Feel Good Friday: Combat Flip Flops
It’s not hard to find a company that is giving back to the community through charity and social involvement. Searching out a company that is built on giving back from the very start though? That’s a little more rare. Our friends at Combat Flip Flops have a unique business model that relies on partnering with charities in hot zones across the globe. They don’t stop there though — they take it a step further by helping set up manufacturing and logistics in target countries so that they can help rebuild war-torn economies. It sounds like a scary proposition, but when your founders are US Army Rangers, creating a safe haven in a war zone is all in a day’s work.
Started after touring a boot factory churning out footwear for the Afghan military, Combat Flip Flops’ model of helping locals recover jobs and and create a renewed sense of community is not unique to Afghanistan. They’ve got jewelry made from reclaimed mines and UXO (unexploded ordnance) from Laos and Vietnam that helps keep small artisans in business and contributes to providing safe demining operations with MAG International. Flip flops are made in a factory in Bogota, Colombia, and have created many jobs for desperate Colombians who have been caught up in the drug wars for decades. Other efforts support medical missions across the globe with Team 5, and help special operations troops and their families heal after years of deployment and combat with The Station Foundation.
The biggest story though, is the launch of the Combat Flip Flops Cashmagh. Working with Afghan herders and weavers, the US Department of Defense business advisors, and a supply chain that stretches through Afghanistan, India, and America; the cashmagh (a play on cashmere shemagh) is the perfect all season scarf and layering piece from the battlefield to the boardroom (we’ll take the latter please). Rather than a typical tubular or long rectangle scarf, the cashmagh is a 21st century take on the tradtional Middle Eastern shemagh, and is fourty-four by fourty-four inches square. The soft cashmere is a dark blend, and some of the softest wool in the world. Combat Flip Flops hopes to release new colors in coming seasons, as a flock of cashmere goats from famous European breeders was procured to aid in genetic diversity and wool coloration. Still not convinced? The fabric itself is woven in a woman owned factory, and portions of each sale keep Afghan girls in school. It’s not often you can buy a serious fashion piece, contribute to rebuilding a war zone, and help stand against extremism. If only we had more teams like Combat Flips Flops building great products and making a difference every day.