Monday, June 18, 2018
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Young minds put best foot forward for Banana Peel

How do you sell a product as common as a pair of slippers? In a sea of plain, solid-colored generic slippers, coming up with colorful and flip-flops with unique designs is the best bet to catch anyone’s attention.

Banana Peel has been selling brightly colored flip-flops with fun, trendy designs since 2002.

Nikki Ng, who started Banana Peel with her husband Paul, noticed back then how slippers were considered a no-no as a footwear outside the home in the Philippines.

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But during Nikki’s time as a student at the University of California, Berkeley, it was common to see the locals wear slippers everywhere, all the time.

“I observed the lifestyle there, and you know Californians are very, very laid back… they wear ‘tsinelas’ all through out, and I adopted that kind of lifestyle. When I moved back here, it did not make sense to me that people are so uptight when they go out, when we have nice, tropical weather all year round. So I told my husband ‘why don’t we bring in flip-flops,’ which was the trend in the West Coast,” says Nikki, who also serves as Banana Peel’s marketing and creative director.

But to make their flip-flops stand out among the generic, solid-colored slippers that were the common norm then, she thought of making flip-flops that were visually appealing. Placed beside plain slippers, Banana Peel’s flip-flops surely appeal more to consumer’s visual senses.

Aware that keeping up with latest fads is quite a challenge, Nikki hired young, creative minds to design the Banana Peel products.

All the designs are done by their in-house creative team. The designs are carefully-thought of, usually following the current trends per season. The team members analyze the trends and then try to localize them to fit the local market.

“I have very vibrant people, who inspire the flip-flops’ vibrant colors. Recently, they submitted designs that are all about pineapple, and thanks to them I found out that pineapple designs are in today. Most of our creatives are 20- to 25-year-olds. So it’s important to have young blood in the company,” shares Nikki.

The creative team comes up with collections consisting of six to eight designs. They value quality and durability while maintaining the affordable price of Banana Peel.

Banana Peel is also a licensed distributor of Sanrio and Disney-designed flip-flops, which add to the company’s vast collection of fun patterns.

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Last year, Banana Peel partnered with the Department of Tourism to promote the country via the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” flip-flops. The designs were inspired by common Pinoy traditions and practices.

To meet the campaign’s demand, the young creative team churned out designs influenced by local street cultures such as the jeepney, ice candy, balut, among others. They also came up with regional and tourist attraction-inspired designs.

The World Wide Fund for Nature has also tapped Banana Peel in making slippers that promote the organization’s cause.

Nikki recalls that the concept of boldly colored and printed flip-flops made a mall giant she approached hesitant to distribute and gamble on Banana Peel. But within a month on display, the flip-flops were already flying off the shelves. In the end, the mall had requested more stocks and designs.

“I told them that this is something that would work. When the shelves immediately became empty and they started booking more orders, they even requested more colors and fancier prints. Their perception changed,” says Nikki.

To meet the demand for their trendy flip-flops, Banana Peel opened its first concept store in 2005. The idea is to reach the consumers directly, and leave them with a wider variety of choices in design, color and style.

Nikki encourages her young staff to express their creativity in designing flip-flops while having fun at the same time. She knows that for as long as they all have the same vision of producing colorful, fun products, Banana Peel will continue to be the top brand of vibrant flip-flops—made by young minds and worn by the young at heart.

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