Issaquah’s Combat Flip Flops is a post-conflict success story

March 11, 2014

What do Army Rangers, a dedication to helping global post-conflict areas and flip-flops have in common? Together, they create innovation in Issaquah.

The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce honored Combat Flip Flops last month as one of three Innovation in Issaquah award winners. The award marked another milestone in the interesting business’ trajectory, which began in the mountains of Afghanistan.

By Greg Farrar Matt ‘Griff’ Griffin, CEO of Combat Flip Flops, poses in his Issaquah workroom with a sarong hand-embroidered by a woman-owned business in Afghanistan, along with the very first finished pair of sandals he produced in February 2013.

By Greg Farrar
Matt ‘Griff’ Griffin, CEO of Combat Flip Flops, poses in his Issaquah workroom with a sarong hand-embroidered by a woman-owned business in Afghanistan, along with the very first finished pair of sandals he produced in February 2013.

“We fought in a different war,” company co-founder Matthew Griffin, casually known as “Griff,” said in his Issaquah garage, which served as the manufacturing facility for the first 4,000 pairs of flip-flops. “We had to run guys down in the most adverse conditions. But it was a really giving culture and we never forgot it.”

Read more

Issaquah innovators honored at chamber luncheon

February 18, 2014

Nonprofit lending, flip-flops and composting are leading the way in innovation, according to the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.

Local businesses received recognition Feb. 13 in the fourth annual Innovation in Issaquah Awards. From 19 nominees, collected through area suggestions, the chamber chose three winners who best represented business innovation in Issaquah.

By Greg Farrar Matt ‘Griff’ Griffin (left), CEO of Combat Flip Flops; Karen Dawson, community relations director for Cedar Grove Composting; and Chris Walcott, president of Semble, hold their Innovation in Issaquah award plaques Feb. 13 at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

By Greg Farrar
Matt ‘Griff’ Griffin (left), CEO of Combat Flip Flops; Karen Dawson, community relations director for Cedar Grove Composting; and Chris Walcott, president of Semble, hold their Innovation in Issaquah award plaques Feb. 13 at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

In a large luncheon at the Issaquah Holiday Inn, where more than 100 people gathered to celebrate the nominees, Cedar Grove Composting, Semble and Combat Flip Flops received the top awards.

Read more

Combat Flip Flops launches crowdfunding campaign

October 19, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 19, 2013

Issaquah company Combat Flip Flops has launched a crowdfunding campaign to reach its goal of using sandals as the ultimate weapon of change in Afghanistan.

The company hopes to raise $500,000 to get a flip-flop manufacturing facility up and running in Afghanistan.

With the belief that a strong economy will sustain the gains made over the past decade, Combat Flip Flops’ goal is to manufacture flip-flops and additional product lines in Afghanistan.

Read more

‘Business not bullets’

July 23, 2013

Entrepreneurs seek to transform Afghan economy with flip-flops

By Christina Corrales-Toy Andy Sewrey, Combat Flip Flops president, wipes away the excess rubber from a sandal he created in the Issaquah garage where the company manufactures the shoes.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Andy Sewrey, Combat Flip Flops president, wipes away the excess rubber from a sandal he created in the Issaquah garage where the company manufactures the shoes.

Many have heard the adage, “Take the bull by the horns,” but very few, if any, have ever attempted to slip a pair of flip-flops on the horn.

That is until Issaquah resident Matthew “Griff” Griffin attended Spain’s Running of the Bulls in mid-July, and in a feat of daring recklessness, tried to place a pair of sandals on the horn of a charging bull.

Read more