Scott Seamans, the co-founder and designer of Crocs, is also a Semester at Sea alum. From his first time on Semester at Sea as a student at the University of Colorado Boulder, to his involvement with Semester at Sea today, Scott shares with us the lessons he has learned along the way. How has his time on board affected his professional life? What lessons has he learned through Semester at Sea and what advice does he offer today’s students? Find out in this exclusive interview!
Q: You sailed with Semester at Sea as a college student. What did you think of the experience?
It was great, in fact a lot of my best friends now are people that I met on Semester at Sea. My roommate from Semester at Sea is one of my best friends and actually his wife is somebody he met on Semester at Sea. I go to China quite often as well, and another good friend of mine lives in Hong Kong. I see her all the time.
Q: How do you think your experience with Semester at Sea helped you with your professional life?
Well it opens your eyes to the rest of the world and makes you a little bit more accepting of other people. You don’t have such an Americanized view of the world afterwards. The more you travel the more you realize that the information that you get from the press and media in the US isn’t necessarily accurate as far as the rest of the world is concerned.
Q: So, let’s talk a little bit about your professional life. How did Crocs begin?
I started it by first designing the shoes. I had another company I started in 1981 that I then retired from in 1986 or ’87. And so I was retired for about 10 years and I got bored of being retired so my friend and I started Crocs.
I began to learn about the product by starting to learn about injection molding and about a computerized milling machine and hired a guy to run it. I started to get into molding as an interest. I went to a friend of mine who had recently retired as the CEO of Quiznos and said, ‘Hey, this is a good product and we should start a company.’
We both had boats in Miami Beach at the time and decided to run the operation out of Miami. We figured we’d sell 25 or 30,000 pairs a year. It would be a nice hobby and give us a good excuse to go from Colorado to Miami. But at the peak, I think we were selling, I don’t know, about 7 million pair a month.
Q: That’s amazing! What sort of life lessons from Semester at Sea do you think you fall back on in your professional life now?
I think [Semester at Sea] just makes you more comfortable traveling the world. I go to China six times a year for two or three weeks, still. There was a time when I traveled around the world 12 to 13 times a year. I live in Italy part of the year; I have a house there. I guess it makes you feel comfortable living in foreign countries with people other than those who speak your language and have a culture in common.
Q: What kind of advice would you give to today’s students, as an alum, and as someone who has gone forth from SAS into an international career?
Have fun. I mean, this is part of growing up and what a great time in one’s life. I think everyone brings their own piece away from the experience and I think that’s important. I think it’ll make you accepting of other cultures and hopefully open your eyes to travel. Hopefully, the bug will bite you and you’ll keep traveling.
Thank you Scott!