MARTINSVILLE, Ind. – One of Indiana’s Very Own companies is headed to Super Bowl 53.
For Bare Feet, otherwise known as FBF Originals, is the largest team-licensed sock manufacturer in the United States. Sharon Rivenbark started it in 1984 when her son was sick. The company grew significantly and started licensing their product. Today, a staff of 110 people makes custom footwear for dozens of companies and landmarks nationwide.
“Everyone is a part of it and makes a difference,” CEO Kelly Baugh said. “It’s a team effort. The whole team gets involved.”
FBF Originals is known for its NFL-branded socks. It has been making extra pairs with the Rams and Patriots logo ahead of the 2019 Super Bowl.
“After 34 years of being in business and a licensee with the NFL for over 20 years, I’d like to think and say that we’ve pretty much gotten a process down,” Baugh explained. “It’s always hectic and you’re always putting last minute things together but it’s not chaos by any means.”
Baugh showed CBS4 around the facility and explained how each sock is made.
“They will program the machine. They set up all the different yarn and thread it all the way in through the machine,” she said. “On one particular machine, there can be 168 needles that are rotating inside.”
CBS4 watched as the machine pulled the sock out of a tube, turned it inside-out, and sewed the toe.
“Then, it shoots out the side via air compression, and you have a finished product,” Baugh explained. “It takes about a minute, minute and a half.”
Every day, FBF Originals makes thousands of socks and sends them to retailers nationwide. Many are now ordering what they refer to as “if-win” shipments.
“So if the Patriots win, they’ll place this many ‘X’ amount of product they feel they can sell. If the Rams win, they will place this much ‘X’ amount of product they feel they could sell and we chase that,” Baugh said. “I always root for the person that is going to produce the most product and volume.”
Third-shift will go into the facility Sunday night and wait for the Super Bowl game to be over. The minute the refs blow the final whistle, crews will program each machine to start making socks with the winner’s logo on them.
“We will manufacture more product because they always underorder and sell out just like Toy Story,” Baugh laughed.
On Monday, FBF Originals will start shipping the unique socks. Retailers should have them by Monday night or Tuesday morning.