Yesterday my little E officially became a walker, soon to be a runner no doubt. As soon as I saw her little feet move, it became clear to me that her first pair of shoes just had to be TOMS.
Did you know that TOMS is a derivative of the word “tomorrow”and the idea that we have a better tomorrow?
In 2006, Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk.
When the owner, Blake Mycoskie started the project, it was called the Shoes for Tomorrow Project. Then it was just Shoes for Tomorrow. Then that didn’t fit on the label, so they just named it TOMS. Who is Tom? You buy a pair today, they give a pair away tomorrow. And collectively, everyone who buys a pair, everyone who works at TOMS, everyone who’s an intern are all TOM. So that’s who TOM is. I love this story, and you know what?- it just keeps getting better.
The concept is very simple: with every pair purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for one. As of September 2010, TOMS has given away 1 million pairs of shoes.
Not only do they give shoes away, they have just added eyewear. For every pair of glasses sold a child or adult receives the eye care they need (treatment for their eye condition, prescription glass or/or sight-saving surgery). This company seems too good to be true, but alas, they are for real.
A phrase I love to hear about a company: socially and environmentally responsible. Let me list the ways how TOMS adheres to this:
- They began the shoe one for one movement to help prevent foot injury and the spread of soil borne diseases such as parasites. And now the eye wear movement because sight is a fundamental need. The loss of sight has a dramatic impact on a person’s life – and on his or her family and community.
- They do out-source their work to Asia, Ethiopia, Brazil. Where they make their shoes depends on what shoe is being made, what material is being used and where it is being sold.
- They visit their factories to make sure that they are not only helping the people who they give the shoes to, but that they are providing an environment where the workers feel safe and valued and are not taken advantage of from a labour perspective.
- They offer vegan-friendly shoes.
- Their shoes are made up of a blend of hemp, organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles which makes them last longer and more environmentally friendly. Very cool.
- They encourage people to upcycle their old shoes by makes soccer balls, headbands, bracelets, pencil pouch, wallet, drink coasters, iPad sleeve, and plant hanger. All very interesting and fun projects.
- They have a team made up of 14 people called the “sustainable soles” who work together to keep the TOMS office and company green. I want to work for that team.
- We can’t forget that they give one pair of shoes to a child in need and give a child or adult the eye treatment they require every time a pair of either is sold.
How could you not feel good buying from this company? They not only care about the impact they have on the environment, but they want to make a positive impact in someones life.
Be the change you want to see in the world. I think Blake Mycoskie is that change.
I was not asked by TOMS shoes to write this post and was therefore not compensated in anyway. However, if TOMS would like to help a gal out, I would not say no!
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