April 2, 2009

Small Company Makes Big Impact in the Lives of Women and Children

TOMS SHOE Company has given over 10,000 pairs of shoes to children in Argentina and 50,000 pairs in South Africa through the purchases of its caring customers. The idea is simple.

For every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS gives away one pair.

Since the beginning of Mary 2006, the company has given over 130,000 pairs of shoes to children. Most of those children never had a pair of shoes in their life.

The shoes have a distinctly traditional look to them (they’re modeled after the traditional Argentinian alpargata, a simple slip-on canvas shoe).

TOMS founder,
Blake Mycoskie, lists his occupation as "Chief Shoe Giver." He said in a 2006 LA Times article, "There is a significant health issue in a lot of Third World countries among women and children who traditionally have to walk miles to get water every day. They get cuts on their fee, which get infected. So shoes are at the top of the list when organizations ask for donations."

How did Blake ever get the original idea for his company? He says, "I was traveling in Argentina in 2006, just on vacation, and came across so many children who did not have shoes. Their feet had cuts and infections, and there I had the idea to start a shoe company that would serve as a sustainable way of giving. For every pair some one purchases, TOMS gives a pair to these children. If I had created a non-profit, we would have been able to give shoes once, or maybe twice, but by developing this One for One model, we have been able to return to these communities and other areas across the world with shoes for children in need."

If every entrepreneur in America used the TOMS model of "giving," the world would be a better place. Amen.

See pictures of the South Africa Shoe Drop here.

Buy a pair of shoes here.

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