If you could change the life of a child, simply by purchasing a pair of shoes, wouldn’t you? Better yet, during the holiday season, if you could gift TWO people for the price of one, wouldn’t you? Thanks to TOMS Shoes founder, “Chief Shoe Giver” and creator of the “One for One” business model, Blake Mycoskie, YOU CAN!
After traveling to Argentina in 2006, Mycoskie was struck by the children he befriended and their immediate need for shoes. Soon after, he began wearing the canvas shoe that many locals wore, the alpargata, or the flat espadrille. Before leaving Argentina, Mycoskie decided to start an alpargata shoe company with a business model based on giving – when someone buys a pair of TOMS Shoes, a pair is given to a child in need. Period. It’s that simple.
Through the company’s non-profit arm, Friends of TOMS, over 300,000 pairs of alpargata shoes have been given to children under the “One for One” movement since TOMS launched in 2006. The canvas shoes have been given to children in the United States (Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Florida), Argentina, Ethiopia and South Africa. In collaboration with the Clinton Global Initiative, TOMS gave a one time donation of shoes to Haiti.
During 2009, TOMS Shoes hopes to give away 300,000 pairs of shoes to children in need. They’re sold at more than 500 stores nationwide and internationally, including Nordstrom and Whole Foods, which features styles made from recycled materials. What a brilliant and beautiful idea! Follow Blake’s blog here.