How a physiotherapist turned a simple idea into a multi-million dollar global empire
The flip flops garnered so much attention that one of AFL’s most notable players – Dustin Martin – got involved. Photo / Archies Shoes
A physiotherapist who was “sick and tired” of advising his patients to stop wearing flats told how he turned the scarecrow into a multi-million dollar global empire.
Daniel Jones, 37, noticed a gap in the market for thongs that not only looked good, but were actually good for people’s feet.
The idea for Archies Footwear originated in 2011 after Jones noticed that a large number of patients coming to see him had sore feet from wearing flat thongs or suffered an injury that required proper footwear.
âI was recommending thongs to my patients that I wouldn’t wear myself and that’s a bit of a hypocrite,â he said.
âI thought it would be great if I could create a thong that looks like a normal thong but still has legitimate orthopedic support.
“I got the idea (for Archies) but the idea was the easier part. It was all that followed and getting the right product was extremely difficult.”
Orthopedic flip flops started out as a dream in a garden shed in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley and are now sold in thousands of retailers across Australia and the world, including New Zealand.
While Archies may seem like an overnight success, the brand’s history dates back over a decade to when Jones was working as a physiotherapist.
He came up with the idea in 2011 but started to “make serious progress” the following year, but it wasn’t until 2015 that he actually sold his first pair of flip flops.
âFor the first three years it was just problem after problem. They would shrink if you left them in the sun, which is not ideal for a summer product.
“And they broke easily, so there was a lot that we had to figure out in the manufacturing process.”
Once the company overcame a few manufacturing hurdles and had a strong product, Jones began selling the flip flops at local farmers’ markets, including in his hometown on the New South Wales border and from the Victorian era.
âI remember several people telling me not to bother with the mobile market but I thought ‘why?’,â He said.
After about three hours without visitors, a line quickly formed and the shoe was a hit.
Jones then traveled to Queensland to sell Archies in various markets during the warmer months before slowly introducing the product to retailers.
âWe started bringing physiotherapists and podiatrists into the markets, telling us how much they really love our products,â he said.
âThen we started sourcing from retailers. They would come to the markets and it spread from there. “
The Archies flip flops are now sold in over 3,000 stores across Australia and the world, and have garnered so much attention that one of AFL’s most notable players – Dustin Martin – got involved.
âWe’ve always seen him wearing Archies on his Instagram, so we approached him through a mutual friend and asked if he’d like to be officially involved with our brand,â Jones said.
âHe jumped at the chance.
Like most startups, Archies slowly climbed a fairly steep hill, but it paid off as Jones’ design is now one of the most sought-after orthopedic straps in Australia and the choice of many Australian elite athletes. such as Port Adelaide Powerhouse and Brownlow medalist Ollie Wines.
Wines and Martin are just a few of the AFL stars wearing orthopedic flip flops, along with players such as Scott Pendlebury and Patrick Cripps.
The brand has also started donating thousands of pairs to healthcare workers at a local hospital in Victoria and NSW.
âAfter being up all day helping those in need most in Australia, we thought there was a better way to help our health workers relax than to take care of their feet in a pair of Archies? ” Jones said.
He also launched a sister brand called Secra Shoes, which is in its infancy. Other models will be launched in the coming months.
Archies now has dealers in virtually every city in Australia, a dealers in New Zealand and is now exported to the United States before Jones considers making inroads into the United Kingdom.