Meet the Folks Behind the Products: Daniel Weaver
Behind each product is a story. An inspiration. A goal. Here at Miller's Plain Clothing, we strive to choose our products based not only on the quality and durability of each piece, but also because of the people who make them a reality. Take a few minutes to meet the folks responsible for supplying us with products you can trust at prices you can afford.
Daniel Weaver has been selling socks for 21 years. It's a job he loves, and he's glad he found it because there's one aspect of it he really appreciates. But it took a while and a whole lot of brainstorming before he found his path.
Daniel knew he was a people person from a very young age. As a young Amish boy living on his parents' farm in rural Ohio, Weaver's hero was his grandfather, Monroe Weaver, an honest man who was always selling something and often found smack-dab in the center of activity.
"As a little boy, it was exciting to be with Grandpa," Daniel remembers. "He was a good example for me and a motivated entrepreneur."
Daniel especially enjoyed attending the horse sales at the auction house his grandfather managed, walking the horses around the arena, a task well-suited for Daniel because it put him in center stage. At age 10, he even tried following in his grandfather's entrepreneurial footsteps by peddling cases of Smith's Rosebud Salve, a sweet-smelling all-purpose moisturizing balm, good for chapped skin, diaper rash, burns and more. It was a salve his his grandfather loved, so he knew it must be good.
As he grew older, he worked on the family farm, but it wasn't long before he decided farming just wasn't for him--it was too solitary. So he tried building cabinets, but that wasn't his thing, either. Married and with a family to care for, Daniel eagerly sought answers.
Daniel approached his old friend and Christian mentor Alvin Beachy and asked, "What can a young couple do to make a living?" Alvin gave Daniel the idea to start a ready-made mutza suit business, selling straight-cut suits worn by Amish men, the kind without collars, lapels or pockets. Daniel grabbed hold of the idea and was soon employing as many as 30 home-seamstresses who were sewing suits, pants, and coats. For nearly 20 years, that business thrived and grew with Daniel adding other items along the way--women's scarves, winter hats, children's books, nursing accessories, and more. He realized there was a need for one item that was becoming more and more difficult for the plain community to find--well-made, comfortable, durable socks in plain colors. He contacted a supplier who made socks specifically for the Amish, Mennonite and Hutterite communities, and the two businesses worked together to create a complete line of socks ranging from children's, girls', and ladies' knee-highs that are designed specifically with Amish dress-lengths in mind, to men's dress and sport socks, all in cotton, nylon, and rayon, and in plain patterns, colors, and styles. Most are made in the United States by small mills that focus on consistency and quality.
"There's a huge need for well-made socks in colors and styles for the plain communities," Daniel says. "Most retail stores only carry a few styles, and the socks don't last. There's especially a need for women's socks. Amish girls are hardworking, and they need good, hardworking socks, too."
It wasn't long before sock sales took off, especially since Daniel offered sizes that were difficult to find elsewhere, like extra wide and extra long for women and King Size for men, ultimately carrying a line of socks and hosiery for the whole family, from the smallest baby to the biggest papa. After all, Daniel says, the right size is crucial for a good fit.
"The best way to keep your socks up is to buy a sock that's big enough for you," Daniel says. "If they want to fall down, it's because they're too small."
Daniel sold the suit business in 2013, and now he focuses primarily on selling high-quality socks. Until recently, those socks have been available only to Daniel's wholesale clients, the small, rural general stores dotted throughout plain communities. Now, Miller's Plain Clothing has dozens of styles available online for people everywhere who want American-made socks that last, fit comfortably, and stay up when you pull them up. Hardworking socks, plain and simple.