Creative Careers in the Arts

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Spirited Woman Q & A

Interview with ‘Frou Frou Flip Flops’ Kidpreneur Alice

By Nancy Mills | Posted June 1, 2007 | Updated May 9, 2019

There's Madonna. And then there's Alice. A little girl with big dreams. No, make that huge dreams. Last December, I received an e-mail from Alice's mother, Raffi Darrow, with the subject title, "Spirited Kid." She asked me to check out her spirited daughter's website and wrote that Alice was an "8 year old angel who helps others through the magic of flip flops."

I cried and smiled simultaneously (which is hard to do) when I saw a picture of Alice with her hand-crafted flip flops and read her moving story about how she tirelessly decorates them and then donates her profits to charities, so that she can help others less fortunate than herself. "I've got to interview this kid over the holidays!" I screamed to myself. She is a breathe of pure inspiration.

So one year later, I am delighted and oh-so-proud to say Alice is my interview this month. Now, nine and a half years old, Alice lives with her mother and father and sister Wendy in Florida. She started her community service oriented business, Frou Frou Flip Flops in May, 2005, and to date has raised over $2,000 for charities (such as the Hurricane Katrina victim fund, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Locks of Love, and SPCA) and has sold over 100 pairs of her creatively designed flip flops.

When she's not making Frou Frou Flip Flops, she likes to play on her computer, draw, read poetry, (Shel Silverstein poems are her favorite), play her clarinet and to draw pie. When I asked her if she had a boyfriend? She answered, "No, I'm only nine!" You'd never know it. She is a dynamo in a small package, a bundle of creative energy on a mission to help change the world. I welcome you to Alice, a spirited woman extraordinaire with a heart of gold.

Q. Alice, why did you start Frou Frou Flip Flops?

A. I started it because... well, I'll tell you the whole story if you want me to. In second grade I wanted to help the tsunami victims and I wanted to do a lemonade stand. But, my mom didn't think that a lemonade stand would do it. So, when I brought her home the flip flops from Mother's Day that I decorated in class, she said that maybe that would help the Tsunami victims.

Q. What's your most favorite thing about your business?

A. My favorite thing about my business is probably just knowing that I'm helping other people. It makes me feel good just knowing that maybe one day they won't be... um... they might have a cure for cancer one day, or the homeless shelter won't have as many homeless people because I was able to help some of them get jobs, get enough money, get them food and then they could find a job and maybe one day have a home.

Q. I know you handcraft the flip flops — do you have helpers?

A. Well, sometimes I have friends who help. My mom helps and when I'm sick my sister is awesome. During winter we're kind of packed because of Christmas presents, so I have a lot of people help.

Q. How do you pick the charities you donate to?

A. Well... sometimes I go up to my mom and say I want to help homeless animals and then we find a homeless animal donation system, like SPCA. We just find different charities each time. I really got started when my school started talking about all the schools that got hit by the tsumani and how like the houses had been hit, all the little girls and boys lost their toys and stuff, and I just kinda wanted to help them so maybe one day they would be able to get their toys back.

Q. How do you divide up the money that you earn? And do you give any to yourself?

A. Well, I keep 10% of the profits and then 90% of it goes to charity. And depending how many charities — that is how many I divide it by. Sometimes they get $30 if I have like five charities — then I'll give $30 to each charity. If I have three charities, I might give $50.

Q. Alice would you say you are an artist and an entrepreneur? What about you makes you both do you think?

A. I say that "I AM' an artist in my own little way. It's not like the only way I stay creative is by making the flip flops. Right before you called I was doodling little pictures. I like to write and I like to make the flip flops, and I think of myself as an entrepreneur — because a lot of people call me an entrepreneur and just a lot of kids these days don't have businesses so I kind of think of myself as an entrepreneur, because I'm like the only kid in my school who has a business.

Q. Do you think that is because you are determined and persistent?

A. I just think I'm creative and a lot of other kids just can't take the time to make a business. I take the time because I'm kind of thankful that I have all the stuff that I have, because I have a lot of toys — they're taking over my bedroom actually — I'm kinda glad that I can help other people that don't have as many things as I do.

Q. What do you think other kids can do to help other people?

A. Whatever they want to do. Anything they want, they can be creative. And just remember to help others.

Q. What do you think you will be doing in 10 years — I think that will make you 19 and a half?

A. Yes. In 10 years, hopefully I will be in college. I don't know, I'm not a fortuneteller. Maybe I'll still be doing the flip flops. I like poetry a lot, so I might study poetry. I don't want to be a Spanish teach

Q. Who is your biggest inspiration?

A. Dr. Seuss. I like Dr. Seuss, he is kind of crazy. He is not afraid to express his inner feelings. Like he doesn't draw straight lines ever, he draws like curvy lines — and if he does draw straight lines he doesn't call it a straight line he calls it — I forget what he calls it because it is a very big name.

Q. Alice, I understand you want to be the first woman president.

A. I do? Well, I'd like to be the first woman president, that would be fun. I'd also like to be a poet, an artist, and a lot of other things which I can't think of right now. But, if I were the president I would make sure that nobody polluted and that they would ban un-healthy fast food and that they re-cycled more.

Q. Last year, you were presented with the "Kids Are Heroes" award at Children's Hospital. How did that make you feel?

A. Good. I liked it. It was awesome and I got a trophy. I saw that I am not the only person in the whole state of Florida who does something good for the world. Because there were like 200 kids there who were all nominated for saving their grandfather from a fire or donating their hair or saving their baby brother from drowning.

Q. Is there a special holiday message you would like to share with all of us or is there anything you would like us to do?

A. Stay creative. If you stay creative nobody will ever be the same. Just because a sweater vest is in, you don't always have to wear a sweater vest, because it is up to you to decide.

Q. Alice, why do you feel that you are a spirited woman?

A. I feel that I am a spirited woman because I like to encourage people to follow their dreams and I like to encourage me to follow my dreams and not listen to what other people have to say about them.

©2007 Nancy Mills. All rights reserved.

Next: Interview with Lotus Blossom Style Clothier Tabby Biddle