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The Story Behind the Socks.

The Story Behind the Socks.

You may have recently purchased a pair of Pelotonia socks during the 2018 Markdown Sale, but do you know the “story of the socks?”

Aaron Conley met Max Vokhgelt at Local Matters, a local non-profit organization in Columbus, Ohio. Aaron, the Sous Chef, and Max a frequent volunteer, quickly became good friends.  They shared a passion for helping others, social justice, food, and eventually shared a personal connection to cancer.

As a teen, Max went through a long battle with leukemia and was no stranger to doctors, chemotherapy, and hospitals. He met Aaron right before Aaron found out he had cancer, and with all the different experiences Max had gone through, they quickly bonded through similar fears, entertaining stories, and experiences throughout the cancer diagnosis and treatment. Max had amazing insight into all that you could expect to go through once you were diagnosed with cancer, and Aaron greatly appreciated a friend to give him the good, the bad, and the ugly.

As their friendship continued, Aaron shared with Max his dream of someday owning his own business. Aaron “really enjoyed Max and his energy, so I knew that I could someday go into business with him.”   Aaron shared that since college he had been constantly wearing mismatched socks because he disliked doing laundry. “What started as a desire to not consistently do laundry, led to creating my own personal aesthetic for mismatched socks as a fashion accessory and conversation starter.”  He and Max would often laugh about this origin and realized that their business model would be selling curated mismatched socks paired around designs or concepts. Max would take on the logistics, marketing, and PR side of the business, while Aaron would handle the creative aspects.

In the summer of 2015, Aaron and Max launched their business. It took a few months, but they were determined to launch right before Christmas of 2015. Their determination and ambition helped to ensure that they had a tremendous launch.

One of their favorite pairs? A Moby Dick-inspired pair featuring cartoonish whales and anchors. They would also include mismatched patterns, shapes, and colors.
Their goal was to one day create a mismatched sock that could be sold for Pelotonia to raise money for the thing that truly connected them, cancer.

Not shortly after launching, Max learned that his leukemia was back. They continued running their business throughout his treatment, but only 6 months after launching, Max passed away from complications with leukemia. He was 24 years old.

“Max had a vibrancy to him that was infectious. His laugh, smile, and love of life made it impossible not to want to be around him.  He cared about everyone and would volunteer across the city to help others. It was never about him, it was about everyone else.”

After Max passed away, Aaron didn’t have the time or the energy to continue to run their company without him. “Max was such a large part of it. He was the creative one behind the operation. I ultimately decided to no longer pursue it without him. It wasn’t an easy decision, but ultimately was the right one.”

These “Max inspired” socks are currently selling in the Pelotonia store and will be available during the 2018 Pelotonia Check Celebration. Each pair that is purchased is a reminder to continue to “live your life to the Max.”


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