OER speaks to Gordon Fraser, owner of Teko, about the brand and their new partnership deal with AMG Group.
Can you please introduce yourself and your role with Teko Eco Performance Socks?
My name is Gordon Fraser and I’m the owner of Teko socks. I consider myself a below-the-knee specialist and someone who understands feet, footwear, physiology and function. I founded Teko socks to bring a product to the market that could be made easily in Europe using high quality eco-friendly yarns and processes. Our objective is to make the best sock on the planet and the best sock for the planet.
Can you give us a brief overview of Teko and its history?
I have been involved with footwear for many, many years and teaching people how to fit feet for over 25 years; learning from great mentors like Phil Oren and Roberto La Rosa. I started my footwear brand, Anatom, and had worked on the sock brand Smartwool in the UK for a decade. From this point, I invested in Teko socks. I was told in 1999 when I was launching Smartwool that no one would wear wool. It was too itchy and too difficult to look after. Well, I think merino wool has proved the sceptics wrong and merino is now a huge part of the business. I see Teko as a visionary brand doing things that are actually ahead of its time. Our sales are growing every year as more and more people understand what we stand for and appreciate the comfort, performance and durability of our socks. Winning the double at ISPO last year gave me a tremendous boost of confidence and with the new AMG partnership we are now poised to take the business to the next level.
In your opinion what is it that defines the Teko brand?
It walks the talk! The brand does not ‘greenwash’ and it stands for designing truly advanced technical socks which are eco-friendly. Hence the name Teko, technical and ecological. We know our mission is a journey and we seek to improve everything we do our manufacturing processes every day.
That’s a great story there on the eco side of manufacturing Teko, can you tell us a bit more about it?
I believe we are the one of the very few companies with a full-circular–economy product. One example would be our micro fibre yarn. It outperforms almost everything out there plus it is made from regenerated commercial fishing nets. Many of these nets come from the west of Scotland which has a substantial salmon fishing and farming industry. Our socks strive to be ecologically friendly in all processes. We have three complimentary yarns:
- 1. Merino.xc® which is a pure, natural merino wool from South America which is shrink-proofed using a Bluesign certified chlorine-free process.
2. Evapor8 Ultralight® is a unique synthetic microfibre made from regenerated commercial fishing nets. The microfibre is ultralight and completely breathable.
3. Merino-Sinergi® is our third yarn made from a combination of merino.xc® and evapor8 ultralight® to deliver a faster drying, more durable merino-based sock.
AMG Group now hold the global licence for the brand. What drew you to work with AMG Group?
The market is consolidating and I am not getting any younger! My aim is to work with a strong, well established and highly respected company that could help expand the brand globally. AMG are forward thinking with an outstanding team. Working with them will allow me to do what I do best, which is to design and develop innovative products and yarns.
What opportunities does AMG Group offer Teko?
The list is endless! Experience, passion and expertise. They also have a great creative/marketing team complimented by a knowledgeable sales and international team. AMG have the logistical and operational capabilities that will allow Teko to meet increasing demand in the future.
In a competitive market do you think that there are still development breakthroughs to be made in socks?
Absolutely, we are constantly innovating and Teko is unique in the market. We have several key innovations such as the Achilles Wrap System™ which re-defines how our socks fit compared to all other brands. We also have the Ripple System™ which helped us to reach the finals of the Innovation Award at the OutDoor Show in Germany last year. The Ripple System™ helps accelerate moisture evaporation like no other sock and we have many more innovations up our sleeves (or socks!).
So how will Teko continue to innovative?
The physiology of feet, socks and footwear is hugely complex. We want to ensure that we create the best sock possible for the variety of demands placed on the foot. Performance and comfort are what we aim for; innovating and pushing limits to achieve this.
You are also now a Footwear Design and Development Consultant for AMG Group – can you tell us more about your role with the company?
I will spearhead the development of everything below-the-knee; whether that be socks, footwear or insoles within AMG.
Are there any other developments or future plans for Teko?
We will launch our new Teko Mountain Freeride™ ski socks next winter and we are just finalising our new Super Evolution ski sock collection.
Why should retailers choose Teko?
Teko offers many things not available from other sock brands. We are totally unique: great price point, high performance and ecologically sound! On a business level, AMG offer excellent support and the B2B Portal they operate gives the retailer the option to replenish their sock stocks very easily and efficiently.