|Headquarters||Santa Monica, California|
|Products||Shoes, clothing, eyewear, coffee, shirts|
Toms (stylized as TOMS) is a for-profit company based in Playa Del Rey, California. The company was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, an entrepreneur from Arlington, Texas. The company designs and sells shoes based on the Argentine alpargata design, eyewear, coffee, apparel, and handbags. When Toms sells a pair of shoes, a new pair of shoes is given to an impoverished child, when Toms sells eyewear, part of the profit is used to save or restore eyesight for people in developing countries. The company launched TOMS Roasting Co. in 2014, and with each purchase of TOMS Roasting Co. coffee, the company works with other organizations that they refer to as "giving partners" to provide 140 liters of safe water, equal to a one week supply, to a person in need. In 2015, TOMS Bag Collection was launched to help contribute to advancements in maternal health. Purchases of TOMS Bags help provide training for skilled birth attendants and distribute birth kits containing items that help women practice safe childbirth.
Blake Mycoskie visited Argentina in 2002 while competing in the second season of The Amazing Race with his sister. He returned on vacation in January 2006, and noticed that the local polo players were wearing alpargatas, a simple canvas slip-on shoe that he began to wear himself and which are the model for the original line of Toms Shoes. They are made from canvas or cotton fabric with rope soles, but Toms makes theirs with rubber soles. Mycoskie said that when he was doing volunteer work in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, he noticed that many of the children were running through the streets with no shoes on. He decided to develop a type of alpargata for the North American market, with the goal to provide a new pair of shoes free of charge to youth of Argentina and other developing nations for every pair sold. According to Mycoskie, Bill Gates encouraged him by saying that the lack of shoes was a major contributor to diseases in children.
Mycoskie sold his online driver education company for $500,000 to finance Toms shoes. The company name is derived from the word "tomorrow", and evolved from the original concept, "Shoes for Tomorrow Project". Mycoskie initially commissioned Argentine shoe manufacturers to make 250 pairs of shoes. Sales officially began in May 2006. After an article ran in the Los Angeles Times, the company received order requests for nine times the available stock online, and 10,000 pairs were sold in the first year. The first batch of 10,000 free shoes were distributed in October 2006 to Argentine children.
In 2007 the company launched an annual "One Day Without Shoes" event where people are encouraged not to wear shoes for one day in order to raise awareness about the impact shoes can have on a child's life. The event has had corporate sponsors such as AOL, Flickr, and the Discovery Channel.
By 2011 over 500 retailers were carrying the brand globally and in the same year Toms launched its eyewear line. By 2012 over two million pairs of new shoes had been given to children in developing countries around the world. The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at the University of New Mexico describes the company as an example of social entrepreneurship.
In June 2014, the company announced that Mycoskie was looking to sell part of his stake in the company to help it grow faster and meet its long-term goals. On August 20, 2014 Bain Capital acquired 50% of Toms. Reuters reported that the transaction valued the company at $625 million; Mycoskie's personal wealth following the deal was reported at $300 million. Mycoskie retained 50% ownership of Toms, as well as his role as "Chief Shoe Giver". Mycoskie said he would use half of the proceeds from the sale to start a new fund to support socially minded entrepreneurship, and Bain would match his investment and continue the company's one-for-one policy.
"One for One"
Toms' business model is known as the "one for one concept" model, which is referring to the company's promise to deliver a pair of free shoes to a child in need for every sale of their retail product. The countries involved have included Argentina, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Rwanda, South Africa and the United States. The business has grown beyond producing shoes and has included eyewear and apparel in Toms product lines. The company uses word-of-mouth advocacy for much of its sales, centering its business focus on corporate social responsibility. Part of this model originally involved a non-profit arm called "Friends of Toms" that recruited volunteers to help in the shoe distributions in foreign countries. Toms trademarked the phrase "One for One" to describe its own business model.
Focuses for Corporate Responsibility
Author Daniel H. Pink described the company's business model as "expressly built for purpose maximization," whereby Toms is selling both shoes and its ideal. Toms' consumer market are purchasing shoes and also making a purchase that transforms them into benefactors for the company. Another phrase used to try to describe the business model has been "caring capitalism". Part of how Toms has developed this description is by incorporating the giving into its business model before it made a profit, making it as integral to the business model as its revenue generating aspects. Business tycoon and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson wrote of the company's business model in his book Screw Business as Usual, "They look for communities that will benefit most from Toms based on their economic, health and education needs while taking into account local business so as not to create a correlating negative effect." He also commented on Toms' expansion into eyewear in order to help the nearly 300 million people who are visually impaired in developing nations.
