By Alexis Herr
Shoes have the ability change a life, and no ladies, I am not talking about the perfect red pump. Toms operates on a simple altruistic business model: with every product you purchase, Toms will help a person in need. Their one-for-one philosophy has allowed them to provide over 2 million pairs of new shoes to children in more than 60 countries since it began operating seven years ago.
During his travels in Argentina in 2006, Toms’ founder Blake Mycoskie witnessed the hardships faced by shoeless children. Without proper footwear, children are vulnerable to infections and diseases that can interfere with their development and ability to attend school. Hookworm, which affects up to 740 million people worldwide, can be caught when feet aren’t taken care of. The long-term physical effects of hookworm include impeded cognitive development and stunted growth. Podoconiosis, affecting up to 4 million people worldwide (1 million in Ethiopia alone), is contracted with prolonged exposure to soil irritants and causes painful swelling in the feet and legs.
Mycoskie returned home inspired to create a sustainable for-profit business that would allow him to help provide footwear to needy children. Toms’ initial endeavors were so successful that the company decided to expand its efforts to include eyewear following the same one-for-one business model.
One of my favorite things about Toms shoes is that they allow the wearer to get involved in spreading the company’s message. When a friend asks about my shoes I have an opportunity to talk to them about the company and the motivation behind its creation. Toms offers an excellent example of a for-profit company that has shaped its business model around improving the world.
To pick up your own Toms’ merchandise, visit their website here: www.Toms.com