In 2004, Joyce Groote bought out Holeys, a Canadian company that made foam clogs similar to Crocs in the U.S. For the next several years, she struggled with both exponential growth -- revenue soared to $17 million -- and a nasty legal battle with her American competitor. But all of that paled next to the sudden collapse of the clog market, forcing Groote to abandon the signature shoes in favor of foam backpacks, bags, sandals and other gear.

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