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More than a feeling, it's a real live business

There are no pesky seams in those socks to annoy your toes, either.

These products are made from a combination of lambs wool and acrylic, which makes them warmer and longer lasting than 100 percent wool. Lewis says the super-soft brushed lambs wool is the part that touches your skin. She advises not wearing a shoe or boot that is too tight, as the breathability of wool is an important quality that keeps in the heat.

Ah, but it is a heat without the clamminess sometimes associated with other socks.

Lewis says her socks are prefect for people with diabetes, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, arthritis or poor circulation, as they consistently keep your feet warm and comfy.

Lewis had previously been in the medical field, first as an RN, and after her kids were born, as a medical transcriptionist. Her three adult daughters are all married, and have produced five grandchildren, so family demands are much less now.

About three years ago, Lewis became handicapped by complications of asthma, leaving her using a walker or wheelchair and on oxygen much of the time. “You can only watch so much TV and read so many books,” she says, describing her post-employment boredom.

A trip to her podiatrist’s office in March 2004 turned her life around. She bought a pair of socks at the office, and as she wore them, she “fell in love,” and wanted to give out that same soft and cozy feeling for Christmas.

A label in the socks led to a woman who is the distributor in Canada, and the two of them talked over an extended time. Eventually, Lewis contacted the company in New Zealand that makes her beloved socks.

Having done some market research, she placed her first order in October 2004, and lined up several holiday shows. She attended those events with a full-size stuffed sheep wearing the socks as her attention-getter. “People love to touch them,” she says.

Lewis has sold well over 2,000 pair of socks, and now has repeat customers. She went wholesale in January 2005, and one of her business goals is to have every state covered within two years. “So far, it’s like a dream!” she says. She puts in between 2 and 12 hours per day, and currently has someone designing a website.

She contacted the New Zealand company and special-ordered larger sizes, wondering aloud if America grows men with larger feet, or if New Zealanders are small-footed.

She’ll get to find out firsthand, as she and her husband plan a trip to Levin, New Zealand, this spring to visit the factory and meet the people who create these wondrous socks.

You may contact Jeannine Lewis at Soft & Cozy by calling 698-1090.

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