Crocs, Inc. is a shoe manufacturer founded by Scott Seamans, Lyndon "Duke" Hanson, and George Boedecker, Jr. — to produce and distribute a foam clog design acquired from a Quebec company called Foam Creations. The shoe was originally developed as a boating shoe. The first model produced by Crocs, the Beach, was unveiled in 2002 at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show in Florida, and sold out the 200 pairs produced at that time.
Manufacture and patents
In June 2004, Crocs purchased Foam Creations and their manufacturing operations to secure exclusive rights to the proprietary foam resin called Croslite. Croslite is a closed cell resin. The foam forms itself to a wearer's feet and offers purported medical benefits, according to a number of podiatrists. Crocs holds one patent covering various utility aspects of its footwear, U.S. Patent No. B2 issued February 7, 2006, and three design patents covering various ornamental aspects, U.S. Patent Nos. , , and issued on March 28, 2006.
As of 2007, the company had applied to register "Crocs" and the Crocs logo as trademarks in over 40 jurisdictions around the world, including the U.S.; many such applications were pending approval. Crocs also extended the scope of their trademark registrations and applications for both the Crocs mark and logo to cover non-footwear products such as sunglasses, goggles, knee pads, watches, luggage, and some of their internet sales activities.
Imitations and counterfeits
Crocs announced in 2006 that it filed complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Federal District Court against 11 companies that manufacture, import or distribute products, called "croc-offs", that Crocs believes infringe its patents. Seizures of fake Crocs occurred in 2007 in the Philippines and Denmark, and were under litigation in South Africa. In 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that Crocs' design patent had been infringed.
Crocs-like brands include Airwalk, Poliwalks, USA Dawgs/Doggers, NothinZ, Veggies etc. Versions of the Croc style clogs have appeared in children's fashion catalogs, usually under their own name brands or as no names. Other knock-offs are in discount stores, amusement park stores, beach stores, department stores, and superstores.
Crocs are made in a variety of styles. They are manufactured in Crocs facilities in Mexico and China, and contract manufacturers in Italy, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vietnam, China and Argentina (Saladillo).
The shoes are produced in an array of colors depending on the model. The Classic styles are available in more than 20 colors; most other styles are produced in a palette of four to six colors or two-color combinations.
Crocs also sells other fashion accessories. Jibbitz are decorations that can be clipped to the ventilation holes in the shoes. These include designs, mainly aimed at children, which feature Disney characters. The company has also released a line of purses in a variety of colors.
A "Fuzz Collection" with removable woolly liners extend the range into winter wear.
In 2008, the company entered the golf shoe marketplace, acquiring golf shoe manufacturer Bite Footwear. A Croc-styled pair of golf shoes, the Ace, was introduced.
Health and safety
Some Crocs shoes were tested and recommended by the U.S. Ergonomics company in 2005 and were accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association in 2009. In 2008, the U.S. government Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved a model of Crocs with molded insoles as diabetic footwear, to help reduce foot injuries.
Footwear such as Crocs and flip-flops came under scrutiny in 2006 in the U.S. and 2008 in Japan when children suffered injuries after the shoes became caught in escalator mechanisms. This was due to the soft shoe material combined with the smaller size of children's feet. In 2008, Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry, after receiving 65 complaints of injuries, requested that Crocs change its design.
Internationally, some healthcare facilities introduced policies in 2007 regulating Crocs. Rapid City Regional Hospital in South Dakota changed its dress code to prohibit the sandal variants and those with holes, citing safety concerns, but allowed closed-top "Professional" and the healthcare-focused "Rx" Crocs to be worn. Over one hundred hospitals in Canada were advised to implement similar policies. Blekinge and Karolinska University hospitals in Sweden banned the wearing of "Forsberg slippers" (Foppatofflor) by staff, due to high voltage static electricity buildup which was observed to interfere with electronic equipment. City hospitals in Vienna, Austria announced banning Crocs, often worn by nursing staff, to comply with antistatic requirements.
Crocs announced the Fuse and two others in 2009, formulated to dissipate static electricity in accordance with European standard EN ISO 20347:2004 (E), for use in the medical sector.
In January 2007, Crocs acquired assets of Ocean Minded for $1.75 million in cash, plus potentially $3.75 million based on performance. Ocean Minded makes leather and ethylene-vinyl acetate-based footwear. In July 2007 Crocs agreed to buy shoe and sandalmaker Bite Footwear, based in Redmond, Washington for $1.75 million, or up to double that based on earnings results.
