Crocs: The transition from past to present

SHIRMARIE STARKS STAFF WRITER

Unsplash User Mihaly Koles

What is your go-to shoe for comfortability? Nike slides? Converse? Those fluffy Ugg slippers? Socks and Birkenstocks? Or do you own a pair of Crocs?

Crocs, Inc. is seen as the go-to brand to find comfy shoes, but the company’s journey to worldwide fame in the shoe industry was not as comfort- able a fit.

Crocs were originally developed as a boating shoe by three avid boaters: Scott Seamans, George Boedecker, Jr., and Lyndon Hanson. Scott Seamans wanted a comfortable, floatable, ventilated and slip-resistant shoe. In particular, Seamans wanted to create an odor-resistant shoe, a feature that other boating shoes lacked. With these re- quirements in mind, Seamans produced a lightweight, thirteen-holed, unique clog to fit his desires.

In an interview with Edison Nation, Hanson recalls the origins
of Crocs, Inc. During a boating trip with Hanson and Boedecker, Seamans decided to bring the design for his colleagues to test out. Like most people today, Lyndon and George quickly told Scott that the shoes were ugly. However, Boedecker and Hanson ultimately agreed with Seamans: although the shoes were ugly, their functionality outweighed the looks. As a like-minded trio, these men quickly shifted their focus to the mass production, investor relations and financial operations of the shoe.

Under the leadership of Ronald R. Snyder, a newly appointed CEO in 2005, the brand went public on February 13, 2006. In 2006, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Initial Public Offering (IPO) plan of Crocs, Inc. consisted of 9.9 million shares with an asking price between $13 and $15. Business was going so well that the brand expanded to other countries including Austria, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. But like Sir Isaac Newton once said, “What goes up must come down,” and Crocs had started to reach the end of their era.

A report done by Money Insider in 2008 shows when the recession hit the economy, much of Croc’s business faded. Many consumers did not need to buy more pairs as they were able to reuse their current pair during the recession and a result, Crocs’s stock dropped more than 68%. For the next few years, the Crocs brand worked behind the scenes as they attempted to reimagine and revamp the brand. Between March 2009 and April 2014, the company went through two CEOs and they both experienced constant fluctuations in sales and net income.

In January 2014, the brand started to gain some serious attention from investors again. Money insider reported that The Blackstone Group, a private equity investment management firm, made a $200 million investment into the Crocs, Inc. company. Alongside this investment, Greg Ribatt, a seasoned shoe vet, was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer in January 2015. The changes seen within Ribatt’s tenure served as a turning point in the Crocs, Inc. brand and helped shape the brand as we know it today.

During the early stages of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Crocs, Inc. decided to donate 10,000 pairs of Crocs per day to healthcare workers until the stock ran out and donated an extra 100,000 pairs of shoes to numerous healthcare facilities.

In 2020, Crocs. Inc reported that there are now over 600 million pairs of Crocs sold in over 90 countries due to the successful continuation of the plan implemented by Ribatt and Rees. Crocs are still considered ugly to some just as they were to co-founders Lyndon Hanson and George Boedecker, Jr. However, with the founders’ vision, “We work hard to make you comfortable in your own shoes,” in mind, Crocs still serve their comfortable, floatable, ventilated, odor-resistant, slip-resistant and unique purpose in 2020.

Today, Crocs come in an array of styles such as the classic clog, boots, flats, sneakers and wedges. They also come in a wide assortment of colors.To top it off, you can customize your shoes with Jibbitz to really make them your own and express your personality. Crocs, Inc. has truly shifted into one company for all shoe needs. If you are looking for a sign to get a pair of Crocs, this is that sign!

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