TOMS shoes is a company that was started in 2006 when an American traveler named Blake Mycoskie traveled to Argentina where he befriended hundreds of children. Throughout his visit, he noticed a consistent pattern – many of these children didn’t have any shoes. He then started TOMS, a company whose slogan is: “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.” The TOMS “One for One” movement took off after he traveled back to Argentina with family and friends to follow through with his promise.
Over the last few years, TOMS has become an easily-recognized brand name in everyday conversation. Their annual “One Day Without Shoes” only spreads the name further, creating a day annually in which people are encouraged not to wear shoes all day. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, “One Day Without Shoes” spreads awareness of what life without something as simple as a pair of shoes is really like. It started with the classic solid TOMS, the ones that I happen to be wearing at the moment. My friend Lauren Vemo is sporting the glitter TOMS today – a new addition by the company a few months ago:
And the company has only grown from there. TOMS now offers prints of all kinds, wedges, boots, apparel and accessories, and even eyewear. They’ve expanded into a company that offers merchandise for men, women, and even children.
The “One for One” concept took off like wildfire, not only attracting a substantial amount of attention, but also affecting the sales of other competing companies. Payless Shoes – a company that’s been in the industry for quite a while already – is even starting “The Good Shoe Project“, where when a pair of their AirWalk brand shoes is purchased, a new pair goes to a child in need.
TOMS will always (I hope) be remembered as the first corporation to start something like this. The spread of the One for One movement is definitely not something that can be complained about. It’s a win-win situation. Buy a pair for yourself and you receive a brand new pair of shoes, while simultaneously giving back to someone who really needs it. It’s an easy way to fulfill a small part of your charitable duty in this world.