The Seattle native, 36, and Army Ranger veteran was working as a government contractor at the time, setting up medical clinics when he toured the facility. He went back to his hotel room that night, registered the domain name combatflipflops.com and a small business was born.
“Our concept was to create flip-flops in a combat boot factory in Afghanistan,” said Griffin.
“I really like the symbolism of taking something that’s made for combat to making something that’s for chilling and relaxing,” Griffin said.
So the company designed flip-flops with heavy duty combat boot rubber outsoles and casual thong uppers. The story and mission gained attention. The company was overwhelmed with orders on its first run of sandals.
With a patient but eager customer base, they had to get creative, sending all the materials to his garage in Seattle where his co-founders, Andy Sewrey,42, and fellow soldier Donald Lee, 39, turned his garage into a factory and made 4,000 pairs of sandals themselves.
However, the company expanded beyond flip-flops and now makes sarongs and shemaghs at a female-owned factory in Kabul, Afghanistan, where part of the proceeds go towards the education of women in secondary school.