We started PêcheBlu because we couldn't find flip flops or sandals we really wanted. We wanted state of the art flip flops, something well designed, in cool colors, and very comfortable. Most of all, we wanted flip flops that took advantage of what has been learned over the years in the design of athletic shoes, which used to be known as sneakers.
We were in Barcelona during the summer of 2005 and needed new flip flops. All we could find were dark gray sandals and flip flops for $60, not very useful for sand that reached 120 degrees in the sun, or $6 plastic flip flops, which looked like they would give us blisters in minutes.
In the back of our mind was that we could do better. Once we got home, we looked at almost every flip flop made; who made them and how. We wanted flip flops with sturdy construction and sleek design that were very comfortable. We wanted to reflect how people actually wore flip flops. While people still wear them to the beach, more wear flip flops almost all the time. Thus, cushioning feet on sidewalks or on stairs became more important than ever. Everyone we talked to told us that if your feet don't feel comfortable, the rest of you can't either.
We also kept in mind that what you wear says a lot about you and its important how you represent yourself. First impressions count. So do second and third ones. We wanted PêcheBlu's flip flops to make the right statement. We wanted PêcheBlu to be exclusive so that we wouldn't have the same thing everyone else did. We also wanted a sports flip flop that didn't shout that we could afford the most expensive. We wanted a flip flop that quietly said we chose something better than the most expensive: the best.
Research told us while everyone was making flip flops; most were derivative in style and design. The majority are rolled rubber and stamped out by cookie cutters. They're flat, with no arch support, no heel well, no traction, and uncomfortable straps. Their idea of flip flop design was to glue sequins or plastic fruits on the straps. Dumb and dumber. Very few made sports flip flops, taking advantage of modern athletic shoe design, and the ones that did were mostly monochromatic flip flops in dark browns, grays and blacks, with minor detailing on the strap.
Also, few producers made coordinating products with their flip flops. We wanted to run out of the house in a pair of flip flips with a coordinating t-shirt or baseball cap plus a pair of jeans or shorts, and hit the road in a coordinated fashion. It was to be a lifestyle brand based on flip flops.
We found our designer. Madeleine had worked for Tod's and New Balance and came up with an incredible state-of-the-art technical design. We kept going back and forth to our production facilities in China to ensure that the flip flop strap hit the foot as best as possible, that we needed a millimeter more here and a millimeter less there. How we did the subtle edge wall so that toes wouldn't slide off was a major concern. So was padding the straps between the toes. We ended up using two molds per flip flop size. Our blueprints were architectural in detail and design. It might have been easier to design a house. It certainly would have been cheaper.
Color, too, has become an important trend in footwear and sandals. Over the past several years, footwear has become a major fashion item all on its own. Black, which used to be in some 80% of shoe designs, has fallen to some 30% over the past several years. In addition dark colors absorb heat. Nonetheless, our customers have asked us to add black flip flops, which we plan on doing for our next season. We prefer colors, but want to give customers what they want.
As athletic shoes have become part of the dress code, so have flip flops. We wanted to make our flip flops as well designed as the best athletic shoes on the market.
Tell us if we succeeded.