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David Amichai from Flip Flop Culture in Sri Thanu describes himself as ‘just an old school party boy’. He came to Koh Phangan for the first time in 1998 as part of a bigger backpacking trip and got hooked. He then came back every year or two for a full season before moving here permanently in 2010.
“I tried my luck with different things until I committed fully to create the best flip flop shop in the world”.
David stocks biodegradable flip flops also made from natural rubber made by Hippobloo and as we are such a ‘flip flop’ wearing island seemingly more concerned about the environment here we wanted to find out more…
David, tell us a little about the concept of your shop…
I felt the need to open a place which will do more than just sell you cheap copies of well known brands.
Aiming to provide the best shopping experience when it comes to flip flops or light open footwear in general. Offering the largest selection, all locally produced. Everything is made in Thailand and graded as export quality.
How did you discover the biodegradable flip flops?
As part of the research I came across Hippobloo. What got me initially was the quality. The second you hold them, colors and materials wise, you feel it's special. Being green is an added value of course.
Worth mentioning is that also the hangers we use for displaying the flip flops and the cotton bags provided to the customers make it a complete eco package.
They are Thai made correct?
Yes. It's family owned, 2 sisters and a brother running the whole show. Second generation of a family that was in the soles business for working boots.
It's a small operation compared to the big brands but they are very passionate and proud about their products.
The Hippobloo that you will find in Flip Flop Culture are cut especially for koh phangan. Most of the colors combinations they order by themselves. Meaning you can't find them anywhere else in the world. They are also the only place on the island to find XL sizes; 46 - 48.
How long they last?
For a very long time. I just had a customer running the same pair for 3 years. The pair he got was still in one piece, but since they are biodegradable after some time it will take the shape of your foot which in turn after some time will make you feel uncomfortable.
How have you seen Koh Phangan change eco wise since you have been here?
Well, it's a long way from the place it was back then. Natural modernisation, increased garbage quantities, Haad Rin Beach that at one point was in real danger due to overuse, 7/11... So I guess for the worst... But again, it's a delicate balance, especially in developing countries.
There is a gap between the things we want to see happening and how to implement them here in Koh Phangan. It can be tricky.
Hopefully more awareness and small businesses doing their part is going to help. But massive change will come only with a strong leadership of the local population as a whole community effort.
Do you think the flip flops can help?
I think every little thing can help. But we need the big things to change to create an impact.
What have been the reactions?
Awesome! People love flip flops. And we found that when people found out they are eco friendly they tend to go for it immediately.
And what are your hopes for the future?
Changing the world one pair at a time.
Hopefully the business will keep on growing with more locations outside of Koh Phangan.