Matthew Tesvich, a senior management and information systems major at the University of Georgia, has always had a passion for baseball. When the career path he expected didn’t pan out the way he wanted it to, he took his inspiration from his love for the sport and started an odorless sock business that he hopes will help change people’s lives.
Tesvich started his company, OX SOX, in the fall of last year, selling antimicrobial socks that minimize foot smell. He won first prize at the UGA Entrepreneurship Idea Accelerator Demo Day in October 2022, earning $2,500 to market his product.
The need for the product came from his mom, who would never let him bring his dirty socks into the house after baseball practice. Tesvich has played baseball from a very young age.
“My dream was to play baseball professionally at night and be a CEO during the day,” Tesvich said.
Tesvich took a gap year to train and get stronger before he began his college baseball journey, but his original goals had to pivot right before he was meant to try out for a big school.
“I ended up tearing both of my shoulder labrums and my UCL,” Tesvich said. “I ended up tearing my throwing shoulder and my other shoulder, which is not common, so it was like a triple-whammy. And the recovery time for all that would have been over two years.”
After the injuries, Tesvich’s goals of playing college and professional baseball were quickly diminished. This left him feeling defeated but also eager to focus on growing his business selling odorless socks.
The idea came to Tesvich after coming across a towel made of an odor-wicking material. He decided to apply the same fabric to create footwear.
It took about 18 months for the idea to develop into a finished product. Tesvich experimented with different fabrics covered in antibacterial sprays, but soon stumbled upon anti-bacterial threads. According to Tesvich, these nylon and cotton fabrics are able to prevent odors, even after multiple washes.
Gehrig Frei, a sophomore exercise science major at the University of North Alabama, worked with Tesvich since the beginning of his business venture.
“Matthew is the single most driven person my age that I’ve ever met [so it’s] no surprise to me why his company is succeeding right now,” Frei said.
Frei has been able to help Tesvich with many aspects of his company, from designing logos to taking photos for social media.
Clayton Oetting, a 27-year-old entrepreneur from Augusta, Georgia, has helped give business advice and mentorship to Tesvich.
“[Tesvich is] so focused on what he has decided to devote himself to, that there’s no room for anything else, aside from friends and people,” Oetting said. “[He] is one of the most deserving people that I’ve ever met of the success that he’s having.”
In addition to support from friends and mentors, Tesvich learned a host of new skills through the UGA Entrepreneurship Program’s Idea Accelerator. This business workshop spans four weeks and pairs student startups with experienced entrepreneurs.
“They want you to come in with an idea, whether you have a physical product or service, or it’s just an idea. And the whole idea of it is to pressure-test your idea to see if it’s viable,” Tesvich said.
In the program, students have the opportunity to develop their product or service, then pitch their business to a panel of judges to compete for funding.
“It was just really awesome to see the judges unanimously pick OX SOX. It was just cool because my idea came together… People actually want this and it’s something that could really help people,” Tesvich said.
After rethinking his future after his injury and securing first place in the business program, Tesvich’s startup seems to have started off on the right foot, aiming to help those with stinky feet.