Good morning Chit Chat Tuesday readers! So sorry that I was MIA last week! It has been a busy time not only in the Circus but also with summer holidays! I went to visit my family in Marbella last week which was very lovely! A dose of sun, sea and sunshine! You can’t get better than that! To say that I am having withdrawal symptoms would be an understatement but it is time to get back to business as we have two brothers on the show today from flip flop brand Gandys!
I first became aware of the brand when I started at Circus London PR so I am very excited to have the brothers on the show today!
Good morning boys! Thank you so much for joining both the CCT readers and myself on the show today! Let’s start off by you telling us a little bit about yourselves and your childhood…
Hi, Hi! We are brothers Rob (26yrs) and Paul (24yrs)
Back in the day we were living a pretty normal life! We would wake up go to school, learn, play and return home like any normal children doing their norm routine. One day we were told by our parents to pack one backpack each. We were then whisked away on a travelling adventure where we learnt the way of life through seeing, meeting people and learning different cultures. It was truly inspiring and one experience in our lives that we wouldn’t change.
That’s incredible! I remember looking at families whilst I was away and thinking ‘WOW that is amazing good for you!’ Did you enjoy travelling adventure?
It was absolutely eye opening! Being young when our travels started was much easier for us to accept changes and adapt to different lifestyles. The travelling bug obviously always stayed with us! We think it’s inbred in us as we both love to travel and any opportunity we get we will quite happily jump on a plane and explore our next location.
I hear ya! Do you think it changed you as individuals?
It has definitely shaped us as individuals, to be able to see the world first hand from a young age and attend school in India for a short time mixing and socialising with a variety of people. We were still learning whilst seeing life first hand.
The great thing about our travels is that it still enabled us to have our childhood but really opened our eyes to the world and what is out there in life.
I think it’s one of the best ways to do it! I would love to still be travelling as, as you said it shows you what is out there in life! Where did the idea to start your own ‘flip flop’ brand stem from?
Our travels definitely played a big part in it. We wanted to create a brand that represented the philanthropic values our parents had instilled in us and having spent years travelling the world in flip flops, a flip flop company seemed like the perfect idea to role with when venturing into ideas of a footwear brand. We decided that we would found the company on a commitment to using a percentage of profits to support disadvantaged children.
It’s such a nice concept to involve in your company! Why the name Gandys?
Gandys came about one morning at a festival with friends, when Rob woke up ‘with a mouth like Gandhi’s flip flop’. And just like that an unusual source of inspiration became the foundation of a new company.
That’s hilarious! Can you tell us a little bit about the brand…
Gandys is a revolutionary designer flip flop brand with a wide range of styles to suit any taste and with 10% of all profits going into the Gandys Foundation, you can purchase with purpose whilst freeing your feet. Some may say a backpackers haven to fashion.
Comfy and durable flip flops are an essential!! ….AND even more so when you are travelling! Are you involved with the design process?
We have a superb designer who has been with us since the very start, with a brain full of Gandys inspired designs. We all love to share inspiration and ideas with each other and we love to have a dab hand in the design area too. When creatives come together this is when ideas bounce off of each other and new inspiration emerges.
There is nothing better than a bit of teamwork! Why did you decide to set your business up in England after you have travelled the world?
London being UK’s fashion capital seemed like a good place to start. We never stop challenging ourselves so we never ruled out expanding the company to other destinations and always had hoped to expand and launch internationally.
Just over two years of starting up we are officially launching in other countries.
That’s fantastic congratulations! What’s your proudest moment to date with the brand?
Sri Lanka most definitely tops the list! We recently returned there for the first time since the natural disaster in 2004. It was an emotional time but the trip was incredible being very close to our hearts. We are funding a children’s home there for the next three years. We also wanted to document our time there and we decided to do this through our blog and were absolutely amazed from the support with over a million views.
The Brothers in Sri Lanka
That’s so lovely! Sri Lanka is a place that I would love to visit! I am so pleased that you received such a positive response from your blog! What makes Gandy’s flip flops different to other flip flop brands on the market?
We are a fresh contemporary company with a diverse range of followers. The ethos behind the flip flops is one of adversity but also one of hope and determination. For every person that the story reaches we hope it will inspire, uplift and encourage them to persevere against odds and to be their own force for good in the world.
