Fish Flops Makes Big Catch with BBC

NEW YORK — Teenaged entrepreneur Madison Robinson’s fledgling FishFlops just made a big catch.

The company, founded in 2010, when Robinson was just 12 years old, has inked a partnership with industry powerhouse BBC International. Under the deal, BBC has taken a 50 percent stake in the business, known for its colorful flip-flops featuring marine-life motifs.

The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company will partner with Robinson and her father and business partner,

Dan Robinson, on the development of three labels: the existing FishFlops collection; a new, higher-priced

FishFlops by Madison Nicole line; and the fashion-focused Madison Nicole (currently available at retail as tween apparel). The Robinsons will collaborate on the design and marketing of the collections, while BBC will manage sourcing, production and sales.

Bob Campbell, BBC’s chairman and CEO, said he has followed FishFlops’ growth over the past few years and is bullish about the potential.

“When I met the Robinsons, I just fell in love with the whole thing. I’m so impressed with Madison and what she has achieved with this company at such a young age,” he said. “She succeeded in selling her shoes into Nordstrom [in 2012], which is an incredible feat for a newcomer. We have big plans for helping her take her business to the next level.”

Robinson, now 16 and a high school junior in Cypress, Texas, said she is excited to work with Campbell and his team. “BBC has a young, fashion-minded focus, which [matches up well] with my vision. The experience BBC offers was a major part of my decision to team with them.”

For fall ’15, BBC will showcase an expanded assortment under the core FishFlops brand, including canvas sneakers and cozy boots. The line already offers a range of flip-flops, sandals and wedges for kids and adults, as well as novelty T-shirts. The new FishFlops by Madison Nicole collection will launch in spring ’16, along with a shoe line under the Madison Nicole label.

Campbell said he envisions building Madison Nicole into a full-fledged lifestyle offering aimed at tweens, teens and adults. “We want to develop Madison Nicole into a true fashion brand across footwear, apparel and accessories, And we want to take it global. But we’re also taking it slow and trying to be careful about building it the right way,” Campbell said, noting that the firm will license out non-shoe categories.

Robinson said she sees Madison Nicole as a chance to offer more mature, contemporary looks. “I have opportunities to get feedback from my friends — they’re always honest with their opinions.”

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