A dear friend of mine recently reminded me of TOMS Shoes. While I had heard of their concept before, the story took me back again, so I dived into some more research on TOMS Shoes. There was no doubt in my mind that this amazing movement should be highlighted as my small business of the week and here is why….
Social Entrepreneurship – TOMS Shoes was founded in 2006 on the premise that for every pair of shoes purchased, one pair of shoes would be given to a child in need. One for one. Since its inception TOMS Shoes has given away over 150,000 pairs of shoes to children in the United States, Argentina, Ethiopia and South Africa. This year they hope to give away an additional 300,000 shoes.
How did all of this get started? – On a vacation to Argentina in January 2006, founder Blake Mycoskie, of Arlington, Texas had brilliant idea for a business model. He wanted to help children who were suffering from Podoconiosis, a fungus that gets into the pores on the bottom of the feet and eventually destroys the lymphatic system. This disease is 100% preventable, simply by wearing shoes. At that point Blake decided to get involve in shoe giving. Rather than starting a charity, Blake knew his impact would be more sustainable if he started a business. So TOMS Shoes was born.
The Shoes – The shoes are a lightweight design based on the Argentine alpargata design. Similar to an espadrille, they are made of canvas or lightweight cotton with plastic or rubber soles. TOMS Shoes has adapted the design to supply many beautiful colors, patterns and styles.
Get Involved – TOMS Shoes has 5 ways to get involved with their cause:
1. Buy a pair of shoes and share their story
2. Go barefoot for a day – April 8, 2010
3. Share the TOMS documentary – you may request it through their website
4. Host a Style Your Sole party – gather friends and relatives to a party to decorate their own pair of TOMS Shoes. Click here for their complete party planning guide.
5. Join their online community – Here are a few of their sites:
FAVORITE QUOTE: “Everyone who is starting a small company, everyone who has an idea, incorporate giving in what you do!”