I caught a segment on the news this weekend about TOMS Shoes. Have you heard of them? I think he did an American Express commercial last year, but I didn’t pay much attention to it until I heard this story.
Here is their mission statement:
“TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we’re all about. The TOMS One for One business model transforms our customers into benefactors, which allows us to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support.”
You may recognize Founder and Chief Shoe Giver (I love this title!) Blake Mycoskie from the TV show The Amazing Race, but lately he spends his time traveling to developing countries such as Ethiopia, where many people spend their days barefoot. These people are at risk of soil-transmitted diseases that can penetrate them through the soles of their feet, as well as infections caused by cuts and scrapes. A fate which could be avoided simply by wearing shoes.
Also, according to the TOMS site, many schools in these countries require shoes as part of the children’s uniform. If they cannot afford shoes, they cannot attend school.
In Ethiopia specifically, “Friends of TOMS, the non-profit arm of TOMS shoes, is working to support treatment of those affected by Podoconiosis. Podo develops from long term exposure to a collection of minerals found in the soil, causing extreme swelling of the legs, discomfort, and creating negative social stigmas. However, this disease is preventable with proper footwear and basic hygiene. By giving shoes and supporting treatment programs to those at-risk or suffering from Podoconiosis, TOMS and Friends of TOMS are making positive strides in the lives of the people in these communities.”
The One for One business model has proven to be successful, as “it has encouraged conscientious consumers to purchase and give more than 140,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need in just 3 years. By the end of 2009, TOMS will give an additional 300,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need all around the world, including at home in the US.” (Source)
There is no “Tom”, but TOM stands for “Tomorrow”, as in, there is a better tomorrow.
So, what about the shoes?
They’re not you’re every day look, but they’re unique. Men, women and children can all find some TOMS shoes, too!
All the styles come in multiple colors, too.
There’s even some for babies!
I think this company is amazing and I plan on purchasing a pair or two for my family. To learn more and watch the video that inspired this post, click here.