Gandys are a brand new flip-flop brand which are not only great to wear and stylish but they put a percentage of their profits towards making the world a better place for orphans. I found the Gandys story truly inspiring…
The brothers behind the idea Rob and Paul Forkan lost both their parents when the Tsunami hit in 2014 basically being left orphaned along with their siblings. The brothers were able to head back to the UK, complete their educations and get jobs. It is of course not so easy for orphans everywhere to get back on track, many of whom have no family or friends to rely on.
A few years later and the orphans for orphans idea was born, the boys were determined to help children less fortunate than themselves. Waking one bleary-eyed morning after a festival, Rob stated that he had a mouth like Gandhi’s flip-flop – and thus the lads had their Eureka moment! They had lived in flip-flops for most of their lives while roaming the globe with their parents so could think of no better a product to help them help the orphans.
Currently, Gandys supports an orphanage called Mango House in Goa but they have plans in the pipeline to open their first Gandys orphanage next year on the 10th anniversary of the Tsunami. I urge you to buy a pair of Gandys flip-flops along for your summer wardrobe and help to make the lads dream to become a reality.
We caught up with Rob to get the inside scoop on Gandys:
Why flip flops?
It is because we have been travelling for most of our lives, so it seemed to fit into place to start a business relating to an essential for every backpacker and holidaymaker!
In 2001 we were taken out of school in London by our parents, Kevin and Sandra. I was aged 13 and Paul was 11 and we left to travel the globe with our younger siblings. It was an extremely unique upbringing where we gained an invaluable education, especially in philanthropy. Both our parents were passionate about helping others and so we have grown up with a similar passion. We started our travelling journey in India where we volunteered in children’s homes.
After our time in India, we moved to Sri Lanka spending Christmas 2004 there. We were involved in the Boxing Day tsunami, where we lost both our parents, and narrowly surviving ourselves. Both I and Paul finished our education, got jobs and saved up enough money to go on the journey that we had started with our parents. We spent several years roaming the globe, exploring many countries including Laos, Bali, Fiji, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, America, New Zealand and our favourite place, India, before finally settling in Brixton and developing Gandys.
Do you think peoples attitudes are shifting towards ethical fashion?
Definitely I think that people are becoming more aware of giving back and making a purchase with a purpose.
What advice would you give other young people out there who want to make a difference?
Never stop believing in your idea. As with all start-up companies, we have had many obstacles but we have never given up. If retailers told us something was not good enough we went back to the drawing board and redesigned and re assisted the situation, then approached them again until we were in that shop. Nothing is impossible!
How does it feel to be at this stage and seeing the product stocked in shops?
Quite excited and crazy to go into a shop, that we shop in, and think we did that and that is our brand! We are launched in most major retailers ASOS, House of Fraser, Schuh, USC, Sole trader to name but a few, but we are always pressing forwards. We go to India every Christmas, where we support Mango tree House, and this always makes us more determined and give us the inspiration to work harder for the following year.
What’s next for Gandys?
We are going on the road for most of the Summer, going to festivals, talks with universities and events over the UK. At the same time, we are launching into more major retailers and smaller independent boutiques. On 3rd June we are launching a major campaign with Selfridges which is a dream come true.
Next year is the 10th anniversary of the tsunami so we are on track to open an orphanage in memorial of our parents in Goa, India.
What’s your favourite colour of Gandys?
Probably the Goa green for myself (Rob) and Paul’s are probably the Tokyo Red.
Is there anywhere in the world you still want to visit?
For myself, it would be South America as I have never been so it would be great to explore a country rich in culture and awe-inspiring sites. And Paul would like to visit Africa for the wildlife and general adventure!