A turnaround for flip-flops

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Inspired by their lush suburb and the potential they see in handmade leather craft, Everton’s Lane and Nicholas Baglione spend their days making flip-flops that will have you begging for summer and its golden sands.

Not shy to show off the classic start-up workshop they operate from – their home garage – Lane and Nicholas Baglione aren‘t your average couple. With vastly different skill backgrounds – Nicholas has 16 years in logistics and packaging and Lane has been in interior design for the past 15 – they are hard-working, financially savvy parents with a strong moral compass whose story begins with a simple love for the great outdoors.

“With three little boys, and a fourth on the way, we love the beach, the bush and any opportunity we have, as a family, to spend time in nature. We’ve always been flip-flop fans, but four years ago we found ourselves on the hunt for long-lasting leather flip-flops that wouldn’t break the bank. Sadly, we couldn’t find any. And figuring there was a gap in the market, we decided to fill it by making them ourselves.”

The couple spent countless hours doing their research when it came to sourcing quality local materials, and paid careful attention to craftsmanship. When it came to the nitty gritties and coming up with design ideas, they enlisted the input of close family and friends.

“Before we knew it, what started as a fun hobby quickly turned into a full-blown family project, with unique South African flavour, that we called iiflopsi – Xhosa for flip-flop and pronounced ee-flop-si. We launched, after many trials and errors and lots of sun-kissed inspiration, at the end of last year.”

Under the iiflopsi umbrella, the couple has crafted two different types of full leather flip-flops for men and women that are comfortable, durable and can be used for the beach or dinner at a restaurant. These include a range with arch support and a standard flat flip flop in a broad range of colours and different leather textures.

While the boys are at school, Lane’s main focus is on administration, marketing and building an online presence for the business, while Nicholas’ day-to-day duties are focused on inbound supply chain and production to ensure that a high-quality flip-flop is produced consistently.

They are both heavily involved in the design work, production and assembly, tapping into the local shoe industry for ideas and innovations and staying on top of international trends.

“Each flip-flop is hand made using full grain leather for the straps and uppers, and memory foams carefully selected for their different qualities are laminated together with a rubber sole to make the base. It is very important to us that we support local as much as possible and this includes us selling locally – you’ll find us at the Shongweni Farmers’ Market every Saturday, at the iHeartMarket in Durban North on the first Saturday of the month and in Salt Rock, at The Litchi Orchard – where we get to share our story and people get to experience the fruits of our labour.” You’ll also find them at the ECR House + Garden Show show this month.

The couple says that feedback and support from the market has been incredibly positive, given how new they are to the local flip flop scene.

“We’re on an innovative mission playing with colours, designs, embossing, and a whole bunch of other things and we’re planning to launch in the Cape and Joburg soon. We have a very exciting international strategy as well. It’s been an incredible journey from our garage to local feet and we are hoping that we can leave a legacy not just crafting flip-flops but also creating memories – the kind that are made under the sun.”

Details: Follow them on FB iiflopsi or IG @iiflopsi. E-mail [email protected] or visit iiflopsi.co.za

5 ways to wear your flip-flops

Casual beachside With swim trunks and a lightweight linen shirt for a laid-back beach look. Add a straw hat and some stylish sunglasses for a classic coastal look.

Relaxed braai Wear your flip-flops with tailored shorts or chinos and a casual polo shirt for a comfortable evening around the braai.

Sporty comfort Keep it casual and comfortable in your flip-flops after a workout or sports activity. Wear them with a baseball cap for a relaxed sporty look.

Evening casual Dress up your flip-flops for an evening out by wearing them with dark denim jeans, a button-down shirt and a lightweight blazer. This relaxed look is perfect for a dinner date or drinks with a friend on a warm summer evening.

Travel comfort Slip on your flip-flops for long flights or road trips for ultimate comfort during travel. Wear them with loose-fitting pants or leggings and a cosy sweater.

WIN

We’re giving away a his and hers pair of iiflopsi flip-flips. To enter, simply like and follow @getitdbn (Insta) and @GetItDurban (Facebook), tag a friend, then fill in the form below and you’ll be in the draw. Entries close June 25. Winners will be contacted. Entries close July 25.

A his and hers pair of iiflopsi flip-flips

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