The company's shoe distribution partners have focused on distributing shoes in areas where health and social benefits of the shoes would be the highest. For example, in Ethiopia the shoes are intended to help prevent a soil-borne disease that attacks the lymphatic system and which largely affected women and children. Toms sunglasses are sold with the One for One model, however it does not necessarily provide glasses only to those in developing countries. The One for One model includes putting money toward medical treatment, eye surgeries and prescription glasses. Toms works with the Seva Foundation among other partners to accomplish this. The first countries that Toms implemented its program were Nepal, Cambodia and Tibet. The original three designs, according to Leigh Grogan, were "The stripe on the temples represents the buyer; the stripe on the tips represents the person whose sight is being helped, and the middle stripe represents Toms, which brings the two together."
The canvas shoes have been given to children in 70 countries worldwide, including the United States, Argentina, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Swaziland, Guatemala, Haiti and South Africa. Toms are sold at more than 500 stores nationwide and internationally, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Whole Foods Market, which include shoes made from recycled materials.
Volunteers on shoe distribution trips are able to deliver shoes to children in person. In 2006, Toms distributed 10,000 pairs of shoes in Argentina. In November 2007, the company distributed 50,000 pairs of shoes to children in South Africa. As of April 2009, Toms had distributed 140,000 pairs of shoes to children in Argentina, Ethiopia, South Africa as well as children in the United States. As of 2012, Toms has given away over one million pairs of shoes in 40 countries.
Students attending colleges across the United States have created TOMS campus clubs. As of March 20, 2014, 281 campus clubs existed in the United States with another dozen located in Canada. By comparison, another nonprofit organization known as Lions Club International was established in 1917 and is known for working to ending the cause of blindness, reports 400 Lions’ campus clubs in 42 countries.
In 2009 Toms partnered with the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project to create limited edition shoes, and used profits to benefit education and medical support in remote areas of Africa suffering from AIDS outbreaks. Toms has also produced shoes with a handlebar mustache symbol in place of the traditional Toms symbol in support of the Movember Foundation. Toms is a supporter of the charity charity: water, with which it has partnered with for several years, including its WaterForward project, which aims to bring clean water to underdeveloped countries. An additional partner charity is FEED, a charity where a consumer will purchase a pair of shoes and the company will donate twelve meals to impoverished schools in addition to a pair of shoes for impoverished children.
The major mission of Toms is that a business, rather than a charity, would help their impact last longer. In his speech at the Second Annual Clinton Global Initiative Mycoskie states that his initial motivation was a disease called podoconiosis -- a debilitating and disfiguring disease which causes one's feet to swell along with many other health implications. Also known as "Mossy Foot", podoconiosis is a form of elephantiasis that affects the lymphatic system of the lower legs. The disease is a soil-transmitted disease caused by walking in silica-rich soil. Toms currently works with factories nearby where they perform some of their shoe drops.
The Tom's 'One for One' model has inspired many different companies to adopt similar concepts. Warby Parker, launched in 2010, donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair of glasses it sells. The social business Ruby Cup uses a 'Buy One Give One' model for their menstrual cup venture, benefiting women in Kenya. A Bristol chiropractic center influenced by Mycoskie's Start Something That Matters book started donating £1 to Cherish Uganda for every appointment attended.
Toms has received criticism from the international development community  who have stated that Toms' model is designed to make consumers feel good rather than addressing the underlying causes of poverty. Criticisms have also included whether or not the shoe donation is as effective as a monetary donation to other charities. Mycoskie responded to these criticisms in November 2013, saying "If you really are serious about poverty alleviation, our critics said, then you need to create jobs. At first I took that personally, but then I realized that they were right... using our model to create jobs is the next level." The company has announced its plans to have one-third of all its shoes produced in countries receiving aid by 2015.[non-primary source needed]
A story by LA Weekly priced the manufacturing cost of a pair of Toms Shoes at $3.50-$5.00 in U.S. dollars, and noted that the children's shoes given out by the company were among the cheapest to make, which is not necessarily apparent to consumers. According to garment-industry author Kelsey Timmerman, many people he spoke to in Ethiopia were critical of the company, saying that they felt it exploited the idea of Ethiopian poverty as a marketing tool. An Argentina-based shoemaker agreed, saying that the imagery used by the company was manipulative.
