Five to Watch: Paul and Rob Forkan, Gandys

The “orphans for orphans” flip flop brand with social good at its very core

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Paul and Rob Forkan, 29 and 26
Gandys Flip Flops

In 2004, brothers Paul and Rob Forkan underwent the tragic experience of losing both their parents in the devastating Boxing Day tsunami which hit south-east Asia, narrowly surviving the experience themselves. Amazingly, the young duo have managed to create immense social good out of this negative experience by launching Gandys Flip Flops – a social enterprise that helps fellow orphans by donating 10% of profits from the sale of its uniquely-designed flip flops to its charity Gandys Foundation.

The pair’s flip flops are now stocked with more than 400 retailers, including high-street mainstays Topman, Selfridges and House of Fraser, and have received high-profile endorsements from the likes of Sir Richard Branson, who wears and stocks them on his exclusive Necker Island holiday resort. An estimated turnover of £1.2m in 2013 is impressive enough, but even more so in the context of a business that has social good at its very core and was formed as the result of an intensely personal tragedy. Backed by £250,000 angel investment, the company is on track to open its first children’s home in India to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tsunami, with several other homes across the world to follow. With clear business acumen and a great social mission these young brothers are certainly ones to watch for next year.

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