19 July 2007
Social Entrepreneurs: TOMS Shoes - Buy One Pair, Give a Kid Some Shoes
The other day, Seth Godin pointed us to TOMS Shoes, an innovative shoe company with a social cause: Buy One Get One
“Inspired by a traditional Argentine shoe and challenged by continent’s poverty and heath issues, I created TOMS with a singular mission: To make life more comfortable,” says Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS "Shoes for Tomorrow."
For every TOMS shoe sold, the company sends a pair to a child in need. It's that simple.
TOMS was born in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie out of a commitment to produce stylish, comfortable, and practical footwear while improving the lives of children around the world.
Available in eighteen colors and combinations for both men and women, TOMS debut collection is inspired by Alpargatas, the trusted utility shoe of Argentine workers.
“I was overwhelmed by the spirit of the South American people, especially those who had so little,” Mycoskie says. “And I was instantly struck with the desire – the responsibility – to do more.”
The shoes are composed of high quality, durable materials including lightweight, breathable canvas, resilient soles and soft leather in soles for maximum comfort.
After losing on the reality show, "The Amazing Race," Blake Mycoskie "put his life on hold and took a well deserved extended vacation," according to a press release on TOMS web site. A whirlwind tour of South America ended in Argentina, where Mycoskie "immersed himself in Argentine culture: sailing, tango, competitive polo. Nice life.
But Mycoskie soon "became aware of the difficulties of the impoverished people in Argentina. He was challenged emotionally as he visited villages without fresh water and where few, if any, of the children had shoes. The lack of basic needs contributed to many health issues, infections, and in the most extreme circumstances, even death."
So, he came up with the idea to found a shoe company and give back by sending shoes to children from families who can't afford them. Last October, he returned with a bunch of volunteers to distribute 10,000 pairs of shoes.
Check out TOMS Shoes, enter their "design a shoe" contest, and buy a pair online at: TOMS Shoes
More on Blake from TIME Magazine.
And an interview: Quick Stop Questions