Shoes With Soul
A pair of brothers produces a new flip-flop — with a difference — right in downtown New Rochelle
Soul Brothers: Tommy and Tim Gibb are making a big splash in flip-flops from their 10,000 sq ft factory in New Rochelle.
Does the world need another flip-flop? Brothers Tommy and Tim Gibb, the entrepreneurs behind the Tidal New York brand of flip-flops, say yes — provided it’s one that marries fashion with comfort and is made in America from domestically sourced materials. “When the tidal wave of manufacturing comes back to America, we want to have a boat in it,” explains Tim.
With 20 years’ experience sourcing footwear production globally, the Gibbs were convinced they could build better flip-flops — right in New Rochelle. The brothers are also committed to creating long-term job opportunities and employing veterans whenever possible. It’s part of the company’s three core values: “Make it better. Make it here. Make a difference.”
After founding their company in May 2014, the Gibbs opened their state-of-the-art 10,000 sq ft factory the following February, with the first shoes manufactured that May. In its first 12 months, it shipped 51,000 pairs of shoes with just six employees.
So how can Tidal compete against brands made overseas in Asia and South America with lower labor costs? “We invested a lot in infrastructure, automated processes, and technology,” says Tommy. “We don’t have a long labor line, and we’re crazy efficient.” All design, manufacturing, labeling, warehousing, and shipping and receiving are done at the New Rochelle facility.
Retailing for around $26, Tidal flip-flops, which are sold in department stores and online. They get their fashion cred from a high-res printing process that turns out progressive graphics, as well as designs by such art icons as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The brand also focuses on comfort, boasting components like a Wavefoam sole, found in high-performance athletic midsoles, as well as molded arch support and engineered treads, for greater traction.
What’s the next wave for Tidal? Look for category expansion and other lifestyle product spinoffs.