Our Story

1998

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Discovering the problem in Kiwayu, Kenya.

Tons of flip-flop pollution were washing up onto the beaches everyday creating an environmental disaster for the marine ecosystem and local communities.

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1999

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Community Engagement.

Inspired by the toys children were making out of the flip-flop pollution, Julie Church, the Ocean Sole Founder, encouraged their mothers to collect, wash, and cut the discarded flip-flops into colourful products.

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2000

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Rising to higher tides.

Ocean Soles supports the Kiwayu community to sell their first product commercially in Nairobi, Kenya. Also, we receive our first commercial order from WWF Switzerland for 15,000 turtles.

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2005

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A Social Enterprise was Born.

A company, was established to promote “trade not aid” and began selling colourful and fun art and functional products to raise awareness of flip-flop pollution and improve local poverty.

2005/13

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Riding the Wave of growth.

Our products and mission became internationally recognized, sold and displayed in Rome, London, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Singapore and Australia, essentially global attention to our mission. We went from 3 employees to over 50.

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2013

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Rebranded as Ocean Sole & Launched our Foundation.

Huge growth spurt founded by our first investor, Michael Lloyd. His investment allowed for global expansion, improved factory operations, hired more talent and made an international splash with our products.

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2014/16

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Good waves, Bold Art and a few storms.

We signed up our first real ‘Sole Mate’, Nic & Mic from the Netherlands. They believed in our mission and products so much they formed a business around it and are ever growing.

We had a few internal storms, had to move offices, but overcame these challenges and are on the high tide to deliver even more impact than ever before.

Partnered with UNEP to raise awareness, spoke at conservation conferences and hosted the biggest International Coast Clean-up (ICC) ever in Kenya.

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2017

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Flip the Flop. This year is the the year of change.

We are tripling our focus on our impact and making the flip-flop pollution a global agenda item.

We moved to an art and cultural village, working with UNEP, UNESCO, UNDP and UNIC on a three year journey to focus on conservation entrepreneurship, supporting local Kenyans with recycling programs, are establishing new global distribution partners and shouting out loud through our new visual identity about flip-flops pollution destruction to both humans and marine life.