We are now known for our Gandys designs which are inspired by travel and fuelled by giving back. The vision years ago was to create a sustainable business that would give back, and these values on which the company was founded remain the same today.
Are you working on any other projects atm? Can you tell us about them…
We have just launched with Liberty Art Fabric which was incredible! Stock literally sold out within 2 hours of going on sale. Previous to that we collaborated with Accessorize, where £2 of every sale goes towards the charity EMERGE. To work with top fashion retailers it is incredible and inspiring.
We have some incredible projects and collaborations that we are working on at the moment with some great names in the fashion industry. If we told you now then there’s no surprise…Everyone likes some anticipation…!
So many exciting projects! Oh gosh the suspense! But you’re right – we all like a good surprise! Can you tell us about your ‘orphans for orphans’ mission? What do you hope to achieve?
The Gandys Foundation is the registered charity of Gandys, and was set up in the Summer of 2013 following an overwhelming response from people asking how they could help. 10% of all Gandys profits go directly into The Gandys Foundation, whose sole purpose is to support children in need of basic essentials such as nutrition, medication, education and a safe place to live.
This is the “Orphans for Orphans” mission.
We personally ensure that all of the operational costs of the foundation are covered, so that every single pound donated goes directly towards the projects. The fundamental goal of The Gandys Foundation and the “Orphans for Orphans” mission is to support the many underprivileged and disaster children who have no access to the most basic of sanitation, clean drinking water, medical supplies, shelter and education. Following our own experiences we wanted to do what we could to help less fortunate children grow up with a standard of care that everyone deserves. The “Orphans for Orphans” mission is very close to our hearts and it is the driving force behind Gandys.
What a fantastic cause! How can people support?
There are various ways that you can get involved and be an integral part of the journey…
Donate: Donations are always welcome. Gandys covers all of the operational costs of The Gandys Foundation so every pound of your donation goes directly into the projects. You can donate on the Gandys website homepage at www.gandysflipflops.com
Flip Flops: Check them out and choose a pair to suit you with 10% of all profits going into the Gandys Foundation.
Public Speaking: Inspire your staff and support social enterprise by holding a talk on the Gandys story in your office. We often travel to hold talks at various companies on a range of topics including: Social Enterprise and CSR, Entrepreneurship, Overcoming Adversity, Marketing and PR, Strategies for Success and many more! So far, we have held talks at Virgin, Red Bull, TED, MTV, Innocent and Yahoo.
That’s great that you go in to companies to help inspire the employees! You may have to come and give us a visit at Circus London PR! What will the future hold – what have we got to look forward to?
Many more collaborations to come for sure, (they are in progress as we speak) along with launches in America, Australia and Japan. The opening of our first children’s home will be at the end of the year marking the 10th year anniversary of the tsunami with the long term goal of The Gandys Foundation to continue to find and support projects that are helping children in trying situations and to build children’s homes all across the world.
What an exciting year you’ve got ahead of you! You are going to be busy busy! So, with all of this craziness that you’ve got going on what do you do to relax?
With all the travelling we do now with Gandys, eg. the Sri Lanka trip with Peter Simon (founder of Monsoon/Accessorize) and going to Jamaica addressing the students of Sir Richard Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneurship in Montego Bay we will try and get a few day breathers in between our working schedules while away to make sure we can recharge the batteries.
Most definitely! I think that you guys definitely deserve a few days to re-charge! What’s the most inspirational thing someone has said to you…
We were lucky enough to be personally invited to Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty The Queen where we met the Princes, William and Harry. While speaking to The Duke of Cambridge he described his own family as the ‘Silver Lining’ in his life following the tragedy of his mother’s death, saying ‘people who lose parents at a young age have to simply dust themselves off and carry on’.
Wow what an experience! To be able to have met the Royal family and to have been given such words of wisdom! That must have been a very memorable opportunity for you both!
Rob and Paul – it has been an honour speaking with you both! Thank you so much for joining me and the CCT readers on today’s show! It has been great hearing about your experiences and all of the exciting things you have planned for this year! I think that it’s fab what you guys are doing and can’t wait to be updated on Gandys next moves!
Join me next week for lots more gossip and chinwagging