Gandys: 13 years on from tragedy, the brothers who are still trying to make a difference

From opening their new HQ in South Wimbledon to travelling the world and building an orphanage in Sri Lanka, Rob and Paul Forkan have done a lot in the last five years.

It all started when Rob and Paul’s parents, Kevin and Sandra Forkan, sold everything they owned and removed their four children from school in the UK to take them travelling and volunteering around the world.

However, tragedy struck when Kevin and Sandra lost their lives in the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 in the Indian Ocean, leaving their four children as orphans.

They left behind a legacy and children who had a burning desire to create something unique in honour of their adventurous parents.

In 2012, Rob and Paul founded Gandys to support their Orphans for Orphans foundation by donating 10% of their profits to helping underprivileged children that are affected by the tsunami.

The first Orphans for Orphans children’s home in Sri Lanka was opened on the 10-year anniversary of the Tsunami.

Eldest brother and co-founder Rob believes great progress has been made since starting the company.

He said: “Christmas and Black Friday were just crazy. We’ve grown so much in the last year compared to the year before.

“We’ve opened a couple of extra stores. The majority of our stock is the same in all stores. We have some exclusive stuff online.”

Stores have been opened in Clapham and Richmond, in addition to those already in Covent Garden and Camden Town.

All their stores are all located in London, and the brothers are prioritising their brand image and identity in a way that all their stores feel interconnected. They have a real community feel amongst the staff and the customers.

“Hopefully people will come to Gandys on a day out to London or a weekend away, and then they will be able to still find us online when they get home.”

Opening more stores across the country and internationally is something the boys may look to do in the future, but they would rather focus on their existing stores and make sure it’s right.

Since their range of products is travel themed, they also hope to inspire others to travel just like their parents did for them.

Rob said: “We have our own identity, our own brand. We have key products, like our jackets. They’re staples. Our stores have a cool vibe.”

The progress they have made from travelling the world to opening their own stores for a good cause is inspirational, and definitely admirable.

“A lot of people have a dream of volunteering, but can’t finance it. They want to travel and use that experience but then you need to work out the logistics of business.

“We still finance and run these stores ourselves. We have opened a children’s home in a third world country.”

So, what do they want to other people to take away from their experience at Gandys stores?

The boys are inspired by travel. Passion, persistence and perseverance is at the heart of everything they do.

Rob said: “If you are passionate, you can do more than you believe.”

So, get up and go!

2.      The boys want to inspire people to travel. Their stores have globes suspended from the ceiling and they someday want map print to become their signature style. They’re so committed, they’ve ordered around 200 globes for their stores!

Rob said: “We have our own designs inspired by spring and summer. We want map print to become our signature, so that when you see it on someone’s hoodie, you’ll know it’s Gandys.”

Gandy is a store that is not only committed to its customers, but also committed to the work they do for the Orphans for Orphans foundation. They have a real passion and that’s what makes them so unique and inspiring.

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