Photo Credit: Dedoles

What do colourful mismatched socks have in common with the meetings industry? The success story of Slovakia’s company Dedoles, based in Bratislava, is the story of an innovative company focused on sustainability. Likewise, tourism, business travel and event organising are acknowledging and encouraging sustainable development.

In 2011, Jaroslav Chrapko, the founder of Dedoles, decided to open his online business as a marketplace for selling clothes that would respect nature and humanity. What started as a simple idea became an inspiring story in ten years.

Not only has the Slovakian company increased their sales from EUR 100.000 in 2012 to EUR 6 million in 2019, but they have also expanded into 20 European countries, thus sharing their joy for unique socks and clothing with countless others. The company devotes much of its energy, resources and time to CSR projects. In 2018, for instance, they conceived a forest planting project which has resulted in over 80.000 trees planted. Moreover, their project Sock Challenge helped spread awareness about Down syndrome, while the company also helped UNICEF battle child malnutrition.

When purchasing a Dedoles product, the customer can decide to round up the final price to the nearest euro. All the money down to the last penny is given to projects that support tree planting, environmental protection, or socially disadvantaged people. Dedoles chooses projects that coincide with at least one of the goals of sustainable development, set by the UN. During the pandemic, they raised EUR 55.000 for WHO and gave away 4,000 pairs of socks to healthcare professionals.

Photo Credit: Dedoles

Innovative leaders in the region

Today, the company employs over 400 people and among them, numerous creative minds create vivid images of socks, underwear and new products, such as swimwear and flip-flops. Dedoles is among a handful of companies that feature their success stories with important milestones on their official website.

Photo Credit: Dedoles

“Our strategy is to achieve rapid growth and the position of an innovative leader in the region”

After the first four years of operation, the company changed their strategy and instead of importing T-shirts from the US, started making its own products, while building its brand. As the CEO of Dedoles, Jaroslav Chrapko said: “We want to reinvest the money we now make not only in creating new jobs but also in innovation, research and ecology. Our strategy is to achieve rapid growth and the position of an innovative leader in the region, which will help move the entire business ecosystem forward in more areas…. if we want to be competitive as a country, we need to establish ourselves in new industries.”

Dedoles have used the corona crisis for the launch of a campaign with dancing hamsters, which was planned sometime before the lock-down. It was right on time as customers began to use the Internet more frequently for online shopping.

How can meeting planners benefit from Dedoles?

We hope that live events will be back soon and that they will be different and better as before the corona crisis. We believe that the ROI of business travel and meetings will be more important. More clients and event organisers will be implementing CSR programmes in their conferences, incentives and team-buildings.

Dedoles can be a good practice case for both meeting and incentive planners. Maybe you will get an idea for participants of your conference or incentive to prepare a creative challenge for them.

This article was implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic.