A few nights ago I was watching a show on MSNBC about entrepreneurs. The headlining story was about a company called TOMS shoes (Shoes for Tomorrow). The concept was pretty simple: for every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. Is it possible to give back and still make money? Apparently, it is.
TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, came up with the idea on a trip to Argentina, where he was inspired by the simple slip-on shoes he saw there – locals call them alpargata, also known as espadrilles. Since the company’s beginning in 2006, TOMS has provided over 140,000 pairs of shoes to children in need. Their goal for 2009 is to reach 300,000 pairs of shoes.
There are many things about this company that I find extraordinary: the philanthropy, the design, the company culture and the manufacturing. But, what may be most inspiring is the way people feel about the brand. It is heartwarming to see how many people want to be involved with this company and its mission. TOMS offers all sorts of ways people can get involved and make a difference – buying a pair of shoes is just one of them.
After visiting the TOMS website and reading their story I understand why this company has generated such a following. So, this weekend, I plan to purchase my first pair of TOMS shoes from one of the many retailers in my area. For me, it isn’t so much about the purchase itself as it is what that purchase signifies and how it will impact another person’s life. I have to say; knowing that I’m doing something for the greater good is a really great feeling.
To read more about TOMS shoes or to learn how you can make a difference, visit their website at www.tomsshoes.com.