Lyndon “Duke” Hanson: Founder of Crocs
I find the fashion world funny, for me personally I like to step into it for a bit and then step out. You see I am not fashionable, I have a set of legs on me like a prize Dairy Cow and frankly I see more sense in buying a pair of Thai rip off jeans for $30.00 then dropping half a grand on the genuine brands. Forgive me oh fashionable ones, I am at my very core a big gay bogan.
I understand that fashion is influential though, a nice suit implies a great corporate work ethic, a designer dress leads you to believe that girl is successful – and that is equally important. But when it comes to “fashion business” it amuses me that in a lot of cases, it’s actually the companies that cater to the less than fashionable clientèle that get the big pay day.
Which leads us to Crocs – Those amphibious shoes that have been labelled “hidious” by some and “comfortable” by others. The founder of the Crocs brand is Duke Hanson and his company is now worth over a Billion Dollars – that’s right Billion!
Some would say he is lucky. Perhaps. Fashion is often luck a lot of the time. Crocs’ appealed immediately to a certain audience – giving people, as Hanson says, “A sense of cool for being brave enough to wear them in public. And at about $30 a pair, a lot cheaper than traditional boat shoes, we rode a wave that’s still building”.
The company understands that in the early years, their product was a fad, but now they have over 250 different styles and provide more than just their take on “boating shoes” – The comfort factor and flexibility allowed them to explore other industries such as creating shoes that provide comfort to people in the hospitality industry as well as the medical industry, and it’s nothing these days to see a scrubs and croc combo in the ER.
Perhaps one of the most inspiring outcomes of the Crocs story is that it fostered further local entrepreneurship and new market creation. A stay-at-home mum started a business at home called “Jibbitz”® making charms for the clogs (that attached to the ventilation holes). Kids loved them so much that sales took off and the mom eventually sold her business to Crocs for $10 million.
Although in 2009 the company did under go a tough time during the GFC, especially in the retail space – things got back on track after a bit of restructuring in 2010.
Love them or Hate them – Crocs is a “fashion” success story.