We were lucky enough to listen to Rob speak about his business Gandys at the SBS event in January. Although we don’t stock Gandys here on TIFF, we thought that the cause, business and story was truly exceptional. The brand has grown rapidly since its conception, and the flip-flops are now a coveted accessory adorning celebrity feet. The brothers, Rob and Paul are on a mission to help underprivileged children across the globe by opening Children homes enabling them to have access to education and an improved quality of life.
How did the idea for selling flip-flops to fund orphanages come about?!
The idea originated at a festival after a weekend of partying I (Rob) woke up with ‘a mouth like Gandhi’s flip flop’. A light bulb went on and an idea was born. 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.
Where do you see the brand going in the future, do you plan to develop any new products or will the orphanages become your primary focus?
We have now seen how fast Gandys has taken off and we want to keep this momentum in the business and keep driving Gandys to bigger better places. We have expanded around Europe and now retailing in Australia so to continue globally would definitely be a huge goal that we will push for. Now with Gandys First Children’s Home in Sri Lanka our future plan through the Foundation is to keep this momentum up and be able to continue to open Kids Campus’s in every continent. We will continue to build on the success of Gandys, there are so many possibilities that we have discovered and still discovering. You can always keep designing new Flip Flops so the plan is to keep going, onwards and upwards, never say never to new products.
Describe Gandy’s mission and Vision in 3 sentences.
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. Following their own experience Rob and Paul wanted to do what they 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 their hearts and it is the driving force behind Gandys.
Obviously Sri Lanka holds a special place in your heart. As well as India, are there any other countries that you would like to open orphanages in for less fortunate children?
Now we have opened our First Gandys Kids Campus to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Tsunami we are determined to open more across the globe. We would like to be able to spread Gandys footsteps across the world and follow with helping children in every country.
Have you seen Gandys on any famous feet?
We are very lucky to have support from many inspirational people. Sir Richard Branson has really got behind the Brand and is a brand ambassador stocking Gandys on Necker Island. Many celebrities have shown their love of Gandys, One Direction, Jessica Alba, Jessy J are to name a few that like to lend their support. An amazing achievement was being invited by the Queen to Buckingham Palace where we met with Prince William and Prince Harry and christened our Gandys through the Palace.
What has been the highlight of your Gandys journey so far?
Gandys First Kids Campus in Sri Lanka definitely tops the list. This has always been the long term vision of Gandys for the 10th Anniversary of the Tsunami. The Home will be for Children in need requiring medication, nutrition and education. As well as a Pre-school it will offer evening classes for older children wanting to take vocational courses. It will be run by the Children and Parents who will have the opportunity to learn valuable skills and help around 400 people.
Another highlight for Paul and myself is the incredible support we get through Gandys. When returning to Sri Lanka for the first time we wanted to document our time there and we decided to do this through our blog. We were blown away from the support we received with over a million views.