An artistic passion has fueled the desire to create different things for Spokane entrepreneur Casandra Quintero. Through the encouragement and help of her husband Trent the couple have been growing this passion into a working reality since 2017 when Simply Me Gentlemen was founded as a Spokane based business. Since then they have expanded and created a secondary brand called Sub Sox.
Quintero had been making handmade products and selling them prior to that, but according to her she didn’t really get busy just selling on Etsy. She started selling on ETSY in 2012, but eventually met her husband, and Trent encouraged her to build an official business out of it.
“It was kind of tough at first,” said Casandra. “We had a lot going on with raising two children, operating an AirBnB, and life in general, so I wasn’t able to put 100 percent of my time into the business like I needed to.”
But as their life situation smoothed out, they were able to develop a full web-based business that sells and ships internationally. According to Casandra the business has already shipped products to 10 different countries, and she hopes they continue to grow for more than one reason.
Casandra has also led with a heart that reaches out to help whoever she can, and that has become one of the main points of their subsidiary brand Sub Sox.
The brand name is basically a play on words according to the couple, and Trent went on to explain exactly what Sub Sox really is.
“Sub Sox are made using the SUBlimation process,” said Trent. “This process takes sublimation ink and sublimation paper and when used on a heat press, transforms the ink into a gas and allows polyester fibers to absorb the ink and forever hold the design wash after wash.”
According to Casandra, for every pair of socks that are sold, the company donates a pair to nonprofits that help the homeless population.
“One of the main reasons for this is because the most needed item for homeless people are socks,” Casandra explained. “We also recently had a large order, so we will be donating 200-300 pairs just from one sale.”
Initially she was trying to stay as local as possible, but the business has grown to the point where they have partnered with UNICEF to help donate a portion of sales to assist Ukrainian refugees. They still like to remain as locally focused as possible according to Casandra, but they also just like to help where they can.
She continued by explaining that they have expanded in their sock donations and started a Socks for a Cause effort which donates to different non-profits helping different parts of the world.
“These socks are made for specific causes, such as helping Ukrainian women and children and I donate about 75 percent of those proceeds into UNICEF,” Casandra said. “With it being breast cancer awareness month we have socks to sell that benefit breast cancer awareness and treatment efforts.”
“We help women, children, animals, the homeless population, and our efforts are growing as the business does,” Casandra elaborated.
Art socks are also a major part of the Sub Sox brand, and this really allows Casandra to keep in touch with her passion for art. It allows her to correlate consignment sales as another avenue of business.
Creating socks this way allows the company to partner with local and regional artists such as Chris Bovey to create designs that can be printed on the socks and sold to benefit both the business and artists. But the benefits don’t stop there.
These efforts have translated into a circle of community support for their business as well, and they have been able to display their products in local corner stores for sale, which is the case with Bovey.
Bovey is a local artist, but also has shops of his own, and he displays a lot of products for Casandra.
“David & Faith Story of Little Garden Cafe been amazing to us,” said Casandra “They have allowed us to have our products at their Audubon and Whitworth locations.”
This year has been very successful according to Casandra, but their business actually gained more ground during the COVID pandemic.
“Oddly enough we actually saw a lot of growth during COVID because facemasks were in very high demand and we made a lot of them,” said Casandra. “They would sell extremely quickly, and I just kept making them and getting them on the site. It really did give our business a boost even during the unfortunate circumstances.”
Moving forward, Casandra has a similar mindset and wants to continue down the same path and grow in both financial gain and in community support and partnerships.
“Our ultimate goal is mainly to just do good and have a positive impact with the products we put out,” the entrepreneur said. “We firmly believe in what we do and it just feels good to know we can make a difference. You can help others without breaking the bank. People can do something as simple as buy a pair of socks and it will help someone else in the community.”
Now carrying their third child, Casandra explained she wants to make sure the family can be financially cared for through the business, but she also wants her children to know the importance of being proactive and helpful.