The Aussie thong is engrained in our nation’s history.
Since the 1960’s the iconic footwear has captured the heart and ‘sole’ of the nation… in more ways than one.
Fast forward to 2016 and the humble thong is getting a brilliant new lease of life—step in KUSA flip flops.
The brainchild of Canberra man and University of Canberra graduate Yash Radhakrishnan, KUSA flip flops allow people to experience the sensation of walking on freshly mown grass 24/7.
The simple, yet ingenious idea of stitching synthetic grass on to the upper side of the sole, has seen the industrial design student benefit from immediate international success since its launch in 2011.
With distributors located in 10 different countries and over 40,000 pairs sold worldwide, Yash is just one of Canberra’s entrepreneurs making his mark internationally.
Yash says the inspiration for KUSA flip flops came from a project he was working on with his colleagues, where the original idea was to cover the entire office floor in synthetic grass.
“One day we were in the office and like a light bulb, we all said how great it would be if we could cover the floor in grass,” Yash said.
“Before forging ahead, I thought it would be best to trial and test the idea. So, I bought a pair of thongs and as simple as it sounds I just stuck the synthetic grass on the top. I loved the feeling so much I started to wear them everywhere, and I mean everywhere.”
Much to Yash’s surprise, he wasn’t the only one who loved his flip flops.
“People all over the place would come up to me and just start asking all kinds of questions about my flip flops,” Yash said.
“Looking back now, the great thing about these thongs was that they made a statement—they were different from the ‘everyday’. They also got people, complete strangers, talking and engaging with one another. And anything that can get people talking and interacting with one another, I think is a great thing.”
Studying at the University of Canberra was a real highlight for the young inventor, and although Yash didn’t enrol in the industrial design course straight away, his curiosity and love for innovation eventually lead him down his chosen career path.
“I loved my time at UC. I originally got into construction management because I had no idea that industrial design was even a thing,” Yash said.
“I remember walking around campus and I was seeing all these cool, innovative designs and concepts and I was like, wow, that’s for me, that’s what I want to do. So, I immediately changed courses and well I guess you could say I haven’t looked back.”
So, what’s next for the home-grown entrepreneur?
“I’ve had a lot of discussions with friends about creating flip flops with carpet on them and I do have a couple of designs in mind, but nothing that I can share right now. All I can say is that they will target a different demographic to help take the KUSA flip flop name further.”
One things for sure, we can’t wait to see what else Yash has in store for us.