TOMS Shoes is unique story of a brand with a purpose to make the world a better place for children. In 2006, American entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie was vacationing in Argentina. He spent a day volunteering with a non-profit delivering used shoes to children in the villages outside of Buenos Aires. He found that many children in rural areas went without shoes. This led Mycoskie to create TOMS Shoes. TOMS Shoes has a unique business model. For every pair of shoes it sells it gives a new pair to a child in need. TOMS Shoes call this the “One for One” program. They launched TOMS Shoes with an updated version of the alpargata or espadrille in 2006.
In addition to doing good and making a positive impact in the world, TOMS also makes really good shoes that people want to buy and wear. They have been featured on several hot lists and in fashion magazines. TOMS shoes are wildly popular because they are great shoes and because the consumers who buy them are simultaneously helping the world. This has helped make TOMS popular on college and high school campuses. My youngest daughter who has good taste bought a pair last summer.
The “One for One” movement is about people making everyday choices that improve the lives of children. So why shoes? Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil based infections. These diseases cause not only cause physical symptoms but can create cognitive impairment as well.
TOMS establishes shoe-giving partnerships with humanitarian organizations worldwide that have experience and long-term presence in the countries and communities that they serve. They have given away shoes in over 50 countries.
There are other benefits to TOMS business model. TOMS attracts passionate high-caliber people who are trying to make an impact on the world. The have a unique culture. The people who work at TOMS are seeking more than a 9-5 job. They believe in the purpose of the brand.
TOMS product strategy is a huge advantage. In his daily blog, author Seth Godin has challenged marketers to make their products remarkable. Products should have a story. TOMS does this very well. Buyers feel so good about their purchase they want to tell others about it. Very few businesses inspire this kind of word of mouth. TOMS has given away well over 2 million shoes to children in need worldwide.
Do you own a pair of TOMS Shoes?