HARARE – Two orphaned brothers from London have designed flip-flops to help orphans around the world, devoting 10 percent of the footwear profits to making a difference in children’s lives.
Rob and Paul Forkan lost both their parents in the 2004 Tsunami, where about 230 000 people were killed in 14 countries.
The once-backpacker brothers wanted to take the ultimate negative to create something positive, turning their hand to fashion and quickly establishing themselves as the United Kingdom’s next top entrepreneurs and designers with their Gandys brand.
“Our ultimate goal is to open children’s homes all over the world including Zimbabwe. We are currently working on opening homes in Sri Lanka and India as these are the places where the boys lived with their parents for the last few years of their life and is close to their hearts, then next on our list is Africa,” said Annabel Wildey, a member of the marketing and public relations team.
She said Zimbabwe had contributed to the growth of the Gandys brand as reflected on its international online sales.
“This year the African market has grown rapidly for Gandys and we have seen growing international online sales on our website from South Africa and Zimbabwe in particular,” Wildey said.
“As a seasonal product in the UK ,the growth of the African market has made us realise how important it is to be a global brand,” she said.
Rob, 26, and Paul, 24, set up Gandys less than two years in their one-bedroom flat in London, with an initial target to open the first children’s home by the end of 2014 to mark the 10 year anniversary of the tsunami.
Gandys has also inspired an impressive list of celebrity followers including One Direction, Jessie J, Jamie Oliver, and Christina Perri.
The brothers have also met the Prime Minister David Cameron, and walked around Downing Street in their Gandys according to a global press release.
“Even the iconic billionaire Richard Branson is a Gandys enthusiast and now stocks them on Necker Island. Anyone that stays on the Island is given a pair within their room. After working with Rob and Paul this summer Branson called them ‘inspiring young entrepreneurs.’
“Gandys has a unique patented rope strap design, inspired by the brothers’ time in India, and the flip flops are made of 100 percent rubber. Because of their individual design Gandys won a global fashion award last month,” said Wildey.