Tsunami Kids: Our Journey from Survival to Success

Paul and Rob Forkan -Gandys - Barenaturals Darcey Croft Blog

What makes some companies soar successfully while others trundle along inspiring very few? Starting a business in today’s economy is not easy. Yet the ones that figure it out, all have a common thread in that they pursue purpose, alongside the pursuit of profit.

Purpose effects people in a way that pursuing the profits never will. For a company to flourish, it needs to permeate its purpose in all that it does. It’s an inconspicuous but ever present element that drives a company. It can be a strategic starting point and by turning your products into conscious consumables that pay it forward can become an organic attractor of loyal customers.

Gandys Rob Forkan - David and Darcey BarenaturalsLast week the Barenaturals team and I were invited along to celebrate Gandy’s new Spitalfields store in London. Rob and Paul Forkan are the founders of Gandy’s, another British brand who are the exemplification of a company that weaves threads of purpose throughout everything they stand for. I highly recommend reading their story Tsunami Kids: Our Journey from Survival to Success. If you are looking for inspiration then you should read this moving tale of two survivors overcoming the odds to succeed and help others. A heartbreaking and yet simultaneously uplifting story.

On Boxing day 2004, Rob, Paul, Matty and Rosie Forkan tragically lost their parents in the Boxing Day Tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka. Aged from 8 to 17, they subsequently faced a harrowing and solitary 200km trek across the decimated country to get home to safety.

The bravery, ingenuity and resilience they displayed was the result of their unusual upbringing. Taken out of school at a young age, they received an unconventional and global education, learning independence and resourcefulness whilst carrying out voluntary work for charities in India alongside their parents.

Paul and Rob, Orphans for Orphans blog by Darcey Croft Barenaturals
In the decade since the tsunami, Rob and Paul have achieved an incredible feat. They have created a multinational brand, Gandy’s Flip Flops, based in the front room of their rented flat and endorsed by entrepreneurs including Richard Branson, and set up Orphans for Orphans, a charitable organization that uses 10% of the profits to support children deprived of education, nutrition and medication.

This is a heartbreaking, engaging but ultimately uplifting journey from the streets of Sri Lanka to the boardrooms of London, Downing Street and beyond as told by two inspirational survivors.

Gandy's Paul Gandy and Barenaturals Darcey Croft

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