I first became aware of crocs sometime in 2006 when a friend on a teacher training course wore a red pair in class. She swore that they were comfortable, and yes, she could drive in them and no, her feet didn’t sweat.
I bought my first pair later that year when I was going to Cuba. In the shop I thought they were a fetching taupe, a colour that’s the epitome of cool as far as I’m concerned. Not if it’s in soft foam, it’s not. I soon realised I was wearing khaki (in a boy’s size) that needed to be teamed with manly muscular legs and camouflage shorts to stand a chance of looking vaguely ok. (I’ve never had the former and don’t want the latter…)
Never mind, I still wore them often enough to wear out the famous non-slippery sole. I realise that’s killed my fashion credentials like a bullet to the heart. There’s no coming back after that. And to add to my sins, I have to confess I bought another pair. This time they were pale blue. I’m rather pleased I was able to co-ordinate with the background in a trip to Seville.
So how were these plastic clogs born? In 2002 three friends – Scott Seamans, George Boedecker, and Lyndon Hanson – went on holiday together. Seaman impressed the others with his footwear made by a Canadian company called Foam Creations. They saw the money-making potential, acquired a licence and improved on the original by adding a strap at the back and giving it a new name (because one of them thought the side view was a bit like a crocodile’s snout). The rest is history…
Things you may not know about crocs
- The three friends were from Niwot, a small town in Colorado population 4000. The Croc HQ is still in Niwot. Today Crocs employ about 4000 people worldwide.
- In their first year the company earned a gross profit of $1,000. Four years later in 2006 they were earning more than $200 million a year from sales in 40 countries. But by 2009 they were rumours of the company closing, the fad had passed….Only it hadn’t. They rebutted predictions and earned a $billion in 2012. True, it hasn’t all been roses since but they arestill selling around the world and selling well. Even the Duchess of Cambridge has been photographed in a pair…
- The charms are called jibbiz. They were invented by Colorado housewife Sheri Schmelzer who decorated her three children’s crocs with flowers and toys and anything cute that came to hand. She and her husband Rich developed the idea and started a company in 2005. A year later Crocs bought them out for $10 million with a pledge to pay an additional $10 million if future earnings goals were met. Jibbitz is Sheri’s nickname. (Apparently it means someone who talks too much.)
I admit that I am now on my third pair of crocs because, damn it, they are comfortable and convenient. You can walk into the garden and back into the house, trek along the shoreline and take tea in a beach hut.
Ok, which side are you on?