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The unique history of Gandys begins with a trip halfway around the world where the Forkan family sold everything they had to explore and volunteer around the world together. In 2001 Rob and Paul parents removed their four children from the structured school system in England and enrolled them in what they believed was the best form of education; the university of life.
On Boxing Day 2004, Rob and Paul’s lives were forever impacted when they tragically lost their parents in the devastating Tsunami that hit Sri Lanka. Rob and Paul’s parents raised them to believe they should do more in life than just exist, and they instilled in them a keen interest in travelling and adventure, intended to raise all four children with the powerful understanding of the world that only travelling can impart. This awakened in them the burning desire to create something unique in honour of their adventurous parents.
With their life’s contents secured in each of their backpacks, the family then embarked on a trip around the world that included travelling as well as volunteering with local charities in India, too. Between swimming the Indian Ocean and hiking the nearby mountains - they travelled with sketchbooks at the ready and Rob and Paul absorbed their travel experiences through visualising products that they as travellers needed but couldn’t find.
Inspired by their bohemian upbringing, and experiences the brothers created Gandys, a brand on a mission, a mission to stop people passively letting life go by when they could be doing more. Rob and Paul founded Gandys in order to support their Orphans for Orphans foundation by donating 10% of their profits to helping underprivileged children that are affected by the Tsunami. The brothers began their mission with the objective to open a kids campus and help fellow orphans, as well as, to spread the message to people to live life to the fullest. Their story has touched many people’s hearts and has even attracted the attention of the Royal’s where they were invited to Buckingham palace for the launch of the Queen’s young Leaders program where they shared their journey with the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Gandys has thereafter proved to be an effective platform for Rob and Paul to use in order to bring to life their mission of helping underprivileged children and to creatively express their experiences of travelling the world.
Rob and Paul’s initial target was to open their first children’s home by the end of 2014 to mark the 10 year anniversary of the tsunami. They were fortunate enough to have achieved this and furthermore expanded the children's home to accommodate more children and members of the community. The Orphans for Orphans facility in Sri Lanka encompasses a broad range of focus areas - including academic support, woodwork lessons and various sports activities. This facility not only provides important facets of youth development in the community - but ensures that children are safely occupied in after school lessons and parents also have a chance to learn English and Maths.
Their vision is now to open children’s homes all over the world - with Nepal next on our list.
After the popularity of the Flip flops designed by Rob and Paul it was only natural they went on to create swim shorts, the first piece of clothing ever sold by Gandys. The collection of swim shorts were a favourite in John Lewis and sold out in record time. The brothers also designed their signature Bali backpack, and the iconic round towel, a favourite with instagrammers across the world.
Rob and Paul are extremely proud to have opened their first couple of stores this year, including one in Spitalfields Market, London. This was where they received their first ever wholesale order so it’s great to come full circle - Gandys now has a base for everyone to come and join in and share the journey.
Rob and Paul successfully open the second children’s home in Malawi in 2017. Following the positive impact of the kids campus in Sri Lanka, they knew they had to work even harder to keep building across the world, and with your ongoing support they won’t be stopped. “There is no better feeling than laying the first foundations of a new kids campus” - Rob & Paul
It was an especially busy year for the Gandys brothers in 2017. They opened several more stores in iconic London locations, such as Covent Garden, Camden, Clapham and Richmond. More stores means a bigger team and Christmas was the perfect time for everyone to get together and go iceskating! Rob and Paul have also continued to develop their product range, helping them become the leading fashion destination for travellers of the world.
The new year is off to a flying start already, with the Duke of Cambridge seen proudly donning the Gandys flag during his recent Royal tour of Scandinavia. The prince wore the Gandys Snow Star Bobble Hat in burgundy and navy during his appearances in Sweden and Norway. Now we can officially say we have dressed the Royals from head to toe!
Rob and Paul plan to continue to improve the lives of children and communities through the Orphans for Orphans initiative. Today, their journey continues to become evermore adventurous through the release of new products where their experience as travellers are reflected.
They pride themselves on honouring their parents' legacy and are hard at work to keep growing the Gandys community. This year, they are asking you to get involved, to spread the word, to make sure you Don’t Just Exist.
To find out more about their journey from the slums of India to the boardrooms of London and Buckingham Palace - order your own copy of “Tsunami Kids” and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.