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Chadwick School - 26800 S Academy Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA - (310) 377-1543


Volume 65 Number 4

Senior Spotlight: Ryan Apfel packs a punch with his socks

by Ekaterina Smith - 2015-02-19


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Senior Ryan Apfel’s entrepreneurship, creativity and friendliness have all contributed to the success of his sock business, and helped set him apart from the peers in his grade.

Apfel started by admiring the socks on other basketball players, and the creativity of the designs sparked his curiosity. He wondered if he could somehow make socks similar to those. The summer before his junior year, Apfel figured out how to start his own sock business and taught himself new skills.

He first bought the equipment and supplies necessary to make the socks. Using the money he earned from his summer job, Apfel purchased a desktop computer, heat press, special printer with ink and other supplies, and subscription to software. Using white polyester socks, usually from Nike, he would first heat- press the socks to warm them. Then he created his sock designs in photoshop. Apfel then uses the special transfer paper called T Transfer Paper, ink, and a special printer to print out the socks. It takes about six to seven minutes to make each pair of socks.

“Each pair is individually done, so it’s a pretty tedious process. Even so, I really enjoy making them. My favorite design is a pair of socks that uses a design similar to Kanye West’s album cover of Watch the Throne,” Apfel said.

He first taught himself how to run a business and code websites. Initially, he sold his socks to friends and family, and on eBay. After success with these clients, he decided to create his own website.

During his junior year, he was able to take his business, Ideal Socks, and put it into action. He talked to classmate Rachael Chait about designing socks for junior students to wear on the day of Homecoming. Printing the American Flag on the socks, he then added “Class of 2015” on the back to go with the theme of “Hoe Down, Throw Down.”

“Seeing my classmates wear [my] socks was a prideful moment because my sock business was in the very early stages. I was unsure of what I was doing at that time, and it was nice to see people wearing them. It peaked my confidence that I could actually achieve this,” Apfel said.

His company has since expanded greatly. In 2014, he had customers from sports teams, businesses, youth groups, and families and individuals who wanted custom-made socks for a specific event.

“Tons of orders from the website made things stressful and busy, especially going into senior year. It was hard to keep up with the demand, but I’m learning so many useful skills that will be helpful for me later on in life,” Apfel said.

He hopes to continue his sock business in college. Because he won’t be in Los Angeles, Apfel can’t bring the equipment with him. He will most likely hire someone to physically make the socks, while he creates the designs and handles the business-related aspects. Apfel has hopes for the business, but also wonders what else he could do with the knowledge he has learned from his entrepreneurial experiences.

“Making socks is not exactly limitless. There are certain things I can’t do with it, and it’s extremely time-consuming. Sometimes I think about what else I could be doing with my time, but I definitely want to continue the business and see where it takes me,” Apfel said.

While in college, Apfel hopes to major in a subject related to business or engineering, with a possible minor in computer science. He also wants to continue his extracurricular activities at Chadwick, such as playing basketball and doing community service. Right now he plays on the varsity basketball team, volunteers at Fifteenth Street, serves as an Admiral, and donates his socks.

Apfel has mixed emotions about being a second-semester senior. He will miss the Los Angeles area and his home, but he is eager to pursue new endeavors.

“I still don’t care [about school]. It honestly feels the same as first semester, except it doesn’t matter as much. I’m excited to conquer new mountains in college,” Apfel said.

His highlights of senior year include Homecoming, Mammoth weekend and basketball.

“On a scale of 1 to Chipotle, I’m a Shake Shack,” Apfel said.



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Article Keywords:

senior, apfel, sock, business, basketball, year, design

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