[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]
TOMS. A company with a point of difference: A One For One Model.
When Blake, an American entrepreneur, travelled to Argentina in 2006 and saw children running around with no shoes to protect their feet, he decided to change that and started TOMS with a unique mission:
“With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One For One.”
Blake had no idea how to make shoes at the time, but he partnered with the right people, had the right connections, and TOMS was born.
Gathering worldwide attention and popularity by celebrities, media coverage, students, mothers, fathers, travellers, businessman, teenagers, and the like, by September 2010 TOMS had given its millionth pair of shoes to a child in need.
Having gone to many impoverished countries giving shoes to children, Blake saw other basic needs that weren’t being met – like eyesight. So in 2011, TOMS Eyewear was launched with the same One For One Model:
“With every pair you purchase, TOMS will help give sight to one person in need. One For One.”
TOMS also produce T-Shirts, sweaters, beanie’s, stickers, and a stack more. And when you purchase something, they give a pair of shoes to a child in need – One For One.
[fun fact: blake and his sister were on the second season of “the amazing race”. they came in second, missing out on the $1million prize by 4-minutes!!]
But TOMS isn’t just a company, it’s a movement. One Day Without Shoes is an annual event that started in 2008 by a group of college students. The reason? To spread awareness about the millions of children around the world without shoes. Since then it’s exploded and in 2010 over 250,000 people took part worldwide in 1,600 events.
But don’t get fooled by thinking that TOMS is named after Tom (as some articles on the web have claimed, tsk tsk). TOMS is a clever deriver of the phrase “Tomorrow’s Shoes”.
Truth be known, I love TOMS. Right now as I type this, my MacBook has a TOMS sticker on it, and I’m wearing a TOMS sweater and necklace. I also have two pairs of classic canvas shoes and a pair of botas in my shoe collection. And my bookshelf contains “Start Something That Matters”, an incredible book by Blake Mycoskie about the TOMS journey.
Sure, their products are nice, but the reason behind it makes TOMS so much more attractive and purposeful. My 6 TOMS items = 6 happy children with shoes.
It’s new. It’s practical. It looks good. It’s innovative. And it’s helping people.