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This story was sent to us from a fan, published in the Winston-Salem Journal
Wednesday, July 14, 2010 07:58:00 AM
July 14–BOONE

Matt Jenkins has kicked off his shoes, but he’s hardly relaxing.

He’s running barefoot. Across the state.

Jenkins, 29, works at an after-school program for the Western Youth Network in Boone that provides mentoring and summer programs to kids in the area. For the second year in a row, Jenkins, a long-distance runner who prefers to run without shoes, has decided to undertake a run to raise awareness about state budget cuts to programs that affect young people.

Last year, Jenkins ran to different sites around Watauga on three consecutive Sundays for a total of 108 miles.

“After that, I was being sarcastic and said, ‘Next year, I’m going to run across the state.’ And people were like, ‘OK. That’s a good idea,'” Jenkins said.

Jenkins, who says that his idea of a good time is to run five marathons in five days, was game for the challenge.

He was scheduled to take off from Manteo this morning on a 760-mile journey that he estimates will take four weeks. He plans to run about 30 miles a day, and will store his gear, which will be not much more than a pair of Crocs, a bar of soap, a lightweight tent, food and water, in a pack he’ll carry on his back or a jogging stroller that he will push.

Jenkins laughed when asked about any kind of support team that might accompany him.

“I’m totally winging it,” he said. “I have a tentative schedule of how far I’m running each day, but I have no idea how I’m going to feel on Day 1, much less how I will feel on Day 20.”

Jenkins’ feet are callused after years of running barefoot, so he can handle hot pavement and pebbles for the most part. However, he will take a break during the heat of the day if he comes across any freshly laid asphalt.

Jenkins hopes to raise $15,000 for an after-school program that lost its state financing two years ago. It is the only after-school program for middle-school youngsters in Watauga County. Jenkins said he hopes that people will read about his run and either donate to his organization or consider donating to their community’s youth programs. Donations to the Western Youth Network can be made at http://www.westernyouthnetwork.org.

“All the kids are tracking him,” said Angela McMann, who works with Jenkins at the Western Youth Network. “They know he’s into this and does this barefoot. We all think he’s a little nuts about running barefoot with the alligators in Manteo and the heat, but we’re thankful to have someone who wants to show how much he cares.”

To see more of the Winston-Salem Journal, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.journalnow.com/.

The people have spoken! The people on Facebook, that is. Voting ended late last week for our Crocs Ambassador Contest, which has been hosted on our Facebook fan page. More than 200 entries were submitted, the top 15 were selected, and then those with the most votes were selected to be in the Top 10.

We’ve talked a little about these Crocs Ambassadors here and there, but now we are really close to the selection of the Top 5 winners. These Ambassadors will be a huge part of this website and the online community we are calling, Vitamin C. They will be sharing their lives, their stories and and their love of Crocs shoes with you. And, we are hoping that you’ll do the same, in return.

The Top 10 will be headed out to Boulder, Colorado next week so that we can get a better sense of who these individuals are and which five will represent the Crocs community best, while providing engaging content for you, the consumer and fan. At the end of the month, on July 29th, we will announce the five winners and, at the same time, we will unveil our NEW corporate website and all of its splendor. Exciting!

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Crocs Ambassador contest. We know that we have the best fans and your enthusiasm for our shoes, our brand and one another is definitely contagious.

And, now for the TOP 10 FINALISTS:

Today is the 34th Bike to Work Day in Boulder Colorado and people across the state turned in their automobiles in favor of two-wheel transportation.  More than 35,000 Coloradoans are expected to participate this year, thousands in our hometown of Boulder, Colorado.

Crocs biking duo, Footwear Designer, Arthi Pugazhenthi and Market Research Manager, Caroline Rydberg teamed up to pedal the ten miles to our corporate headquarters in rural Boulder County for the third year in a row.

And were joined by Senior Footwear Designer, Cheng Kue who opted to ride the 30+ miles from Denver on his gas saving motorbike.

There are lots of  great reasons to bike to work any day of the week:

  • It’s a great way to fit exercise into your day;
  • Fewer cars on the road means less congestion on roads and pollution in the air;
  • Cycling energizes you to start your day and de-stresses you afterward so you arrive at work and home feeling refreshed;
  • You save a lot of money on gas and maintenance for your car; and
  • You might surprise yourself by loving it.

So get out there and enjoy a summer day on two wheels!

