“The greatest part of my job is going on our Giving Trips. TOMS started this way, and these have been some of the most moving and memorable experiences in my life.”—Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver
This “Thankful Thursday” we dedicate to the brand TOMS. We love the elements of any fashion story with a cause story and Giving is in their DNA. We do report on fashion trends and different designer brands with the hope that these companies will read stories like these and change the way they do fashion business in today’s global economy. We also urge our readers to think about where they shop and how it affects the world.
In 2006,Toms brought a novel idea to business: Let’s give a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair they sell. And in 2011, they expanded their efforts with eyewear to provide the gift of sight to people who are visually impaired. These statements bring tears to my eyes. What dedication, I often ask the universe to bring me children who need love. My dream is to become a modern day Josephine Baker or the next of kin to Angelina Jolie. If only I had the means to live this dream, well at least there is Toms to the rescue.
TOMS Founder Blake Mycoskie started his company with the desire to give new shoes to children in need he had befriended in Argentina. That humble aspiration to serve is why they exist and the reason they go to great lengths to ensure that their giving has a positive and responsible impact. Why can’t t more brands, businesses, and entertainers be more like Blake, it isn’t all about the money sometimes. With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One.
How do they give? Thoughtfully and responsibly that’s how. The strategy of their giving doesn’t start with shoes or even eye care. It begins by listening. They work with more than 75 Giving Partners around the world, who share with them the needs they see on the ground.
Then they collaborate to provide the kind of shoes or eye care that is truly useful. They give for good. For them, giving is not a one-time event. When they give, and make a commitment to their partners for the long term. “Our shoes work best when integrated into programs with big goals, like eradicating hookworm or increasing school enrollment and attendance,” explains Jessica Shortall, Director of Giving at TOMS. But we’re also a constant presence for a very practical reason: Children’s feet grow. “And with our sight giving, our partners know they can rely on our long-term support to develop sustainable clinics, serving people who otherwise couldn’t afford care,” says Shortall.We believe that these gifts shouldn’t come with hidden costs. For shoes, we cover the transportation and distribution costs our partners incur to put shoes on the feet of children. For sight, our giving is flexible, covering in-clinic treatment as well as activities like outreach and training. Toms helps improve outlooks.
Every TOMS Eyewear purchase enables our Giving Partners to provide one of three commonly needed services: prescription glasses, medical treatment or sight-saving surgery. This gift is provided to people of all ages, from young children with eye injuries to senior citizens with cataracts. But restoring sight to one person can improve the lives of many with improved vision. I just might have found my next calling; I have always wanted to get my hand dirty and would be delighted to be a part of the Toms legacy. I hope to volunteer on their next Giving Trip.
What is a Giving Trip?
Every year, TOMS family members, customers and retail partners join us to experience giving firsthand, participating in shoe distributions around the world. Not only do they put TOMS directly on the feet of a child, they see the work that our Giving Partners do all year.
Blake is an avid reader and traveler. He is passionate about inspiring young people to help make tomorrow better, encouraging them to include giving in everything they do. His hope is to see a future full of social-minded businesses and consumers.