Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Historic Royal Photos for Sale! See Stunning Snaps of a Young Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles
- Read the Cover Story: How Blake Shelton Is Moving On After Split
- Hayden Panettiere Enters Treatment for Postpartum Depression
- 1-Year-Old Girl Covered in Bruises Found Dead in Crib: Police
- FROM EW: Denzel Washington to Helm Episode of Grey's Anatomy
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- May 21, 1990
- Vol. 33
- No. 20
Ken Girouard Turns a Fruity Gag into a Really Fruitful Fad
Surprisingly, the lighthearted look began, in a sense, with a corporate merger—one that four years ago cost Connecticut-born Girouard his job producing commercials for New York City's Ogilvy & Mather agency and sent him packing for the sunny solace of Venice Beach, Calif. There, he struggled to make ends meet, working as both a landscaper and bartender. So in 1987, while pondering a gift for a friend's birthday, he thought novel—and cheap. "I had a big plastic banana and a lemon, and I just sewed them onto some thongs," says Girouard, who lives alone. "I did it as a joke on those cheap ones you buy at a thrift store." Word spread, requests streamed in (about three a week, at first) and within months the accidental entrepreneur had taken over a garden shack in a friend's backyard, brought in a desk, plugged in a telephone and founded his own company, Two Left Feet (named in memory of his childhood clumsiness).
Today, at a production rate of about 12 dozen pairs a week—the embellished $2.50 thongs retail for about $40—Fruit Flops are garnering giggles in six countries, from the United States to Saudi Arabia. Soon, Girouard will even be able to sec his fancy footwork onscreen: The Dennis Hopper-Don Johnson movie Hot Spot, scheduled for release later this year, will feature a custom-made high-heeled version.
Still, don't expect Girouard to go bananas over his newfound success. For starters, the popularity of silk and paper flowers and fruit makes the authentic (and waterproof) plastic decorations hard to find. Then there's the question of labor. "I tried getting Girl Scouts to make the sandals," he says. "What a horrible experience. They just wanted to go out and play." The cost of his materials also keeps his profits relatively low: Last year, he grossed $30,000. Though he still tends bar to keep his flip business from flopping, Girouard, ever the adman, is not discouraged. "I created a need." he boasts. "I mean, who needs these shoes? There was no need. Now there is."
October 10, 2015
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!