A lasting impression

Sam Kabert

PHOTO courtesy of sam kabert

Sam Kabert, a 23-year-old recent Chico State grad from Gilroy, made a name for himself last year with stand-up paddle-surfing events he hosted in Oroville. Now Kabert, who majored in commercial recreation, has a new venture that is likely to be more long-term, and may even put the word “Chico” on the map—literally. Kabert is the owner of Chico Feet, a branding company in which Kabert creates customized materials for large companies, universities and more (his clientele is growing across the nation). So far, he’s created wrist bands, T-shirts and shot glasses, but ultimately it’s all about the sandals—flip flops that have the word “Chico” in the bottom and leave impressions in the sand. The basic version of the sandal is available at Trucker Deluxe (232 Broadway in downtown Chico), but he also customizes them in different colors and with different words for companies looking to get their name out there. Go to www.facebook.com/CHICOFEET for more info.

What’s behind Chico Feet?

My parents sell office supplies, and I’ve been working for them as a sales rep for five years. I started [an] internship down in San Diego in January. My mom told me about this product—it’s a sandal that leaves an impression. She said, go down to San Diego and start making these accounts for sandals. I said, “Holy shit! Chico! Sandals!” And I just started developing it, and I started my own company. Immediately when I start saying “Chico Feet,” people start listening.

So wait, what is it?

The main thing is customizing products. For example, I just did 500 customized [sandal orders] for a stand-up paddle-surfing company in Florida. Our whole footwear line starts with the basic Havaiana, and those are the most generic. We can do any color, any print. It could say “CN&R” on the bottom and then it would leave that imprint in the sand. But we’ve also made other promotional things aside from sandals, like shot glasses for S.F. State’s graduation.

How has your Chico experience shaped the company?

Basically, it’s been putting everything I learned in the classroom to test. One of my rec teachers who really helped me out is really involved with Ability First, a camp for disabled kids and adults. Right now, we’re giving back to Ability First and Do It Leisure [at the Work Training Center], and what I want to do each month is give to a different charity. Everything given back will be Chico specific, something that’s really unique to the town. When we get really big and bring in all the revenue, all that charity money will come back into the local economy. I really want to keep it Chico.