Entrepreneurs, authors and brothers Rob & Paul Forkan are founders & designers of the Gandys brand. Their businesses idea grew out of tragedy – they and their two siblings lost their parents in the 2014 Boxing Day Tsunami leaving them bereft and orphans. But it didn’t stop them hitchhiking home and creating a successful brand and an equally successful charity Orphans for Orphans. They live by a simple philosophy, which is strongly reflected in the brand, “Designed in London, Inspired by Travel, Fuelled by Giving Back.” Their speeches are superb.
"Rob was fantastic, we have had such amazing feedback from the event and so many people saying how inspiring his talk was. The audience was engaged, he was interesting, inspiring and entertaining. He stayed for a while too which was really great. Thank you so much for all your help."
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Read more about Rob & Paul Forkan
The unique history of Rob and Paul Forkan’s brand Gandys and their famous flip flops began with a trip halfway around the world in 2001. Their parents Kevin and Sandra Forkan sold everything they had to explore and volunteer around the world together with their four children. They took their children out of the UK’s structured school system in England and enrolled them in what they believed was the best form of education; the university of life.
With their life’s contents secured in each of their backpacks, the family then embarked on the trip which included travelling as well as volunteering with local charities in India too. Between swimming the Indian Ocean and hiking the nearby mountains – all the children were encouraged to travel with sketchbooks at the ready and Rob and Paul found themselves visualising products that they as travellers needed but couldn’t find.
Sadly on Boxing Day 200, their lives were forever impacted when they tragically lost their parents in the devastating Tsunami that hit Sri Lanka.
Rob and Paul’s parents instilled in them a keen interest in travelling and adventure and had intended to raise all four children with the powerful understanding of the world that only travelling can impart. This awakened in them the burning desire to create something unique in honour of their adventurous parents.
Remembering the items they needed but couldn’t find Rob and Paul founded Gandys in order to support their Orphans for Orphans foundation and they donate 10% of their profits to helping underprivileged children that are affected by the Tsunami.
The brothers began their mission with the objective to open a kids campus and their dreams came to life when they opened their first Orphans for Orphans children home in Sri Lanka on the 10 year anniversary of the Tsunami.
Their story has touched many people’s hearts and has even attracted the attention of the Royal’s where they were invited to Buckingham palace for the launch of the Queen’s young Leaders program where they shared their journey with the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
They have achieved so much in such a short time and Sir Richard Branson supported the brothers and puts their flip flops and round towels in the room for all people who stay on Necker Island. The Famous brand Liberty collaborated with their prints and held a huge launch in store. The Rolling Stones just asked the brothers to create a summer collection for Rolling Stones exhibitionism World Tour. The Former Prime Minster David Cameron visited them at one of there Kid's Campus in Sri Lanka
Imprinted into each of their designs is a myriad of their travel experiences combined together to express their unique upbringing and adventurous nature.
Rob and Paul’s initial target was to open their first children’s home by the end of 2014 to mark the 10 year anniversary of the tsunami. This they achieved and furthermore expanded the children's home to accommodate more children and members of the community. The Orphans for Orphans facility in Sri Lanka encompasses a broad range of focus areas - including academic support, woodwork lessons and various sports activities. This facility not only provides important facets of youth development in the community - but ensures that children are safely occupied in after school lessons and parents also have a chance to learn English and Maths.
Their vision is now to open children’s homes all over the world - with Nepal next on the list.
Rob and Paul opened their first couple of stores in 2016 the most significant being the flagship store in Spitalfields Market, London.
Rob and Paul plan to continue to improve the lives of the community members in the area who were also impacted by the Boxing Day Tsunami. Today, their journey continues to become evermore adventurous through the release of new products where their experience as travellers is reflected.
They pride themselves on honouring their parents' legacy and are hard at work to create a fashion destination for travellers of the world. In addition to creating quality products for adventurers like themselves, they are seriously committed to continue to build as many children's homes around the world as they can.