Father’s Day is on Sunday, June 20th and we wanted to take a minute to wish all of the amazing dads out there a wonderful day. Did you know that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the first Father’s Day? According to the YMCA, the very first Father’s Day was celebrate at the Spokane YMCA in Washington on June 13th, 1910. Of course, today it is celebrated worldwide in more than 80 different countries. (I wonder if the #1 gift to dads worldwide is a tie?)

The YMCA of Greater New York asked New York City kids what their fathers mean to them. Out of the mouths of babes…

Anne Klein

Earlier this week, I sat down with Anne Klein, Creative Lead, Jibbitz & Crocs Accessories. Here’s a look at our conversation around her design involvement  with kids’ footwear, Jibbitz and Crocs accessories.

How long have you been at Crocs?

I originally came to work for Jibbitz™ in August 2006 and shortly later, we were purchased by Crocs™.  Everything took off from there.  I worked primarily on Jibbitz™ and then worked on Crocs™ kids’ footwear for a year on the Fall 2010 line and Spring 2011 line. Now, I am working to grow the Jibbitz™ and Crocs™ accessory business.

What kids’ style do you think will have an impact from the Fall/Winter 2010 line?

I think Crocs™ is doing a great job designing different styles. Most people think we make only clogs, but we’re really exploring many different silhouettes with the same core properties of comfort and fun.  Particularly for kids, for Fall 2010 it was really important that we create Back to School shoes.  So, we have a whole team of designers across the world that pulled together and made some great designs. In the U.S. we take all of those designs, whether they’re our’s, or Italian designs, or fellow-colleagues’, and we pull them all together. We color them, assign prints to them, and put it all together to form a cohesive collection that merchandises well.  I think Back to School items like our sneakers for boys and girls will be a big hit – particularly the Crocband™ Sneak. I think CrocaSam and CrocaSally will be big hits because they are a cute winter boot style that’s warm and easy to slip on and slip off.  There are a lot of other great designs coming too, so get excited!

Crocs Flibberty Purse

What is happening in the Crocs Accessories?

Jibbitz™ has had great success by creating vehicles, other than our footwear, that can hold charms.  Items such as the Crocs™ O’Dial and the Flibberty Purse have received a lot of customer attention.  I designed the Flibberty Purse—it’s a little molded purse that comes with a big plush flower charm.  Girls can put extra charms in it, too. Toys”R”Us sells it as a game carrier since many portable game devices fit perfectly into it. Customers are definitely interested in additional products for their charms—from footwear to a variety of molded and non-molded accessories.

What do you love about your job?

What I love about Jibbitz™ and Crocs™ Accessories is that it’s very exploratory and experimental. It means constantly trending at a bigger level, because it’s not segmented to one particular product.  It deals with a variety of products.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Honestly, everything can be inspiring. I really try to tune into what is happening on a worldwide level, what’s happening in economics and in politics. Things that really speak to what people are feeling and how they’re buying, and even what their eye is turning towards creatively. So, that inspires me to try to predict how people are going to shop and how they’re going to feel in a couple of years from now. It’s like predicting the future…but it’s educated at the same time.

I really can draw inspiration from anything and it can be as obvious as going to an art museum and seeing some VanGogh’s to something like this bottle cap.

What advice would you give new designers just starting out?

It’s one thing to be a designer, and it’s totally different to be a smart designer. I think you’re a much better designer when you understand what’s around you—you understand the trends around you, you understand how the sales people sell it, and you understand how the customers look at it. So, it’s not just “I draw pretty shoes or pretty skirts,” it’s so much more involved.  Approach this as a learning experience if you’re just getting started and absorb everything.

Thank you, Anne, for sitting down with us and sharing your story with the Crocs community!

Last Friday, Crocs employees in Niwot, Colorado, got into the spirit of community giving by volunteering their time to weed, paint and pick up trash in Downtown Boulder.

A day ahead of the Community Clean-Up Day that took place in Boulder, Crocs employees got a jump on the action. With work gloves and compost bags in-hand, the event was a huge success and much appreciated by the City of Boulder.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” said Lisa Martin, Urban Parks Manager for City of Boulder Parks and Recreation. “Initially, 300 volunteers seemed pretty overwhelming, but because we have so high manual maintenance needs here (municipal center) because of our herbicide ban, This is great. We are very appreciative.”

Thanks to all of the Crocs employees who got came out on Friday.

Bags in-hand, ready to go!