Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010
Road to Palm Springs
Lindsay Phillips Inc.
Cedar Knolls, New Jersey
Lindsay Phillips had an idea – which is, of course, where all entrepreneurs begin their path to success. But her story begins earlier than most. Her idea evolved from a high school art project in Florida when she created a pair of ceramic “flip-flops” footwear decorated with beach ornaments.
Her mother (and eventual business partner), Elisabeth, proudly displayed her artwork in their home. Visitors loved the concept, and Lindsay’s friends wanted their own pair of real flip-flops decorated with their personalized adornments.
She began designing functional flip-flops with colorful straps, each adorned with a unique button. She realized that by using Velcro she could create one shoe with many straps, providing unlimited choices – not to mention the perfect up sell – with minimal effort. SwitchFlops were born, and Lindsay applied for a patent while still in high school.
She continued to work on her project in college, learning about shoe design and reaching out to graphic designers and patent lawyers. She won an internship at Ralph Lauren in New York. After three years of hard work, she was rewarded with a patent on her interchangeable shoe design.
Her mother took her to China to create the first SwitchFlop prototype, which won her a complimentary booth at the Orlando Surf Expo. They had 5,000 pairs made for the expo, and they sold out.
Today, Lindsay Phillips is at the helm of a company with more than 30 employees. The company has expanded its design team and products, now offering interchangeable “strap and snap” systems with more than 15 styles of shoes and a line of complementary bags and scarves. In the past three years, store penetration has grown from 700 to more than 4,000.