Combat Flip Flops has asked is to share this message with you. I have spoken at length with the CFF crew discussing the challenges of economic development in what amounts to a combat zone. While things are better economically in Afghanistan than they were 10 years ago, challenges remain.
We started Combat Flip Flops with the mission of supporting a growing Afghan economy. Our goal to manufacture in Afghanistan is anchored in the belief that a strong economy will sustain the gains made over the last decade.
While our mission hasn’t changed, some things are out of our control. As international forces prepare to withdraw in 2014, the mature Afghan National Army and Police are taking the lead. Afghans are making the best financial decisions to sustain the army and police created alongside coalition forces. Footwear manufacturers in Kabul depend heavily on military contracts, so any decrease in volume has a huge impact on sustainable operations. Unfortunately, the decline came faster than expected and the CFF plant could not sustain operations on supplemental flip flop volume. We received word earlier this month that our current factory would be closing its doors on December 31 due to a lack of military boot contracts.
Although the military manufacturing sector is slowing down, the economy in Afghanistan is on the rise and we’re amazed at the progress we’ve seen over the past few years. Small businesses are booming, schools are creating empowered Afghan youth, and the most professional security services in Afghan history are in place. This wouldn’t have been possible without the opportunity created by the US military and international forces.
So what to do with 3,400 pair of raw materials? We’re bringing it home.
We’ve paid attention to the emails, blog postings, and phone calls asking, “Why don’t you make them in the USA?” Roger that. With a foundation of predictable U.S. production, CFF can withstand the delays, setbacks, and difficulties of doing business in post conflict areas. The shop will be set up in Issaquah, Washington and will begin manufacturing in January 2013. Combat Flip Flops will resume production in Afghanistan and offer a full line of U.S. and Afghan made products to our customers in the near future.
We truly appreciate our customers’ faith and support over the last year. Thank you for sticking with us and we look forward to having regular inventory for delivery this Spring.
Andy, Griff, and Lee
Combat Flip Flops. Bad for running. Worse for fighting
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