Posted: November 02, 2012
Top Company winner: Crocs Inc.By Lisa Ryckman
A lot of people who meet Crocs CEO John McCarvel want to know why he doesn’t wear the product he sells.
His answer? "I am wearing the product."
Wait – those are Crocs?
"You think about Crocs, you think about colorful clogs in 5,000 colors," McCarvel says. "But that’s not really who we are today. In the last three years, we’ve introduced styles in a variety of different areas, from women’s sandals to flip-flops to sneakers. We’ve got shoes for all seasons."
It’s no wonder Crocs has been named a 2012 Top Company. Just a few short years ago, the Niwot-based company teetered on the edge of a business abyss: sales tanked, jobs lost, bankruptcy looming.
"We became over-distributed, we became known for one thing," McCarvel says. "We sold the product from gas stations all the way to high-end department stores."
But Crocs has been reborn, rising from the ashes like some kind of footwear phoenix. More than 300 styles of Crocs are now sold in hundreds of stores around the world. Last year, the company reported sales of $1 billion, and it has reported 30 percent growth in each of the last two years.
Crocs are now showing up on the feet of the famous, including Tom Brady, Halle Berry and Brad Pitt. They’re also being worn by people around the world who might treasure them as their only pair of shoes. Through the Crocs Cares program, Crocs has given away more than 3 million pairs of shoes worth about $20 million to people everywhere in need of footwear, 70 percent of whom are children.
"We’ve come a long way in the last three years," McCarvel says. "In the beginning, it’s great to have an iconic product. Most companies would die to have something they were known for in a certain market. Clogs that became synonymous with the word ‘Crocs’ globally were a fantastic starting point.
"Sometimes, you have to look at it a little bit to see the clog underneath the actual new product or shoe," McCarvel says. "Hopefully, (consumers) get the message that we’re evolving from the iconic clog to a brand of much more."
Lisa Ryckman is the online editor at cobizmag.com.