He’s the Gold Coast lad behind one of the greatest inventions of all time, thongs combating the blowout epidemic with replaceable straps and we are forever grateful for that.
Brad Munro launched Boomerangz Thongs after discovering a gap in the market and realising, as a true blue Aussie, that thongs are a fashion staple around these parts and the less dramatic blowouts the better. Bless him.
We sat down for a chat with Brad about how his crowd funding campaign reached $50,000 and why Boomerangz Thongs are an absolute life-changer (actually).
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
January 2008 – now I don’t want to be anywhere else!
What do you love most about our beachside city?
I love that there’s always something to do, somewhere to explore and the weather is usually perfect for being outside. I believe that this puts people in a good mood, which makes the GC locals a friendly bunch of people.
Tell us how Boomerangz came about?
Way back before we even started the business, I was travelling around Europe while the Soccer World Cup was on. My friends and I had been dying to go to one of the beer halls in Germany only to suffer from “the dreaded thong blow-out” (when the plug snaps off the strap) within metres of the front entrance. I wasn’t allowed in because I was wearing only one thong (or flip flop, as they are also known) and it wasn’t considered appropriate footwear! My friend and I sat out the front for a while trying some MacGyver-like solutions to my problem including trying to put the strap back together with a paperclip, we borrowed a cigarette lighter and tried melting the rubber together… all to no avail. My friend ended up going in and borrowed one of our other friend’s thongs to smuggle out so I could wear them in! A year or so later, I met my soon to be business partner who was telling me of a similar experience. We got together and discovered that a lot of the thongs on the market are all the same and decided they could use some improvement so we started the business and set about solving this common problem.
Talk to us about overcoming the ’thong blowout’…
Firstly, we asked a lot of questions. We questioned customers, friends, shop owners, retail staff and anyone who would talk to us. We discovered the biggest pain point with this type of footwear is when the straps break, and you are left hopping around in one thong or walking barefoot to the nearest store to buy a pair of ‘cheap pluggers’ to get you through. We found that it was better for the plug to pull through than to snap off completely which obviously renders the thong useless. Being able to replace the straps means that you don’t need to wear in a new pair, they last longer and importantly, less pairs end up in landfill over time. We offer our customers free replacement straps if they have a blowout with no time limit on the warranty. Our new design for minimising blowouts allows the straps and bases to become interchangeable. They became fully customisable thongs with the ability to swap over your straps or bases and mix and match colours whenever you like.
How did you create such a successful crowdfunding campaign?
The idea behind the crowdfunding campaign was to not only raise money for production but to see if people would buy our product. That is the best viability test for the success of any product…will people part with their hard-earned cash for it? A lot of work went in to the crowdfunding campaign. We put together a light-hearted info video explaining the product; its benefits, how it works, what you can expect and so on. Before launch day we made sure plenty of people were hyped and ready to order. We launched the new range through the crowdfunding website and immediately sold $10,000 worth in the first hour, $25,000 a week later. We reached our goal of $30,000 and finished with close to $50,000 in sales. Astonishingly we confirmed the product was something people wanted, and our customers were willing to part with their cash to get their feet in a pair of our thongs.
Where can we find these epic thongs on the Gold Coast?
Online at Boomerangz HQ, 69 Slam in Surfers Paradise, The Outlet in Broadbeach Waters, Gold Coast Longboards in Surfers Paradise and City Beach at Pacific Fair, Robina Town Centre and Surfers Paradise.
What’s next for Boomerangz?
We’re searching for an endless summer! The plan to explore international markets came about sooner than we anticipated, as we are a very seasonal product. We needed to get that year-round income or as we like to call it, ‘the never-ending summer’. Every now and then we received enquiries from people in other countries who somehow heard about or saw our thongs somewhere and was wondering if we would ship internationally. Which we can, but unfortunately the postage costs are often more than the cost of the thongs themselves. Thus far, we have our product in the US, India, the U.K. and more recently in the islands of the Caribbean. International expansion and testing is a timely and expensive exercise. Testing these markets has allowed us to amend our original strategies and learn some new strategies as we actively look to partner with a global distribution company.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Restaurant: I always seem to find myself back at Edgewater at Capri on Via Roma for consistently fantastic food and drinks, Hellenika in Nobbys and Bonita Bonita in Mermaid Beach.
Cafe: It’s hard to choose a favourite with so many great options! It would have to be Bam Bam Bakehouse with a couple of close seconds like GG’s Eatery & Bar, Wildernis and Quade & Co. Love my Locale Coffee beans!
Beach: Anywhere from Mermaid to Burleigh where I can take my dog for a walk along the beach. A sunny arvo with friends on Burleigh Hill is a MUST and I also spend a bit of time down at Currumbin Beach followed by an icy cold beer at Currumbin Vikings Surf Club.
How does your weekend usually look: I used to think getting up early was for suckers. Now that I have two little rug rats, getting up early and out of the house is ideal. Running your own small business means a lot of extra work, sometimes on weekends (as any entrepreneur will agree). But in a perfect world, my beautiful wife and I will usually take the kids and meet some friends for coffee, followed by a stint at the beach, walking the dog… basically tiring everyone out so an arvo nap is on the cards. Saturdays are generally for catching up with family and friends for either coffee, beers or dinner. Sundays are for housework, groceries and business prep for the week ahead.