Bombas: Developing a Company, Developing an Identity

The name Bombas socks may sound odd, but the meaning of the name stems from the Latin word for bumblebee. Dave Heath, one of the co-founders of the company, discusses his sock brand’s mission stems from altruism, just as bees work. The main story, or identity, Heath wants to project onto customers is one of humanitarianism as Bombas donates one sock to a homeless shelter for every pair sold. While Heath was able to relatively easily discover his brand’s story as an altruistic one, maintaining this identity has not always been easy. Indeed, at the heart of this difficulty lay a tension between what those who work at the company imagine the brand vision versus what the customers envision as the brand’s goals. Indeed, Heath explains that for a long time he tried to market Bombas as an activewear brand, but after taking note of customer service compliments, he discovered that customers liked Bombas socks more for their comfort. Navigating this tension carefully is what Heath believes makes a company successful or not. He mentions that many companies, in fact, also fail to recognize this tension. Heath notes he uses his “gut” to overcome this difficulty. Although he uses data predominantly as a way to gauge how to market his products, he acknowledges that there is an extent to its usefulness. He says, “I’m willing to forfeit some of the data if I truly believe it will damage our longer term image.”