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TOMS: one for one

As I was cleaning my room, thinking about what item I should write my next blog on, I came across a pair of TOMS that I had purchased over the summer.  Immediately I knew this would be the perfect company to write about as their story is quite unique.

It all began in 2006 when Blake Mycoskie decided he wanted to help less fortunate children in developing countries.  After traveling in Argentina, Blake noticed how many children did not own shoes.  Sadly, one of the leading causes of disease in countries like Argentina is soil-transmitted diseases, which are easily contracted by improper care of the feet — or in this case, lack of shoes.  Realizing something had to be done, Blake created a company called TOMS.  It was then that the company’s One for One movement was born — with every pair purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.

 Since 2006, TOMS has grown significantly.  Children in more than 20 countries worldwide are now receiving shoes and the hope for a brighter future.  Today, over 1 million pairs of shoes have been given to children in need around the world.  Companies like this amaze me.  People who give back are those who make the world a better place.  Now that you know all of the good this company is doing, maybe you’ll rethink what kind of shoes to purchase the next time you go to the mall.  Hey, I could use a third pair of TOMS…



7 thoughts on “TOMS: one for one

  1. You’re right, they do wear out quickly. So in that case I just remind myself that what I’m really doing is purchasing two pairs of shoes. Is the quality the best? No. But am I helping children in need? Yes. I’m not expecting the best quality in TOMS but I know that going into the purchase. In my mind the benefits outweigh the costs and clearly this has been successful for the company as they are continuing to grow. Also, I didn’t look into this but I wonder where the shoes are actually made and if the labor is outsourced or if TOMS are made in the USA.

    Posted by Jenna | February 14, 2012, 5:39 pm
  2. Jenna, I also love the idea of TOMS Shoes and their contributions to society. These sorts of business campaigns seem to be getting more popular. This past Christmas, I purchased Clarins FEED bags for my sisters which are essentially a cluster of Clarins lotions that cost $30 and half the profits went to an organization fighting hunger in Africa. Business plans such as these are great because they are an easy way to prompt the average consumer to make a contribution.

    Posted by Lauren Daley | February 14, 2012, 7:21 pm
  3. I personally think that TOM’s business model of “philanthropic capitalism” is brilliant. As rational and moral human beings, many of us are drawn to the “feel-good” purchase that TOMS promotes, which results in a profitable business for Blake Mycoskie. In a way, this business model creates an optimal balance between stakeholder and shareholder theory. While the theories of Friedman and Freeman seemed in opposition to one another, I think what TOMS is doing could give birth to a new theory that couples these separate views.

    Posted by Beth O'Brien | February 14, 2012, 8:55 pm
  4. Jenna, have you considered that TOMS might actually be hurting local economies? It seems to me that by TOMS giving people shoes, it is putting local shoe makers out of business which would affect a who family, not to mention the raw material suppliers and their families. I think that TOMS might not actually be doing all the good that they claim to be doing.

    Posted by Amanda Skonezney | February 14, 2012, 10:04 pm
    • A reasonable point. However, if the kids really don’t have shoes, then there is no local shoe maker being put out of work. But,you are right that a shoe factory in that country might be better than handing out shoes.

      Posted by Jordi | February 15, 2012, 3:12 pm
  5. $60 for one pair is tow pairs??!?!? Depends on the brand, my friend. “Preliminary data from the NSGA “Sporting Goods Market in 2010” indicates that the average price point for athletic footwear in 2009 rose in both sporting goods stores and in specialty athletic footwear stores.

    In sporting goods stores, the average price rose to $53.97 from $50.81 for 2008.”


    Posted by Jordi | February 15, 2012, 3:14 pm
  6. I am also aware of the TOMS movement, and did initially support what they stood for. However, I do know that the TOMS shoes are not great quality, which makes me wonder how they are holding up for the underdeveloped that recieve the free pair. Certainly some shoes are better than no shoes, but I always wonder if it’s better to spend that $60 on a company/movement/non-profit, etc, that would do more with the money/give better quality products? That “feel good” feeling that Beth mentioned can actually be very dangerous when considering philanthropic work. Sometimes, we need to take a step back from the emotions that a purchase with a good cause creates, and analyze whether the money we spend could better help the less priviledged.

    With that said, I am glad that there is a company with such a high profile who is committed to a great cause! I don’t mean to sound bitter and cynical, I just tend to not buy into the hype that accompanies movements like this. At the same time, I am glad that there is a company that is trying so hard and earnestly to make a positive difference.

    Posted by Caitlin H. | February 16, 2012, 1:42 am

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