MB016: Bringing traditional American style to the modern era with Josh Steinman

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In this episode we talk about fighting dictators, what makes a good sock, and launching a company while still serving with Josh Steinman.



The Pre-Brief: Josh Steinman is an active duty Naval Officer and entrepreneur. While serving, he identified a gap in the men’s fashion market and launched his company through a Kickstarter campaign. His company, Penance Hall, makes high quality American-made dress socks in bold and innovative colors, breaking down walls of conformity to bring traditional American style to the modern era.

Download the Show Notes


  • Josh’s path to service: Josh was in college and saw his friends going off to Wall Street, but he wanted to do something a little different. Through a naval recruiter, Josh saw the opportunity to take a different path through the military.
  • Business idea: Josh wanted to develop a business as a way of challenging way of learning. He was working in an embassy and decided to set himself apart by wearing crazy colored socks and quickly became known as the sock guy. Though the socks were a hit, hey kept falling down and Josh started looking for colorful socks that would stay up. When he could not find them, he decided to start Penance Hall.
  • First Steps: Josh did a lot of research to truly understand the sock market before ordering his first run. He learned the language of the business, how quality is measured and talked to the people that were successful in the market.
  • The Market:Entering the sock market requires a large capital investment due to the large minimum order quantities of thread and access to the machines that stitch the socks together.
  • Highlight: Take advantage of your military background and craft a well written email to the people that you want to build a relationship with.
  • Quote: General Creighton Abrams on Tackling Large Tasks – “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.”

Answers for the BIG 5

  • One thing to learn: Learn how to listen to yourself and to other people.
  • One action to take now: Find your tribe, become part of the community that is doing what you want to do.
  • Favorite book: Zero to One by Peter Theil
  • Favorite Resource: The Internet – look up everything you don’t know. There is nothing that you cannot learn.
  • One thing to enjoy outside of work: Friends and Family.

Resources for this episode:

How to reach Josh.


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