A 2014 paper in the Journal of Development Effectiveness studied the effect of Toms Shoes on local shoe markets, and did not find any statistically significant effect, although analysts and the paper's authors noted the study was limited in scope and time-scale.
Philosopher Slavoj Žižek cited Toms Shoes (along with Starbucks) as "an almost absurd example" of the postmodern trend towards the rationalization of consumerism, saying that such efforts only delay necessary systemic changes.
Focus on the Family
In July 2011, Toms founder Blake Mycoskie participated in an event sponsored by the group Focus on the Family. After being criticized for supporting a socially conservative non-profit, Mycoskie posted an apology on his website stating that he and his handlers had not heard of Focus on the Family before participating in the event and decided it was a mistake. He also stated that he and the company support equal human and civil rights.
Despite their mission to donate shoes to children in need, Toms has been criticized for being vague about measures it's taken to uphold fair labor standards in China, Ethiopia and Argentina, where it makes the majority of its products.
- businessoffashion.com Blake Mycoskie on 10 Years of Toms MAY 6, 2016
- Walkley, Alison (2009-11-20). "TOMS founder Mycoskie comes to SHU". Fairfield Citizen. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- "For Profit or Non-Profit?: Is Toms a non-profit organization?". Toms Shoes. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
- "Toms to Open Second Los Angeles Store". Retrieved 2016-08-03.
- Blair, Jennifer (January 2009). "A Mile in his Shoes". Fort Worth, Texas: The City's Magazine. Fort Worth Texas Magazine. p. 38.
- Wong, Grace (September 26, 2008). "Blake Mycoskie: Sole ambition". CNN.com. CNN. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- Sellers, Patricia (October 11, 2008). "Power Point: Be the change". Fortune. Cable News Network. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- Cook, Shannon (March 26, 2009). "These shoes help others get a step up". CNN.com. CNN. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- Smith, Seana. "TOMS CEO Expanding Reach of 'Buy One Give One' Model". Fox Business.
- TOMS. "TOMS : One for One". Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- "Blake Mycoskie Conceived The Idea For TOMS Shoes While Sitting On A Farm, Pondering Life, In Argentina". Retrieved 2016-08-03.
- Boone, Louis E.; Kurtz, David L. (2011-07-26). Contemporary Business. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470531297.
- Alicja Spaulding; Stephanie Fernandez & Jennifer Sawayda (2011). "TOMS: One for One Movement" (PDF). Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at the University of New Mexico. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Louis E. Boone & David L. Kurtz (2011). Contemporary Business. Wiley & Sons. pp. 137–138. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Miller, Linda (April 5, 2009). "Shoes offer a better tomorrow". NewsOK. NewsOK.com. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- Emanuel Rosen (2010). Buzz: Real Life Lessons in Word-of-Mouth Marketing. Profile Books. pp. 188–89. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Chansanchai, Athima (June 11, 2007). "Happy feet: Buy a pair of Toms shoes and a pair will be donated to a poor child abroad". seattlepi.com. Hearst Seattle Media, LLC. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- Brune, Brett (December 28, 2007). "For-profit helps keep charity running". Marketplace. American Public Media. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- "What is One Day Without Shoes?". onedaywithoutshoes.com. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
- Julee Wilson (April 10, 2012). "TOMS Shoes Annual 'One Day Without Shoes,' Plus Barefoot Celebs". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Post, Carly Gillis Carly Gillis is an associate editor for The Huffington (2011-06-07). "From Toe To Head: TOMS Announces Eyewear As New 'One For One' Product". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
- Archie B. Carroll; Ann K. Buchholtz (2008). Business & Society: Ethics & Stakeholder Management. Cengage. p. 54.
- Hammond, Ed (2014-06-03). "Shoemaker Toms put up for sale". FT.com. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
- De La Merced, Michael J. (August 20, 2014). "After Sale to Bain, Toms's Chief Wants to Expand Global Reach". New York Times. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- Healy, Beth (August 20, 2014). "Bain Capital buys 50 percent of company that donates shoes". Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- Simon Mainwaring (2011). We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World. Macmillan. p. 57. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Jay Kandampully (2012). Service Management. Springer.
