TOMS – One for One

Text: Anna Plaszczyk, photos: press release

10 July 2019

TOMS gives a pair of shoes to people in need for every one sold. It also helps to treat sight, it has a program to support pregnant women being in need, and a program to support the distribution of drinking water. The company has grown out of social responsibility of the business. To this day, thanks to its customers, it has helped tens millions of people on 5 continents. TOMS very effectively uses business in order to help those in need. Thanks to its products and services tailored to the needs of the needy, logistics and local production, sales of TOMS Shoes, Eyewear, Coffee and Bags lines it supports the One for One model. Simply - every time one of TOMS products is being sold - one person in need receives help.

Blake Mycoskie, a founder and chief of TOMS, during a trip to Argentina in 2006 saw that children growing up without shoes were facing difficulties. He wanted to help, so he created TOMS Shoes - a company, that for every pair of purchased shoes, gives another pair a child in need. Mycoskie wanted to make help independent from system of donations and get a steady flow of aid funds. TOMS hands shoes over to people in need, they are adapted to the climatic conditions and the needs of local communities. All shoes are new and made with great care. Thanks to a wide variety of sizes, TOMS helps both young children and adolescents. But this is not the end. In order to help in creating local jobs, TOMS has committed itself to produce one third of the shoe in the regions where they are donated to. Today, the company passes shoes for children in need to over 70 countries – from the United States, Argentina, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Kenya, through Eastern Europe to the Middle East.

This simple idea has quickly evolved into a powerful business model that supports the needy in many fields. During the first five years, a thriving company has been created that supplied shoes to children around the world. And Blake, during his travels around the world, has discovered that this model can also be applied to other forms of help. So he created the idea of TOMS Eyewear, in which for every purchased glasses, TOMS helps someone in need to recover eyesight. TOMS Eyewear helps in therapy, surgery and purchasing glasses for the poorest and most needy people in 13 countries. But this project means also help to create sustainable eye care programs, new jobs (often for young women) and to assist in basic trainings, concerning eye care.

More than 780 million people worldwide have no access to safe water. So next, a natural step in the development of this unusual form of help was TOMS Roasting Co. The company was founded in 2014 and till now it has guaranteed more than 67,000 weeks of access to safe water in 6 countries. With every purchase of TOMS coffee, people from regions where they have difficulties with the access to clean water receive 140 litres of it. The recommended minimum amount of clean water that enables a healthy life is 20 litres per day. TOMS Roasting Co. supports building sustainable water systems. Thereby it helps to ensure access to clean water to whole communities, which leads to improved health, greater economic productivity, jobs creation and an improved access to education.

Year 2015 brings another project - TOMS Bag Collection with safe births program. The program was launched as a pilot program in 4 countries with the help of 3 partners, in order to meet the need for progress in the field of mothers and childs health. Each purchase of Toms bag provides a training of a skilled midwife and distribution of equipment sets, which can support a safe childbirth. TOMS Shoes within 9 years has provided the needy with more than 45 million pairs of shoes. Since 2011, TOMS Eyewear has restored the sight of more than 325 000 patients. The company has made available more than 67,000 weeks of access to safe water since 2014. In 2015, TOMS created a Bag collection, the proceeds of its sale were meant to enable trainings for skilled birth attendants and obstetric equipment distribution.
TOMS, in this extremely simple way, has connected western consumerism and capitalism with the need to help. Its clients are offered good quality shoes for men, women and children, manufactured in different styles. In the offer of this brand, you will find daily shoes - classic espadrilles in many designs and colours, but also sandals, flip-flops, platform shoes, boots and sneakers.

TOMS sunglasses are inspired by the cult and classic models of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Coffee, roasted in the United States, comes from different regions of the world. The collection of bags is, however, inspired by traveling to places where TOMS helps the people in need. There, you can find local inspirations and regional fabrics. They are functional, original and timeless, because TOMS, in order to provide people a solid, long-term assistance, is not based on the fashion trends.