Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Milwaukee high school student's business keeps the feet of the homeless warm in winter

Liv Partenfelder is a sophomore at Pathways High School – a new charter school that opened its doors on Walnut Street two years ago. Partenfelder is part of the school’s first class. Pathways emphasizes project-based learning, and during an entrepreneurship class her freshman year, Partenfelder started her own non-profit business called MKE Socks.

Learn more about Partenfelder’s business in the audio story below.

MKE Socks was inspired by a Facebook post. Partenfelder remembers reading a post stating socks are the “most needed, but least donated item” in homeless shelters. During her entrepreneurship class, her instructor asked the class to think of something that upsets them, something they think they had the ability to change. Partenfelder thought about the socks.

During the entrepreneurship class, Partenfelder led the group throughout with her business idea called MKE Socks. Pathways High School hosted a pitch night where the students were able to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges and community members interested in learning about the businesses.

Later that evening, Partenfelder got a phone call that would change everything. An investor walked over to her group and offered to fund MKE Socks. By the end of her entrepreneurship class, she walked away with a funded non-profit business.

She based her one-for-one business model off the shoe brand TOMS. For every pair of socks she sold, she would donate a pair to a local shelter. Creating a business was Partenfelder’s solution to the lack of donated socks to shelters. Slowly but surely, her business is working to tackle this problem by fulfilling the need for socks.

So far, her business has sold 200 pairs of socks. With an excess of supply, MKE Socks has donated over 250 pairs to various shelters around Milwaukee. If you’re interested in checking out Partenfelder’s business in-person, she will be selling her socks at the Chriskindl Market in West Allis on December 1 and December 2.