From a simple project by Blake Mycoskie in 2006 to help get a small group of kids in Argentina new pairs of shoes, TOMS has since redefined what it means to bring about social change (and health) through business.
With their One For One™ business model, a pair of shoes is donated for every pair purchased. The success of their bandage-style shoes (more than 1 million pairs distributed in over 20 countries) proved it’s possible to truly be led by purpose and be profitable. TOMS has also proven that social media is the catalyst for digital activism be it on Facebook (942,116 likes), Twitter (732,763 followers), guerilla marketing or blogging.
Now, TOMS is expanding beyond shoes (leaving this “descriptor” behind in its brand name) and transforming into a truly one-for-one brand. Similar to its “one for one” BOGO (buy one, give one) model, TOMS is expanding its brand into a second product line (eyewear) to give the gift of sight to those in need.
TOMS new collection of sunglasses, priced from $135-$145 a pair, come in three styles and will be sold in the same way as TOMS shoes – for every pair of shades sold, TOMS will help give sight to a person in need through medical treatment, or sight-saving surgery (such as cataract operations) through a partnership with the Seva Foundation, and prescription glasses. The TOMS website also offers the option to upload a photo for a virtual fitting.
Why glasses? Helping save vision is a solvable problem, and Mycoskie feels it’s an issue where TOMS can make an immediate impact. And it certainly flows from their mission and model of solving great human needs worldwide. TOMS Eyewear will begin with initiatives in Nepal, Tibet, and Cambodia. Seva has been in the business of sight restoration for over 30 years – and has given help to nearly three million people globally.
I’m a huge fan of TOMS (could you really not be?). It’s a company…
• built around a massively important (and attracting) central energizing idea
• propelled by a cult-like culture
• driven by a purpose to solve a real problem
• providing a uniquely branded experience
• empowering customers through their actions
• ultimately creating (and fulfilling) a global one-for-one community of like-minded participants.
Please share your point-of-view.