Former George Brown student creates coveted Leafs nation souvenir
What started as a beer-league hockey dressing-room joke has become a full-blown business for Thomas McCole, a former George Brown College student.
Babsocks, blue socks with white strips featuring the face of Toronto Maple Leafs head coach, Mike Babcock, garnered interest almost immediately from major media outlets including Rogers Sportsnet, Fox Sports, and Yahoo Sports. But the transition from locker-room talk to coveted Leafs paraphernalia has not been without its challenges, especially with securing a manufacturer.
“We were scrambling like mad men,” said McCole. “There was a lot of sleepless and stressful nights where communication had broken down between us and the manufacturing.”
With Christmas approaching and close to one thousand orders waiting, McCole and his business partner Jake Mednick had no reliable suppliers. McCole thought that unless they could get it together and deliver the socks, Babsocks might be finished.
Following the advice of his father, McCole approached a family friend, Nam Leung who also ran a local Canada Post location. According to McCole, the Leung made some calls and set up Babsocks with a reliable manufacturer in China. Babsocks was able to meet its holiday rush, and in McCole’s words, Leung “saved us, basically.”
Babsocks boomed so quickly that McCole had to stop pursuing his marketing diploma at George Brown last fall. He still draws on the experience of faculty from the college.
Professor Lori Futterer, who taught McCole at George Brown, has been impressed by the success of Babsocks. “Not only did they come up with a creative idea, they have such great initiative from idea conception to production, logistics to advertising and public relations, they have just gotten it done.”
Even the namesake of Babsocks, Stanley Cup and Olympic gold-medal winning coach Mike Babcock is getting in on the action. According to McCole, coach Babcock ordered 30 pairs of Babsocks through his assistant just before Christmas. McCole offered to give the socks to Babcock for free, but the Maple Leafs coach was adamant about paying.
“That’s our closest contact with the coach, but hopefully in the near future we can shake the man’s hand,” said McCole.