Rainbow Sandals Inc. was established in 1974 in Laguna Beach, California by Jay "Sparky" Longley and is currently based out of San Clemente, California. The company specializes in men's and women's leather, hemp, and rubber flip-flops.
When Longley first started making sandals, he was assembling 15 pairs per day out of leather and Malaysian rubber in the garage of his Laguna Beach home. He relocated to San Clemente in 1975 and began manufacturing 1,200 pairs of sandals a day. Since 2002, Longley had to move 75% of production to China because of a solvent in the glue he makes. Longley had to install a catalytic oxidizer at his San Clemente factory that scrubs all the volatile organic compounds (VOC) out of the glue before it's emitted into the air. He is legally only allowed to make 1,000 pairs per day in San Clemente. In China, they use a VOC-Free glue. Longley cannot use the VOC-Free glue in California because it is too combustable under the Fire Code. In order to keep up the high quality of the sandals, Longley and Rainbow® Sandals send over the same high quality leather and materials that they are assembled with. In addition, Longley manufactures sandals in San Clemente, California and in China.
Rainbow sandals are unisex sandals that were only sold and distributed all over California before it became a popular demand. Now, the availability has spread throughout many parts of the world. Rainbow sandals are generally regarded as high-end flip-flops due to their construction with leather, ranging in price from $16 – $90. A regular pair usually cost about 50 dollars, depending on the tax. The high end Rainbow Sandals are decorated with diamond crystals on both of the straps. Rainbow Sandals are available online and at department and specialty stores nationwide, the original factory store in San Clemente, and a company-owned retail store in New York City.
Rainbow Sandals also offers many different types of footwear for a wide range of prices. The product offerings have also increased from just sandals to include shoes and boots. Leather is not the only material available; for the environmentally minded there is also a line of hemp products. For those who are opposed to the use of natural animal hides, Rainbow Sandals offers synthetic materials as an alternative.
Rainbow Sandals Philanthropy: Rainbow Sandals has set up a Repair, Reuse, Recycle program. Because of the layered construction of the sandal, Rainbow Sandals is able to repair broken sandals if they ever break. If a customer brings their old and worn out Rainbow Sandals to the factory outlet in San Clemente, Rainbow Sandals will give them 10% off their purchase of a new pair. Instead of throwing the old sandals away and filling the landfill, the returned sandals are cleaned up, repaired if needed, and then donated to the homeless, churches, and victims of natural disasters. Longley philosophy has been to make something that will not break, last a long time and not end up in the land fill.
Longley and his wife Chanya, have teamed with the Showers of Blessings and helped finance a trailer that allows the homeless to take a shower. Every Saturday morning, the homeless of Santa Ana can come to the civic center to be fed and take a hot shower. The trailer facilitates 2 showers and 1 handicap shower. They also provide avocados and oranges grown at their ranch in Temecula, CA to help feed the homeless too.
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- Nguyen, Hang (21 Apr 2006). "$7 billion sandal industry is in midst of one of its prime selling seasons". Orange County Register. Retrieved 2008-07-27.