I love TOMS shoes!!! I think they are really amazing mainly because of the idea behind the company. This company is only 4 years old and has managed to catch like wildfire and sell over 1 million shoes which means they have also given 1 million shoes to children who cannot otherwise have access to shoes.
Blake Mycoskie is no ordinary guy. He was a runner up on Amazing Race (one of my fav shows), started an Internet company, left said company after spending some needed vacation time in South America, had a major bleeding heart for the children he saw while participating in a shoe drop. The shoe drop he went on was totally different than the ones he does now. He was sitting at a cafe and overheard some English speaking people talking about taking shoe they had collected from richer people in Argentina and distributing them to children who could not go to school because they didn't have shoes. It broke his heart that these children were prevented to get educations because they didn't have shoes but the reason they didn't have shoes was because they didn't have educations and could not get jobs. It is a compounding, vicious cycle. He decided to create a company that sells shoes as a means of generating revenue to make shoes to give away which is where the "One for One" mantra comes from. When you buy a pair of TOMS shoes you are really buying 2 pairs, one for you to wear and one that will be given to someone who really needs the shoes.
The start of TOMS was like any fashion company; that is really difficult with several people ignoring you and literally slamming doors in your face. By chance though with about 200 shoes made he went from store to store trying to get buyer on board with this idea of giving back. Many companies didn't have time for this idea mainly because it is really an odd idea and he was just starting out and hadn't proved himself as a company to invest in. Finally though he walked into a store and the receptionist thought he was the shoe person with the meeting with the buyer (he wasn't though) and she loved his idea and gave him a shot. The shoes were displayed with some great visual merchandising and luck would have it the style editor for the LA Times walked into the store and loved the idea and the company was featured a few weeks later. And then so many people were buzzing about this awesome company that who should call but the Anna Wintour. TOMS was featured in Vogue and that was the start of the magical company that is TOMS.
I fell in love with this story when I went and listened to him speak on the UT campus almost a year ago. If he is ever speaking anywhere near you I strongly suggest you go listen to him. His passion is so contagious I almost went out and bought like 50 pairs of shoes... until reality hit and I realized what would I do with the many shoes and I have no money.
Now this small company with a great idea is everywhere on every one's feet. I encourage you to go buy a pair of these shoes plus now they are getting so cute. I am loving the Cordones style right now.
I know it is a ways away but mark April 5th, 2011 on your calender. It is the TOMS day without shoes day where they bring awareness to what it is like to really not have shoes.