TOMS shoes is a trendy new fashion movement which falls upon one simple idea. For every pair of TOMS shoes that are purchased by a consumer, a new pair of shoes will be delivered to a child in need. This business plan has immediately turned fashion lovers into ‘people supporters’ and fundraisers.
In January of 2006, TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, revisited Argentina; wherein, he had competed in the Amazing Race with his sister. In befriending local Argentinians, Blake learned that there was a great need for shoes amongst the children he had met. After returning to the United States, Blake decided to start a company that would provide: One for One; a pair of shoes donated, for every pair sold. Blake stated, “I’m going to start a shoe company, and for every pair we sell, I’ll give a pair to someone who needs them”.
In 2006 alone, TOMS shoes gave over 10,000 shoes to children of Argentina. In 2009 TOMS gave over 100,000 shoes to children of Haiti. Since May of 2006, TOMS has given over 650,000 pair of shoes to needing children of more than twenty countries.
The name, TOMS was derived for the desire to give proper foot health for the children of ‘TOMorrow’. There are several children at risk of illness that grow up in barefoot environments. TOMS research has discovered that without shoes, children:
o Develop soil-transmitted diseases while working, playing or walking to school
o Can display a number of open sores and cuts that come from walking across rocks and bare land
o Develop podo at a young age. Podo is a physical disease that starts in early childhood, giving off a putrid odor that can damage the limbs of little ones.
TOMS shoes is based upon an alpargata style of footwear. With numerous colors, fabrics and designs, each pair is a distinct piece of art in itself. The alpargata shoe style currently sold, has been worn by farmers of Argentina for over one hundred years. These cotton or canvas shoes are constructed in a lightweight model, with a rubber sole. TOMS is also now selling vegan styles of their popular shoes. Blake states, “We require that factories operate under sound labor conditions, pay fair wages and follow local labor standards. A code of conduct is signed by all factories”.
TOMS shoes has received much recognition, in not only the world of philanthropy, but also in the world of fashion. In October of 2007, the company received the People’s Design Award, which was determined by online voters. Blake Mycoskie has been asked to speak on CNBC, meetings at The White House, as well as being noted in TIMES magazine.
On April 8, 2010, TOMS and Blake Mycoskie hosted ‘One Day Without Shoes’. TOMS challenged individuals worldwide to go a day without shoes to better raise awareness for children who go without shoes each day. Over 250,000 people worldwide went barefoot in support of the 3rd Annual, ‘One Day Without Shoes’.
It is not a secret that TOMS shoes are not only a hip solution to every day footwear, but also create awareness for a noble cause. With ever-growing popularity, TOMS is making a difference in the world of feet and fashion.