In April 2008, Crocs acquired Tidal Trade, Inc. ("Tidal Trade"), the Company's third party distributor in South Africa, for $4.6 million. The Company recorded $1.4 million in customer relationships on the date of acquisition. Crocs repurchased inventory previously sold to Tidal Trade and accordingly recognized a reduction of revenue of approximately $2.1 million. Also in April the Company acquired Tagger International B.V. ("Tagger"), a private limited liability company incorporated under Dutch law that manufactures messenger bags. Tagger was partially owned by the Managing Director of Crocs Europe B.V. The Company acquired all Tagger assets for $2 million: $90,000 for inventory and $1.9 million for the Tagger trademark. Later in June Crocs liquidated Fury, Inc. two years after acquiring it, after efforts to sell it off were unsuccessful. As a result, Crocs wrote off $250,000 related to the remaining customer relationships, intangible assets and trademarks over three months.
Starting in 2006, sales of Crocs increased dramatically, with first-quarterly sales roughly tripling from 2006 to 2007, according to the New York Times. A Washington Post article described the phenomenon: "Nor is the fashion world enamored of Crocs. Though their maker touts their 'ultra-hip Italian styling,' lots of folks find them hideous." Tim Gunn, fashion consultant, told Time magazine, "... the Croc – it looks like a plastic hoof. How can you take that seriously?" A blog named "IHateCrocs.com" was founded by two Canadian college students (one, Kate Leth, referred to the shoes as "hideous"), while website "CrocFans.com" documents uses of the shoes. The Facebook group "I Don't Care How Comfortable Crocs Are, You Look Like a Dumbass" has been mentioned in the media.
On June 14, 2015, 23-month-old Prince George, son of Prince William and Kate Middleton, was photographed at a charity event wearing navy blue crocs. After one week, this created a 1,500 percent increase of sales, according to a Amazon.co.uk spokesperson.
The shoes have been targets of satire: on Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher called for a "New rule: stop wearing plastic shoes," over a photo of Crocs, and The Daily Show "Senior Public Restroom Correspondent" Rob Corddry, following up on the Senator Larry Craig June 2007 lewd conduct arrest, "reported" that anyone wearing Crocs is signalling "anything goes." Websites by fans and critics have been created allowing individuals to share their views about Crocs. Crocs are #6 on the "Worst" list of Maxim's "The 10 Best & Worst Things to Happen to Men in 2007."
In 2007, then-President George W. Bush wore black Crocs with socks publicly. In August 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama was spotted wearing Crocs with her daughter. A 2008 anti-Crocs essay by Steve Tuttle in Newsweek generated much response from readers who both agreed and disagreed with it. In late 2009, the company changed marketing direction, away from fashion and towards comfort, betting that their long-term prospects would be best served by appealing to workers who spend a lot of time on their feet. In May 2010, Time magazine listed Crocs as one of the world's "50 Worst Inventions".
In November 2007, a class action lawsuit was filed against Crocs Inc., alleging that the company and certain of its officers issued false and misleading statements during the Class Period. A settlement of $1,000,000 was reached in 2011.
Crocs completed the initial public offering of its common stock in February 2006. It began trading on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol CROX. On October 31, 2007 the stock CROX dropped from $75 per share to slightly under $40 (its value six months previously) when the company announced decreased revenue projections. On April 14, 2008, during the midst of the Credit crunch of 2008, the stock dropped 30% in after-hours trading after the company issued a press release in which they significantly guided down earnings estimates for the first quarter. In the same statement they also said they would lay off its 600 Quebec City factory employees as retailers have been reducing orders, though about 100 sales and marketing positions would remain. "The retail environment in the U.S. has become increasingly challenging as consumer spending and traffic levels have slowed," Chief Executive Officer Ron Snyder said. During the financial crisis, CROX dropped to as low as $0.79 before rebounding ($15.50 by November 2010). On October 18, 2011, Crocs stock suffered a single day drop of about 39.4% on lowered earnings and revenues forecast.
In June 2013, Crocs reported a 42.5% decrease in net profits from a year before. As a result the stock fell 20.2% in one day.
In December 2013, embattled hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors has disclosed a 5% stake in footwear manufacturer Crocs just over a day after The Blackstone Group said it would invest $200 million in a convertible preferred stock offering that will allow the company to replace its CEO and buy back $350 million in stock. SAC Capital management said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday it had accumulated a 5% passive stake in Crocs.
On 21 July 2014, Crocs, Inc announced a restructuring plan which would both streamline its operations and workforce by eliminating 180 jobs, close 75 to 100 stores (out of 624 worldwide) and then scrap underperforming brands in its product line. Crocs has previously eliminated 183 positions, including 70 positions and planned positions in its corporate headquarters in Niwot. Crocs also announced that it will open a "Global Commercial Center" with 50 to 75 employees in Boston later in 2014 for merchandising, marketing and retail functions.