- Philip Kotler; David Hessekiel & Nancy Lee (2012). Good Works!: Marketing and Corporate Initiatives that Build a Better World...and the Bottom Line. John Wiley & Sons. p. 87. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- McGuigan, Cathleen (October 19, 2007). "Toms Shoes Wins Design Award". Newsweek.com. Newsweek, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- Daniel H. Pink (2011). Drive: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us. Penguin. p. 134. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- John R. Schermerhorn (2010). Introduction to Management. John Wiley & Sons. p. 148. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- David Y. Choi; Edmund Gray & Edmund R. Gray (2010). Values-Centered Entrepreneurs and Their Companies. Taylor & Francis. p. 118. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Richard Branson (2011). Screw Business As Usual. Penguin. p. ebook. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Blake Mycoskie (2011). Start Something That Matters. Random House Digital. p. 37. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- James Marshall Reilly (2011). Shake the World: It's Not About Finding a Job, It's About Creating a Life. Penguin. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Leigh Grogan (June 12, 2011). "TOMS launches eyewear mission". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Taylor, Kate (2012-06-18). "6 Entrepreneurs Who Turned Service Into A Career". Forbes. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- "Where we give". Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Moore, Booth (April 19, 2009). "Toms Shoes' model is sell a pair, give a pair away". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
- Mustafa, Nadia (January 26, 2007). "A Shoe That Fits So Many Souls". Time. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- "Amped-up alpargatas". HeraldTribune.com. October 30, 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
- Van Schalkwyk, Surika (February 11, 2008). "Steps in the right direction". Mail & Guardian Online. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- Murray, Michael (2011-04-08). "Person of the Week: TOMS Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie". ABC News. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- "TOMS : One for One". Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- liondavidcaldwell. "What Is A Campus Lions Club". Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- JOCELYN ANDERSON (December 18, 2009). "Charlize Theron Designs for Toms Shoes". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Adam Tschorn (October 18, 2011). "Toms Shoes X Movember: Some panache with that 'stache?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- GREGORY FERENSTEIN (October 24, 2011). "Trickle-Forward Economics: Scott Harrison's Water-Based Experiment In Viral Philanthropy". Fast Company. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- "FEED 12 Toms Shoes". Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Shambora, Jessica (March 16, 2010). "How TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie got started". CNN Money. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- Sharaby, Orli. "Toms Shoes' Blake Mycoskie Talks to PSFK". Syfy. March 9, 2009.
- Lerman, Emily (April 15, 2009). "PhiLAnthropist Interview: Toms Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie Plans to Give Away 300,000 Pairs in 2009". LAist. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
- "Ruby Cup". Ruby Cup. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- amazon.com Start Something That Matters
- "Start something that matters - Cherish Uganda". The Chiropractic Centre: Bristol. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- "TOMS shoes to begin producing shoes in Haiti. Will this be a more effective way to help the poor?". slate.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- "The Broken "Buy-One, Give-One" Model: 3 Ways To Save Toms Shoes | Co.Exist | ideas + impact". fastcoexist.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- "Haiti Doesn't Need Your Old T-Shirt". foreignpolicy.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- Short, Kevin (November 14, 2013). "Toms CEO Blake Mycoskie Offers Surprising Answer To His Critics". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- "TOMS : One for One". toms.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- McDonald, Patrick Range (July 28, 2011). "Is Blake Mycoskie of TOMS an Evangelical?". LA Weekly. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- Murphy, Tom (September 16, 2014). "Do TOMS shoes harm local shoe sellers?". Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- "Putting the boot in development". The Economist. October 27, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- Wydick, Bruce; Katz, Elizabeth; Janet, Brendan (23 May 2014). "Do in-kind transfers damage local markets? The case of TOMS shoe donations in El Salvador". Journal of Development Effectiveness. 6 (3): 249–267. doi:10.1080/19439342.2014.919012.
- Žižek, Slavoj (July 28, 2010). RSA ANIMATE: First as Tragedy, Then as Farce (Video). Royal Society of Arts (Official YouTube channel). 3:28 minutes in.
- "Tom's Shoes Founder Steps on Gay Toes". Huffington Post. 2011-09-12.
- Mirabella, Joe (2011-07-09). "Focus on the Family Misrepresented Relationship with Toms Shoes". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
- Mathis, Derrick. "Toms Shoes Founder Apologizes, Gay Response Is Disgusting". Renwl.org. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- "Toms Shoes founder apologizes for Focus on the Family connection". The Washington Post. 2011-07-16.
- "10 Popular Retailers With Dark Labor Histories". Huffington Post. May 4, 2013.