Cypress girl's flip-flops become family business
A Cypress family's early years in Galveston lent the inspiration for a new line of flip-flops that sent its first shipment to retailers last week.
Dan Robinson says his daughter Maddie, now 13, first started developing the idea for FishFlops in 2006, starting with the drawings she'd been making since early childhood of fish, seagulls, sharks, and starfish.
"We lived in Galveston when she was born, so she was on the beach all the time," Robinson says.
FishFlops didn't actually become a serious business until late 2009, but now Dan Robinson runs it full-time, consulting with his daughter to adapt her cute sea-life drawings for a line of kid-sized flip-flops. The first shipment of FishFlops came in last Monday, and Robinson delivered some of it himself to retailers who'd signed on in Galveston, including Moody Gardens.
Robinson has just recently gotten an online shopping cart running at fishflops.com He got some of his first orders for the product at a trade show in Florida last year.
He also has recently signed on a couple of outside sales reps, but still handles much of the business himself, including making sure the manufacturer in China gets the product right.
"[The trade show] kind of helped me narrow down what to make," he says. "I didn't have a turtle design printed on a flip-flop yet, and nine of out 10 people said, 'Do a turtle.'"
The FishFlops line now includes nine different designs, including dolphins, orcas, crabs and squid. "The seahorse has been extremely popular," Robinson says. "It's kind of funny, I thought it was more of a girl item, but a lot of the boys are into that one."
At least one Cypress retailer, Unique Spirit, is carrying the flip-flops, as are some in Florida, New Jersey, and Arkansas, Robinson says. "The smallest order's around 48 [pairs], and the largest order is about 144 per store," he says.
Robinson says the drawings originate with Maddie, but he tries to keep her engaged without overdoing it. "I integrate working with her in little pieces," he says. "It's kind of like 10-minute, 15-minute discussions... she likes the design side, and then it's kind of like, 'OK, Dad, go take care of it.'"