Business and giving, two words that typically are not associated with each other. I mean, lets face it? When you think of large companies you think of the money they make, not the money they donate. But there is one organization that has made it their goal to restructure the old selfish business model and is challenging others to do the same. This brand believes that when you make money, you can give an equal amount, (a “one for one,” notion as they call it.) And so far, not only is it working, but it has caused their company and lives globally to thrive.
Tom’s Shoes is based out of Santa Monica, California on a semi busy tree lined street. I have driven by their non descript offices hundreds of times and didn’t even know it existed due to it’s modest motif. Although I always thought some guy named Tom concocted the idea, it actually was the brainchild of Blake Mycoskie, who in 2006 was just a traveler from the United States meandering through Argentina at leisure. It was in the course of that visit that Blake stumbled on an observation. Each person he passed daily on his adventures had no shoes, and when he explored the ramifications of that more intensely he realized that this lack of protection for their feet was not just a missing luxury item, but a requirement for tackling some of the major hurdles the nation faced.
Wanting to help, Blake created a shoe company that would not only produce desirable footwear for consumers, but also could solve this countries shoe crisis. Instead of throwing money at the problem he knew he had to do more for real change. So his company set up a plan to provide a long-term sustainable solution based around one simple principal. Toms would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes to be given to a child in need. This one for one model, was quickly dismissed by most of Blake’s cohorts, but this free thinking new aged businessman was confident that the power of giving was not only going to work, but make his shoes even more desirable to purchasers. Fortunately, he was right. Since September 2010, over 1 million shoes have been donated, a large feat for anyone. (Pun intended.)
With a simple yearning to help and by taking a leap of faith that a business can be profitable and charitable, Blake has managed to build a brand and turn a profit. And because this country now has shoes he has made it possible for kids to go back in school, (shoes are a prerequisite for attendance,) and most notable has cured diseases that penetrate the skin through bare feet, which use to run ramped in Argentina. This is the power of one man, one idea and a one for one model other businesses could put into action.
In my mind, Blake and Toms Shoes are the real heroes in our world. These are the people that I look up to and try to emulate in my own life. So for all their work I say “thank you,” to Toms Shoes, for challenging my own ideas and creating better ones to help make change on a large and powerful scale. (Something we hope to accomplish here at Betty Everything as well.)
Now if you’ll excuse I have some shoe shopping to do..