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Why A Bay Area Broker Left RE for Socks

After years of giving tenants office tours, Manton Paine decided he was in the wrong business. Instead, socks was the way to go. We chatted with Manton, who told us why his time in real estate opened his eyes to starting a business.

Manton, who worked at NAI Northern California and Piedmont Capital, recently launched his sock company called Heath Paine. They're dress socks that don't stink, combining fabric innovation from the athletic industry with stylish patterns a real estate exec covets. "We're very excited to change the status quo for men who get their daily sweat in the office, not just the gym," he says. Giving real estate tours throughout the city helped Manton see the need for a more comfortable option to the basic, cotton, men's dress sock, while also offering a gamut of designs, from solids to stripes and polkas to paisleys.

Manton tested the waters of debt financing for commercial properties and leasing, developing an interest in startups while dealing with smaller to midsized companies experiencing growth and looking for space in the FiDi. After leaving commercial RE to pursue startup life, he worked for two companies in tech sales. There he found himself pounding the phones in a high-energy environment and found an opportunity within day-to-day work clothing.

He realized that styles haven't really changed much, and neither has the fabric. Manton and his best friend, Chance Heath, were more comfortable after a run or workout than a day at the office, which got them thinking. Woven with elemental silver thread at its core, the socks run about $18.50/pair and are antimicrobial and resist odor. More products like polos and outerwear are on the horizon

Finlay Pacific principal Matt Brasler (breaking a sweat on the left) is a former real estate colleague of Manton and tells us he is such a fan of the product that he's an angel investor in the company.