Bernd Hummel, a German company that has had been successfully involved since 1981 with the KangaROOS brand, has acquired Flip*Flop, the small but fast-growing German supplier of colorful thongs that we spoke about a few weeks ago (see Shoe Intelligence no. 21 of last Nov. 20).

Flip-Flop had already started to diversify its product range. Under the new ownership the process will be accelerated, offering a wide array of items associated with sun-soaked holidays. Hummel’s contacts and finances should help to launch more products under the Flip*Flop brand, such as bathrobes, bikinis, sunglasses and maybe even cosmetics. Hummel may also persuade KangaROOS distributors and licensees in other countries to back up Flip*Flop’s export business, which currently makes up about half of its small turnover. Hummel’s license for KangaROOS, which has been the property of Pentland Group for many years, covers much of Central and Eastern Europe.

Set up 5 years ago by Stefanie Schulze, a former executive of the Atomic ski company, Flip-Flop reached sales of about €3 million last year, concentrating on rubber thongs, bags, tee-shirts and beach towels. Schulze sold her lean and profitable company because it had reached such a scope that it required an increased level of managerial and financial commitment to go to the next level. She will stay on as a consultant, handling product development, while Hummel himself will coordinate the brand’s expansion from his office in Pirmasens. Day-to-day operations in Munich will be supervised by Katrin Feuchter, a member of the original Flip*Flop team.