Toms: More Than Just Sensible Shoes: Providing quality footwear for you and aid for those in need
May 13, 2015
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Spring has finally sprung in the Berkshires! Once again, the trees are budding, the birds are chirping, and the flowers are blooming. The signs of spring are ubiquitous. For me, one of the signs that spring has arrived is seeing the transition between winter and spring attire. We can finally tuck away our heavy sweaters and wool socks and replace them with a lighter wardrobe. For the last couple of years I’ve noticed that this wardrobe consists of a pair of Toms.
The classic canvas shoes based on the Argentine espadrille or “alpargata” in Spanish design from the footwear line TOMS Shoes have been dubbed Toms. The brand name TOMS belongs to a company that produces more than just these shoes. Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, created the company unintentionally in 2006 while traveling in Brazil. During his visit, Blake noticed the many hardships faced by children who lack footwear. In Buenos Aires, the country’s capital and largest city, he observed children running barefooted through the streets. Those children, as a result of not having shoes, contracted infections and were unable to go to school. This problem, he learned, extends beyond the city to many communities in undeveloped countries. Responding to this issue, Blake came up with the idea for the business model “One for One.” His solution was to create a substantially profitable business that didn’t rely on donations. This idea turned into the powerful foundation for TOMS.
TOMS has four different product lines, the most popular being TOMS Shoes. The espadrilles (Toms) are light, flat canvas shoes with plaited fiber, or rope, soles. With the purchase of each pair of Toms, or any type of TOMS footwear, the company will provide a pair of Toms for children in need, hence the business model “One for One.” Since launching in 2006, TOMS has given over 35 million pairs of shoes to needy children. In addition to footwear, TOMS has a number of different product lines that provide aid to those in need.