with his socks made from merino wool and olefin — which is a fiber he said deters moisture and dries quickly.
Eventually, Emmons was able to get his feet wet with the sock put to the test by Jittery Joe’s Pro Cycling team from Atlanta and the Luna Pro women’s team in Berkley, Ca.
From there, the footwear has taken off, with Robbie McEwen wearing Swiftwick socks in several stages of last year’s Tour de France.
“One of the first keys was to get the name out there and get exposure for the brand,” Emmons said. “Whether that meant going to trade shows or on a few rides to demonstrate them to other cyclists and get the brand name out there.
“Now, we’ve quadrupled the size of our business in the past four months and recently I brought on some partners to help to invest into distribution channels and building our inventory. We’re trying now to find more retailers and get the socks into not only cycling shops but in golf shops, as well.”
Indeed, the company has grown as Swiftwick socks, which are manufactured in Cleveland, are now readily available in 50 retailers in 10 states, and the business recently received coverage nationally on CNN’s Web site.
Furthermore, one retailer sold out of its shipment of the Swiftwick footwear in just two weeks.
Yet, for Emmons, who did extensive work in graphic design before his latest endeavor, the best is hopefully to come with the business still in its infancy while gaining national attention.
“Though I initially designed the sock for cyclists, it can benefit people in all lines of work,” Emmons boasts. “Whether one is a nurse, or an athlete, these socks give better circulation to the feet and everyone could use that, especially those people who are on their feet all day.”
And if that’s the case, it may just be a matter of time before Swiftwick makes a swift kick through the sock industry’s door and makes itself at home.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.
On the Web: www.swiftwick.com

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