Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Business

April 24, 2011

These shoes are made for drinkin’

Kokomo creation FlipFlasks have received attention at national level

(Continued)

But at a cost of $30 per pair, Weber and Rayl have been able to sell a few hundred pairs of FlipFlasks since they debuted in November.

Sales have picked up in recent weeks after regional and national endorsements.

Rayl said he has sent pairs of the sandals to celebrities, including several talk show hosts, around the U.S. in hopes of earning an on-air mention.

The most-viewed spotlight so far came from Ellen DeGeneres earlier this month, when she featured FlipFlasks on her daytime talk show.

With a display of the shoes and a downward tip of the heel, she poured a beverage into a martini glass and the crowd roared.

Her response: “I think if somebody sees you drinking out of a shoe, they might think you have a drinking problem.”

The network TV air time, along with a mention on “The Bob and Tom Show,” led to spurts of buyers who visited FlipFlasks’ website to find a gift that would earn them a laugh.

Made for Men

Rayl and Weber know their product is a novelty, best suited for shelves in gag gift stores. That’s why they’re marketing FlipFlasks to young men.

“They actually are comfortable,” Rayl said.

The duo has been blanketing university campuses, concerts and tailgate areas at sporting events to find buyers. Weber said he and Rayl have convinced a few liquor stores in the Kokomo area to sell FlipFlasks.

The men have been looking for musical artists, many of whom Weber knows through his speaker store, to sell the shoes at concerts or endorse them on-stage.

Plans are in place to develop FlipFlasks for women, possibly an all-black style.

Other styles of shoes could also await if the sandals sell well enough, Rayl and Weber said.

“We thought it might be funny to do a high heel where you drink from the heel,” Rayl said.

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