What Is A Jibbitz?

Published by 10 Comments

After doing my profile of the business team behind the lightweight slippers known to the world as Crocs, I managed to stumble across this brilliant accessory. Jibbitz are tiny decorative snaps that fit into the holes on top of Crocs.

jibbitzJust like Jonathan Hall, Sheri Schmelzer was able to leverage an already successful market, and breathe some new life into it with a complimentary accessory. Filling a need, or more likely a want is what separates a good invention (and the entrepreneur) from a bad invention, or at least one that isn’t likely to catch on. This is where so many entrepreneurs fail… they try to create a market instead of leveraging an existing one. But I’ll let Yaro tell that story. Back to Jibbitz.

Jibbitz come in all sorts of designs from flowers to smiley faces and they make sense when you figure the available real estate (the holes) that are available on Crocs. Sheri Schmelzer started this operation selling Jibbitz from her basement. It didn’t take long before she was selling out every batch of the $2.49 accessory. Orders got to the point where Sheri could no longer handle the demand. A good problem to have, but a problem all the same. Looking for an easy fix, Sheri brought her husband Rich into the mix.

Rich was an experienced businessman and he quickly set up a deal with a company that agreed to manufacture Jibbitz in bulk. Not long after, they signed their first distribution deal with the popular mall fixture “Clare’s”, the Schmelzers had sold an estimated 750 thousand Jibbitz at $2.49 a piece.

The success didn’t go unnoticed either. The actual company that she was selling Jibbitz for (Crocs) purchased the small operation for a tidy sum of 10 million dollars. The contract also states that Sheri Schmelzer is entitled to another 10 million if Jibbitz meets initial projections set forth by the number junkies at Crocs. Not bad for a business that had been around all of 4 years.

About Bryan Clark

Bryan Clark is a professional writer, blog editor and evangelist. He has contributed to leading news properties and blogs in tech, entrepreneurship, finance, and the digital lifestyle. Bryan has earned features on Problogger, Entrepreneurs-Journey and USA Today. Bryan works with Growth Partner, a venture fund and startup platform for web businesses.

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10 Comments

  • Joe

    Good story, on another note, I can’t tell who’s writing what from my rss reader.

  • Just shows you how far a simple idea can go. The founder of Jibbitz started by creating the accessories for her kids, and it spread around her neighborhood.

    The story is that Schmelzer’s daughter had met the founder of Crocs, who asked her where she got the accessories for her shoes. She told him her mother had made them, and the Crocs founder gave her his business card to give to her mother. That’s how Jibbitz was sold to Crocs.

    Wonder what other accessories can be made for Crocs?

  • I can tell you guys, kids are going nuts for these Jibbitz. My son just love’em. We got him the smiley face, Buzz Lightyear, Flash McQueen (from Cars) and Mickey Mouse. The coolest thing about Jibbitz is that you can personalized your Crocs.

  • Hi Bryan – It’s so funny that you happened to be writing about Crocs and Jibbitz. I recently did a post that mentioned Jibbitz myself. The post was about venture capital and I ended it with saying I will probably wish I had invented something like Jibbitz instead of trying to do a high tech startup! :-)

    http://www.entrepremusings.com/index.php/2007/11/10/fred-wilson-on-venture-capital-fund-performance/

  • Ahh Jibbitz. Another great idea! Great story there. This story was also in last years Business 2.0 issue(November ’06) and she and her husband were guests on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

  • This is a fantastic story. So basically what you do is stand on the shoulders of giants to leverage yourself.
    My daughter has crocs and she has five for each shoe. That’s 10 more Jibbitz!
    And she wants more!
    Thanks for sharing this. We certainly can learn much from this. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Just invent a tire for the wheel…
    albert grande

  • Hi—-Bryan:

    If you pick up a mail order catalog, such as Taylor’s Gifts or a Harriet Carter, etc. you will see tons of products built on already existing markets.

    I noticed the Jibbits a few months ago in a catalog and immediately thought to myself another simple yet great money making idea.

    It’s is the same with Myspace and Ebay, there have been totally new (side markets) created such as the myspace layouts business and then with ebay it is ebay reselling business.

    I forget what the technical term is, but i call them side markets.

  • This business success story is popular, and with extremely good reason: most people wish they had thought of it!

    Not quite in the ‘replicate don’t innovate’ camp, but certainly ‘create an improvement’!

    The Crocs (& jibbitz phenomenon) is really something, isn’t it?

    Thanks for the reminder of this!

  • Not one website or news article that I’ve read thinks that Crocs or its highly overpriced (in terms of what Crocs paid for the rights) accessory, Jibbitz, is going to make it to the end of the year. Doesn’t anyone think there’s something wrong with creating a product, hyping it up, and pawning it off to a company right before it fails? It’s sad to see people praising the exploitation of a fad, leaving investors in the dust as I can’t imagine Jibbitz has created a significant profit for Crocs. Good work on duping Crocs, its investors, and a large part of the internet community into handing over money for a silly product.

    • AV

      Aqua…you are a moron for your comment. Take that back….retarded is more appropriate.

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