Flip Flip Shops
1088 W. Marine Corps Dr., Dededo
1141 Pale San Vitores Road, Tumon
By Julius Cantara
Flip Flop Shops is an international footwear franchise that carries a variety of trending flip flop and sandal brands. With more than 200 branches located around the world, Flip Flop Shops carries brands such as Vans, Sanuk, Roxy, Volcom, Quiksilver, OluKai and Havaianas. The franchise has been around for 10 years and has been on island for eight years with stores stationed in the Micronesia Mall in Dededo and Pacific Place in Tumon. Both stores are managed by Owner Joseph J. Perez, who was one of the first franchisees to be approached by the company.
What inspired you to open the shop?
Obviously everyone on Guam wears slippers; it’s probably part of our basic attire here. Everyone on Guam has at least one pair, but most people, in my experience, have multiple pairs. So it seemed like a no-brainer; it’s a product that everyone will use, and it’s been very well-received here. Our first shop in the Micronesia Mall has been open for about eight years now and done very well. It’s something I thought Guam could use, and we’ve been very successful at it.
How do you choose the brands that are sold in the shop?
Because [Flip Flop Shops] is a franchise, there are required brands that we have to carry, brands that you will see in every Flip Flop Shops around the world. And outside of the required brands are the approved brands. There is a whole list of them; we probably have 20 to 25 different brands that are approved by the franchise that we can carry, and that list continues to grow on a regular basis. So aside from the required brands that we carry, the franchisee is allowed to choose any other approved brands that they want to carry.
As far as the style of the brands on an individual shop basis, we choose styles that we think will appeal to our customer base on Guam, both to the tourists and local crowd, so that’s how we determine what we are going to order.
How often do you receive new shipments?
We deal directly with the manufacturers, so it’s not like we deal with a wholesaler who carries a lot of brands. When we order from Reef, we order directly from Reef. We literally have 15 to 18 contracts in place with different brands. Depending on the brand, how quickly they move and how often they put out new designs determines how often we order.
We probably get a new shipment from Havaianas at least three times a month and fairly large shipments. The last shipment we got for the [Tumon] store was 25 cases. For the mall you simply double that.
What is your most popular brand of flip flops?
The number one selling brand by far is Havaianas. Havaianas also does some shoes — not very many — and they have done okay. They come from Brazil. They are real basic and they are 100% rubber. They’re very trendy and colorful.
Are flip flops more popular with locals or tourists?
I’ll say the ratio [for the mall shop] is probably 60% to 40%, locals to tourists. Obviously the Tumon shop is mostly [visited by] tourists, so the ratio is 90% [tourists] to 10% [locals]. So depending on which shop you look at, that will determine the market.
When is your peak time of year for sales?
The holidays in terms of sales do very well and carry into January and February, then coming into summer will go up again. But by far the holidays are the best time for sales.
What makes this franchise a success?
My hat goes off to the founders of the franchise. The folks behind the franchise are very supportive, really know what they are doing and are very accessible. I have gone to them a couple of times when I may have had different issues with brands. They really take care of the franchisees, and I think that is part of what contributes to the success of the Flip Flop Shops. Obviously, I also have to thank our customer base. The locals have really supported us tremendously.
Do you have any future plans for the shop, like new development or expansion?
We’ve kind of outgrown the space in the mall; most of the inventory that we carry we either take home or we bring [to the Tumon branch] just because we don’t have enough space at the mall anymore and stuff moves so fast. So we have so much inventory that we try to keep but no space to store it. That’s probably what we want to try and do next is expand the mall shop because we have, more or less, outgrown it.
The business has grown. We definitely would like to bring in more brands; it’s just that we don’t have space for them. But I would say that within the next year, the mall shop will definitely expand.