Q. What happens to the off cuts?
A: We do all sorts of things with the offcuts, we have sent some to soft play areas in Nairobi, we make beds for pets, we have even made affordable mattresses for the poor in the slums of Nairobi.
Q. Are all the sculptures 100% pure flip flop?
A. Good question, not always. The sculptures are glued together using EU-conforming glue. We also take waste polystyrene from a factory in Nairobi and we use that to form the shape of the heads and the bodies on Larges, Extra Larges and Wall Arts before layering flip flops over the sculpture to provide the colourful surface you see. The rest is 100% pure Flip Flop though. On large bespoke items other non-biodegradable materials may also be used – we made an awesome octopus using plastic bottles once!
Q. How are the sculptures made?
A: The Flip flops received in Nairobi are inspected for anything sharp or dangerous, thoroughly scrubbed and then glued into blocks using an EU conforming glue. The glue is allowed to dry and the blocks are then hand carved. A punch is used on the smalls and mediums but all pieces are hand finished.
Q. Do you collect other non-biodegradables from the beaches?
A. Yes. Primarily we pay coastal communities to collect flip flops off the beaches. We then arrange for their transportation to Nairobi where they are weighed and the money changes hands. We also organise larger beach cleans with those communities where the coastline is picked clean and as much as possible is recycled.
Q. Are the artists in Kenya well looked after?
A. Absolutely. Ocean Sole Kenya is a Social Enterprise and as such takes social responsibility very seriously. The artists are paid fair wages and they are extended many other benefits such as the opportunity to borrow money if cash flow is tight. There are group warm ups in the morning and one day each month the birthdays of all employees are celebrated with a birthday party, normally involving a cake and quite a few laughs.
Q. Is any child labour involved?
A. No. Ocean Sole Kenya do not employ children and are very clear with all suppliers of flip flops that this is not something they are prepared to accept.
Q. What percentage of my purchase through Ocean Sole UK goes to the social enterprise in Kenya.
A. About 50% of the money you pay covers the cost of the product from Ocean Sole Kenya. Ocean Sole UK does make a profit but we also make charitable donations to various UK charities like Incredible Oceans to the tune of about 10% of our profits.
Q. How can I look after my Ocean Sole Sculpture?
A. We recommend you find a safe place for the sculpture (away from hungry puppies or playful infants who might accidentally damage them). As flip flops photo-degrade, we recommend keeping the sculptures out of direct sunlight to avoid the colours fading over time. If they get dirty you can clean them using washing up liquid.
Q. How do I attach my Wall Art to the wall?
A. Pop a raw plug in the wall and then either use a hook or a screw (with a washer to protect the Wall Art).
Q. Are the sculptures suitable for life outside?
A. The sculptures are best kept inside but if you want to keep your sculpture outside please enquire about water / UV proofing your piece and we’ll be happy to advise you on that.
We can’t make any promises as to how your local foxes are going to react though!
Q: Are Ocean Sole Sculptures suitable as toys?
A: Our Sculptures are art and not suitable for children under the age of 3 as some of the smaller pieces like ears can be pulled off and could form a choking hazard.
Q. Can I pay by bank transfer.
A. Yes – we accept payment by credit and debit card or paypal on the website but if you wish to pay via bank transfer please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange it.
Q. Do you charge for shipping?
A. We offer free (tracked) shipping on any order over £50 anywhere in the UK. For orders under £50 we charge £3.50. Outside the UK? Get in touch and we’ll let you know if we can ship to you and what it will cost.