Products – How To Sell: Flip-Flops

Strategies For Marketing The Popular Summer Staple

Flip-FlopsSummer is here, the pools are open, the beach season is going into high gear, and an apparel staple will be on distributors’ radar. Flip-flops continue to maintain their top-dog status on the list of must-have summer items.

In the promotional industry, flip-flops have proven to be a popular branded item. Distributors continue to show off their creativity with embellished soles and straps to make a statement. “Our flip-flop designs this season allow customers to choose wider straps that can be branded with larger imprints,” says Laura Maichel, vice president of sales at Harvest Industrial & Trade Co. Ltd. (asi/61670). “We offer four-color process and full coverage on the sole to create a fun billboard for the brand.”

Fields Manufacturing (asi/54100) offers flip-flops with vinyl or fabric straps, and one of their styles comes with the option of a die-cut sole that leaves an imprint in sand. Because flip-flop straps remain largely unobstructed, whether on the foot or off, “decorating on the strap is by far the most popular and the most visible method of branding,” says Chris Flynn, national sales manager.

When pitching them, flip-flops’ natural popularity should provide significant momentum in making the sale. “They’re fairly inexpensive, and they round out apparel selections after jackets, hats and other add-ons may have already been used in a campaign,” says Maichel. “They’re also unisex, and one size fits most, so they have broad appeal.”

Hot markets for flip-flops, says Flynn, include universities, restaurants and hotels. Also look to the craft beer industry, an emerging market segment for flip-flops that has turned to apparel and accessories to promote brews.

While the traditional flip-flop with a Y-shaped strap remains a strong favorite, don’t discount other sandal styles at comparable price points. “One of this season’s hottest trends is soccer slides,” says Maichel. “Players can slip these on after games or practice for a quick and comfy recovery. They’re also great for a day at the beach and feature a large branding area on the wide strap. One of our clients distributed these to first responders as an appreciation gift, so they definitely have wide appeal.”