Sam Harper was thrust into the life of a social entrepreneur early.
“I was 18, and my buddy asked me to join a class project,” he recalls.
A student at St. John’s University in Minnesota, Sam said yes to an audacious plan – selling warm knit beanies with a give-back model that would provide a free beanie for every child suffering from cancer in the United States.
It was a new business model at the time that took off after a few short years, inspiring Sam to search for his own socially conscious business concept as college came to a close.
The next opportunity popped up quickly. “One of my friends had this idea for a sock company,” Sam says. “He discovered that socks were the most requested, but least donated item at homeless shelters across America.”
The friend was Michael Mader, another Minneapolis-based social entrepreneur searching for a way to help the local homeless community. So in 2016, Sam and Michael joined forces to launch Hippy Feet, a one-for-one social enterprise that sold warm, fuzzy socks to consumers and donated free pairs to homeless folks in need.