Remember those exciting, perhaps nerve-racking, entrepreneurial ‘firsts’?
Your first pitch? Your first networking event? Your first employee?
Remember the thoughts before you embarked on those ‘firsts’? Perhaps they went along the lines of, “How the hell do you do this? How do you do that?”
That’s the sort of thing Rob Forkan was saying to himself and to his brother Paul, as they embarked on their vision to create a big flip flop brand, Gandys.
To make it happen they had to find out about suppliers, design, distribution, copyright, branding, pitching, websites, PR…
Lots of ‘firsts’, all done in the space of a couple of years and largely by themselves.
I probably don’t need to tell you that when you run your own business, you can prepare and plan up to a certain point but you can’t predict everything. So you end up learning a lot.
And as they took their first publicity shots on their mobile phones in their bathroom, neither Rob nor Paul could have predicted the scale of Gandys’ success.
From day one we went around telling people that we were going to be a big flip flop brand. Right from day one. Everyone laughed at us. Well, not everyone, but a lot of people did.
It’s not yet reached its third birthday, but the laughing has stopped.
Gandys is a social enterprise with a seven figure turnover and a presence in twenty plus countries. Australia is next. The brothers are due to launch Gandys in two of that country’s biggest department stores in September.
Shaped by the 2004 Tsunami
Rob and Paul created Gandys Flip Flops as a tribute to their parents: Kevin and Sandra had given their young family a taste for adventure by taking them to India to do voluntary work. Tragically, the family was caught up in the 2004 Tsunami and Kevin and Sandra died. The brothers wanted to create something to honour their parents’ values. And so Gandys – ‘two brothers helping fellow orphans’ – was born. 10% of all Gandys’ profits go directly to the Gandys Foundation, which supports children in need of the basic essentials – food, medicine, a roof over their heads. The long term goal is to open children’s homes on every continent. You can find out more about the work of the Foundation here.
Get your crampons. Now.
So, the last thirty months have been a giddy learning curve. A curve that spans every aspect of entrepreneurialism, from finding the right suppliers for rubber (China v Brazil) and honing pitching skills (dress code casual, with flip-flops, of course) to sorting out trademark issues and working with distributors across a myriad of time zones.
We have had to learn a ridiculous amount. Three years ago I was just sitting there, thinking, How the hell do you do this? How do you do that? How does this work? How does that work?
I’ve a friend I used to go to school with. He’s got a friend who’s just set up a fashion brand. Anyway, he came in and sat down and I was just reeling off stuff about what we had done. “Use these guys for this!” “Use those guys for that!” I just take it for granted now. It’s programmed in. We’ve been working days, nights, seven days a week and we have learned so much.
An enthralling story on 4th July 2014
So, if you’ve ever experienced those ‘adventure’ feelings of not knowing what will happen next and wondering whether you have the wherewithal to tackle whatever comes next, then don’t miss the Brighton Summit on Friday 4th July. ‘Come On An Adventure’ kicks off with Rob Forkan’s compelling story followed by a succession of thought-provoking workshops and speakers.
Kicking yourself because you missed it? Watch it here…