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New Tampa girl's exclusive shoe collection Fancy Flops is a hit

Posted: 4:15 AM, Oct 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-03 06:50:07-04
Fancy Flops Ailani Forde

NEW TAMPA, Fla. — Ailani Forde is a fashion footwear mogul in the making. The 12-year-old's exclusive shoe collection, Fancy Flops, is a hit!

“I do custom shoes as well," says Ailani. "So if you have a certain type or color or material or design you want, I can create those.”

The pre-teen never intended to start her own business. It started by accident after a trip to an arts and crafts store with her mom.

“I started my business a little over three years ago because I was bored," says Ailani. "We went to one particular aisle where they had flip flops and materials and I thought to myself, I can make something great out of this.”

She did.

Ailani's mother later posted a picture of her very first design on Facebook and it took off,

“I had 3 orders immediately, which I thought was amazing," says Ailani. "Then I received over 100 orders in 10 days and that’s how my business started.”

She was just 7 at the time.

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Soon after she got a call to appear on the Harry Connick Jr. Show in New York.

After her television appearance, Ailani went back to the drawing board, literally. She expanded from flip flops to fashion, making T-shirts, headbands and accessories.

“I created wall art out of duct tape and that’s how my idea came about to make wallets as well,” says Ailani.

You don't have to worry about her financially. Ailani is smart with her money and she is big on giving back.

“Part of the money I save for college, the other I save for me and the rest I donate to Camp Sunshine which helps children with life-threatening illnesses," says Ailani.

Fashion is just a tiny part of her plans for the future.

“I actually want to become the first African American female Supreme Court Justice of the whole United States of America,” says Ailani.

She is already off to a fashionable start.