Friday, August 31, 2012

Flip Flops or Sandals

Only In Rhode

As we head into Labor Day weekend, I am realizing that Fall is upon us, and Winter will be here about 5 minutes after that. Every single year I try to figure out some ingenious way to convert my flip flops into shoes that I can wear all winter, even in the snow. So far, I've got nothing.


These are my actual shoes on my actual feet

I have more than 30 pair of Douglas Paquette Flip Flops and I wear them all day every day until I absolutely can't bear the weather and I unhappily put on real shoes. My love affair with this fabulous footwear started 6 years ago, when we began carrying them in our stores. The company was based in Providence for many years and originally made hair ornaments. They then expanded into jewelry, then belts and accessories, a bunch of other stuff, and now premium ribbon sandals, or flip flops in my midwestern parlance. They are now located in a much larger warehouse in North Kingstown, RI and they design, create, and sell Pet Accessories too. (which we also love and we also sell - and yes, you can match your dog's collar to your shoes!)


My actual dogs in their actual collars

Unlike many things in my life, I don't just love these sandals because they're cute - I love them because my feet love them!! Each Spring, every member of my staff receives a brand new pair of the sandals of her choice and we all agree that there's nothing like putting your feet into a new pair of flip flops. It's heavenly! And because they're designed with firm arch support I can wear them for 12 hours at a time and not even realize I've been on my feet. Retail is pretty grueling when it comes to your feet so I wouldn't wear them if they didn't deliver.

And perhaps my other favorite thing about them (after the cuteness of the ribbon styles) is that you can throw them in the washing machine and they come out looking brand new! I do this every Spring and some of my flops are 6 years old, but you can't tell!!

So, I'm still trying to figure out how I can get through the New England Winter with flip flops on my feet. If you come up with a way to do this, and you create this product of yours in Rhode Island......we just might be able to  help each other out.............

This is the story of the Douglas Paquette Company in their own words..

"Douglas Paquette Accessories was started in 1976 as a hair ornament company. As with most small business owners starting up in the 2nd floor apartment, with the dining room as the stockroom and the kitchen as executive office, times were simple. During the day the owner would visit local stores in his red Volkswagen Karmann Ghia and then returned to his high-tech facility to process and ship the orders. This mega order processing center consisted of his mother Louise who expedited the hair ornament orders for packaging and then left them upstairs, on the 3rd floor landing, for Lorraine.  Lorraine was a hoot; she was a nurse at the local hospital who suffered from insomnia.  The insomnia was a double edge sword, not necessarily good for Lorraine but the orders were packaged perfectly and left on the 2nd floor landing for next day shipping. (Lorraine liked making money while watching Johnny Carson)  Mom then would take out the old black Underwood typewriter, create an invoice, pack the box and wait for UPS to show.  Louise would leave for home around 3PM to make dinner for her beloved husband Arthur. 
Well as with most stories of small businesses there are lots of things that you just don’t see coming. Who would ever think that a U.S. Olympian would change the course of business?  Dorothy Hamill won her 1st Gold Medal at the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck. We were all very proud of America’s sweetheart but did she have to cut all the hair off!!!  Needless to say sales in hair goods dropped by 90% in the course of 6 months (we still cringe when Ice Capades come to town) 
The company had to change gears in a hurry, thank goodness that the U.S. jewelry industry was 10 miles away.  Douglas Paquette Accessories branched out into jewelry manufacturing to build a core business and then continued with an array of products such as, belts, belt buckles, ladies and men’s neckwear, door knockers, cabinet hardware, pet products and footwear. 
2012 will be the 37th year in business for Douglas Paquette Accessories and there are just a few thoughts about its longevity.  Make a great quality product at a fair price, honor your customers because they are the lifeblood of your business, and always keep your eye on the future and trends like Dorothy’s haircut."
Doug & Allyson Paquette

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