For the first time, our generation can have a direct impact on the future stability of a war torn country without having to join the military; we can speak with our dollars. On October 18, Combat Flip Flops will be launching an ambitious Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise $500,000 to get its Afghan flip flop factory (AKA Expeditionary Production Facility or EPF) up and running.
With Perks like a pair of flops from the EPF’s inaugural run, a custom KOTA Longboard made just for Combat Flip Flops, your name stenciled on the EPF shipping container, social media shout outs just for you and fragments of bomb, melted down into beautiful pieces of jewelry from Laos, supporting Combat Flip Flops’ ALL OR NOTHING campaign comes with its rewards.
Started in 2010 by two Army Rangers and a Bass player from Montana, Combat Flip Flops was born on a trip to Afghanistan. While working with Remote Medical International, Matthew Griffin toured an Afghan-owned boot manufacturing facility where he saw a factory worker wearing a makeshift pair of flip flops using the sole of a combat boot – the idea was born.
With the belief that a strong economy will sustain the gains made over the last decade, Combat Flip Flops’ goal has been to manufacture flip flops and additional product lines in Afghanistan. The military drawdown, while good news for our troops, also means there will be less demand for military products and thus, a decrease in work for manufacturers. With existing facilities and partners in the US and Columbia, CFF hopes to expand its production back to Afghanistan and other war torn countries.
The road to manufacturing flip flops in Afghanistan has not been an easy one. The original Afghan manufacturer could not deliver product up to the company’s standards. The second manufacturer produced beautiful samples but as production was about to begin, the plant closed due to losing its military contract. With hundreds of pre-paid orders, the Combat Flip Flops team went to work in December 2012 designing and building a micro-manufacturing facility in Issaquah, WA to fulfill the backlogged orders. With limited space and funds, they were able to re-purpose old machinery, make some pieces themselves and design a factory within a small space with low energy output. The first production was completed and delivered to retailers and consumers in late spring 2013. See the full line here.
With the new micro-manufacturing model in place and a network of affiliates on the ground in Afghanistan, Combat Flip Flops has a template that can be applied to new locations. The Indiegogo campaign aims to raise $500,000 to get the Afghan facility up and running. The money raised will cover the costs of building and purchasing equipment, shipping the equipment to Afghanistan, labor, raw materials, and additional operating expenses for one year. With a successful crowdfunding campaign raising the needed $500,000, the Afghan Business Aid Development Enterprise will contribute an additional $250,000 for facility improvements.