#Shoesday: We ♥ TOMS
Have you got your TOMS yet?
A few weeks ago a friend of mine gave me a pair of TOMS and I fell in love with them. As so often happens (you know how when you get a red car, you start seeing them everywhere?) I started seeing them all over the place, and then I found out why.
Not only are they style-y and comfortable, they give back to the world and I’m always a sucker for that. And the way that they do it everybody wins. You get a great pair of shoes and a child gets provided with a pair too. How cute are they? And look at the lining.
It’s a brilliant philosophy. Here’s the Wikipedia lowdown:
Toms (stylized as TOMS) is a for-profit company based in Playa Del Rey, California, that operated the now defunct non-profit subsidiary, Friends of Toms. The company was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, an entrepreneur from Arlington, Texas. When Toms sells a pair of shoes, a new pair of shoes is given to an impoverished child, and when Toms sells a pair of eyewear, part of the profit is used to save or restore the eyesight for people in developing countries.
The Back Story
The story goes that TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie (a bit of eye candy!), visited Argentina while competing in the second season of The Amazing Race with his sister in 2002.
He returned there on vacation in January 2006, and noticed that the local polo players were wearing a form of shoes called alpargatas, a simple canvas slip-on shoe that he himself began to wear.
The shoes have been worn by Argentine farmers for hundreds of years and were the inspiration for the classic style of Toms shoes. Later in the trip, when he was doing some volunteer work in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, he noticed that many of the children were running through the streets barefooted.
After discovering a lack of shoes was a wider problem in Argentina and other developing countries than just this one community, he decided that he wanted to develop a kind of alpargata for the North American market, with the caveat that for every pair sold he would provide a new pair of shoes free of charge to the shoeless youth of Argentina and other developing nations.
He had learned that the lack of shoes was a problem that had a serious impact upon these youth, threatening the ability of the children to go to school, prevent infection, and so forth.
He took the idea to Argentine shoe manufacturers and began building the company based on this idea, and initially made 250 pairs of shoes. The company first officially began selling its shoes in May 2006. After an article ran in the Los Angeles Times, the company received order requests for nine times the available stock online, and 10,000 pairs were sold in the first six months.
The first batch of free shoes were distributed in October 2006 to Argentine children; the number was equivalent to the amount of stock sold: ten thousand. The company was self-financed, as Mycoskie sold his online driver education company for $500,000 to fund the shoe company.
The company name (TOMS) comes from the word “tomorrow”.
One Day Without Shoes
“One Day Without Shoes” is an event where participants don’t wear shoes throughout the day in order to raise awareness for Toms’ mission. It’s had huge partnerships in the US including AOL, Flickr, and the Discovery Channel.
Global Domination For Good
By 2011 over 500 retailers were carrying the brand globally; that year it also launched its eyewear line. By 2012 over two million pairs of new shoes had been given to children in developing countries around the world. The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at the University of New Mexico describes the company as “a for-profit business with a philanthropic component”.
In June 2014, the company announced that founder Blake Mycoskie was looking to sell part of his stake in the company to investment partners in a move to help grow and expand faster and meet the long-term goals of the company.
Chief Shoe Giver
On August 20, 2014 it was announced that Bain Capital had acquired 50% of Toms. Reuters reported that the transaction valued the company at $625 million. Mycoskie retained 50% ownership of Toms, as well as his role as Chief Shoe Giver, and said that the goal of the sale was to build the company’s global impact. Mycoskie will use half of the proceeds from the sale to start a new fund to support socially minded entrepreneurship, and Bain will match his investment and continue the company’s one-for-one policy.
In 2009 Toms partnered with the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project to create limited edition shoes, using the profits to benefit education and medical support to remote areas of Africa suffering from AIDS outbreaks.
Toms has also produced shoes with a handlebar mustache symbol in place of the traditional Toms symbol in support of the Movember Foundation.
Toms is also a supporter of the charity: water, with which it partnered with over several years, including its WaterForward project, aiming to bring clean water to underdeveloped countries through giving on behalf of one’s friends.
An additional partner charity is FEED, whereby when a consumer purchased a pair of shoes the company would donate twelve meals to poor schools in addition to a pair of shoes for impoverished children.
In his speech at the Second Annual Clinton Global Initiative Mycoskie said that his initial motivation was a disease called podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease which causes one’s feet to swell along with many other health implications. Also known as “Mossy Foot”, podoconiosis is a form of elephantiasis that affects the lymphatic system of the lower legs.
This vid shows kiddies getting TOMS
Info Source: Wikipedia
If you made it this far – I know it’s a lot but isn’t it a great story? You have to know I love my TOMS! Do you want to join the movement (and get cute shoes into the bargain)?
Visit TOMS here.
Buy them in NZ here:
How cute is their latest thing (I’m going to try and get some of these – would you be in?):
#TOMS #oneforone #onedaywithoutshoes
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