Gandys Flip Flops is a new start up brand like no other. My brother Paul and I started the brand last year out of our bedroom in Brixton, London. We have gained momentum quicker than we could have ever imagined and are now launching in most major fashion and footwear retailers in the UK.
My brother and I had a very unique upbringing, which is now put to good use in the day to day running of our company. We were taken out of our school in Croydon aged 13 and 11 to travel around India and the Sub-continent with our parents, younger brother and sister. We gained an invaluable education along the way by volunteering in children's homes and by having a more hands on approach than the standard classroom lessons over here. We experienced different cultures and had our eyes totally opened. Unfortunately whilst travelling in Sri Lanka over the Christmas period of 2004, we were subject to the catastrophic Boxing Day tsunami that struck our guest house on the beach early in the morning separating our family and leaving us all fighting for our lives. After the initial shock we managed to find our younger brother and sister perched high up in trees close by but tragically our parents had been killed. We narrowly survived ourselves and all at a very young age fragile and injured had to hitch-hike 200km to the national airport with no food, money and only the clothes we woke up in.
The Start of Gandys
After the tsunami tragedy my brother and I travelled individually across the world and continue to search for adventure and enjoy our passion for travel. We are young lads like anyone else we enjoy chilling with our friends, having a beer and listening to music. One morning I woke up hungover at a festival with a mouth like 'Gandhi's flip flop'...and the idea was born! I researched if anyone had made a flip flop with the name and to my surprise, they hadn't! I surprised Paul for his 21st birthday in Australia and told him about the idea, eventually 6 months later I persuaded him to come back to begin our new brand of flip flops, Gandys.
We rented a flat in Brixton with a friend with Paul sleeping on the sofa for over a year to save money, each day and night developing the brand and the product.
We have seen a terrific response from the media with great write ups from The Times, Cosmo, The Telegraph and the Evening Standard leading to huge interest from the public.
As of March this year, we are launching into House of Fraser, ASOS, Soletrader, Schuh, Topman Oxford Street to name just a few of our retailers. This has all come in one year from when we got the first samples delivered to our flat in Brixton.
'Orphans for Orphans'
With the experiences we've had it was important for us to give something back from our brand. We have started our 'Orphans for Orphans' initiative whereby 10% of all of our profits are given back to those less fortunate. We currently support Mango House, a children's home in Goa where we spent a lot of time with our family prior to the tsunami. We have already this year funded a teacher for 100 of the children and all of the equipment necessary for their teaching. By the 10th anniversary of the tsunami, we aim to have our own orphanage built in memory of our parents, Kevin and Sandra, and to keep building and running orphanages across the world as we grow the brand.
By Rob Forkan
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