FRONTLINE: 60 Seconds

Crocs Cofounder Tom Doran

Crocs Cofounder Tom Doran

No doubt about it, Crocs have invaded the world. Since their 2003 debut, the shoes (or are they sandals?) have become nothing less than an everyday fashion phenomenon. Why? Because they’re comfortable—and comfort never goes out of style. Just ask cofounder Tom Doran, who hails from Villanova.

 

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MLT: Is there a funny story about how Crocs came about?
TD: No funny story. But they’re designed off a gardening shoe from Canada. Our material, Croslite, went into that shoe. Croslite is—for lack of a better word—Flubber for shoes. It never losses its shape.

MLT: Are there other Crocs-related products in the making?
TD: That’s what’s so great about Croslite—we can make virtually anything. Keith Primeau was the captain for the Philadelphia Flyers, but he had to leave because of a concussion. He started this company called Fury to create protective equipment for athletes. I’d met Keith in Canada, and we started working together, because the biggest problem for athletes is staph infections and our material is anti-microbial. We created all these pads—elbow pads, kneepads, etc.—with Croslite in them. We actually
just bought Fury, and now Keith is working with us.

MLT: What’s the final word on the escalator risk?
TD: That’s an escalator problem, not a Crocs problem. It’s happened with a whole bunch of different shoes, but we were the ones thrown under the bus. They need safer escalators.

MLT: How have you handled all the media coverage surrounding Crocs chairman and president Duke Hansen’s support of President Bush?
TD: That was not a political move on our part—we would’ve done it for Democrats or Republicans. The White House had contacted us and other companies, and we were just being responsive. Duke Hansen had met with President Bush at a summit in Colorado to discuss businesses in the state.

MLT: Women have been wearing Crocs with their wedding gowns. Any plans to create a red-carpet line?
TD: Actually, yes. In the next couple of years, we’re going to have a high-end shoe pairing the comfort of Croslite with Italian designs.

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MLT: Who was the marketing genius behind Crocs Rx?
TD: We have a whole team of people working on that line to deal with the needs in the medical market. We designed shoes not only for doctors, but patients as well. We have a specific Croc work shoe and design.

MLT: How did Crocs win over the male market?
TD: Every guy likes a comfortable shoe. The look of our shoe is so different. We need something to appeal to kids, women and men,
and we utilized our unique material to create a comfortable shoe. Comfort will never go out of style.

MLT: Last we heard, the business is worth nearly $6 billion. How do we get a piece of the action?
TD: Send me an e-mail with your home address and your shoe size. I want to send you a pair of shoes.

 

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