Sanuk, a division of Deckers Brands, announced yesterday that Jeff Kelley, founder of the brand famous for the iconic Sidewalk Surfers—the first ever shoe/sandal hybrid—will be transitioning from an active role at the close of the year. The brand was acquired by Deckers three years ago and has since grown its team to include over 50 people, all focused on extending the brand’s product offering to with an eye to transforming it into an international lifestyle brand. After all, Sanuk is the Thai word for “fun” and the brand’s “Never Uncomfortable” attitude can translate into any language.
Founded in 1997, the brand is already offered in over 40 countries worldwide, but with Deckers’ resources behind it, President of Sanuk Jake Brandman wants to continue to drive innovation through a robust omnichannel strategy. “It was JK’s vision, creativity and passion that supported the brand’s success in the surf and specialty market area,” he comments, and that founding DNA is something that will remain part of Sanuk going forward. Kelley’s stepping down reflects the progress of the management team expansion to support the next stage of growth.
“I am super stoked on the team in place at Sanuk,” he says. “They are totally capable of taking the brand to the next level. As for me, I love the thrill of starting new things and constantly challenging the status quo—which is exactly what my next venture, TeaofaKind.com, is designed to do. I will always consider Sanuk to be part of my family and look forward to seeing what the future holds for everyone.”