Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Putting Someone Else In TOMS Shoes

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

I believe that you can do good by doing well.”
Blake Mycoskie - Chief Shoe Giver, TOMS Shoes

Chances are you’ve already read or heard about this company. Perhaps it was a story in Time magazine, a feature in People, or one of another dozen or so articles in prominent magazines or newspapers across the country during the past couple years. Or maybe you saw the “More Bars In More Places” AT&T television advertising spot earlier this year. It was kind of a cool spot. But even if you’ve heard about this company, their story is worth telling again. Their approach to business is totally Gonzo Innovation.

A couple years after taking third in the 2002 reality television show The Amazing Race II, entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie returned to one of his favorite destinations from the show – Argentina. While there, visiting a remote village, Blake was struck by the number of barefoot children who were unable to afford the basic footwear worn by most locals. In that moment, seeing that many of these children had infected cuts on their feet and wondering what he might be able to do about it, Blake Mycoskie had an epiphany. In that moment, the underlying “One for One” premise of TOMS Shoes was born. And in May 2006, after developing a more commercially viable version of the alpargatas (simple roped soled shoes) worn throughout Argentina by everyone from farmers to polo players, TOMS Shoes became a reality.

Later that first year, made possible because of caring TOMS customers, Blake with a group of family, friends, and staff, returned to Argentina to distribute its first 10,000 pairs of shoes. As of August 2009, TOMS has given over 150,000 pairs of shoes to children in need throughout the world, with plans to give over 300,000 pairs in 2009.

Wow.

From the company website:
“TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we're all about.”

TOMS (short for Shoes for Tomorrow) is everything Gonzo.

It is infused with passion

It is filled with purpose.

It’s efforts are experiential.

It’s team is committed.

For a consumer, shopping with TOMS equals giving. The company’s “One for One” business model has transformed customers into benefactors. And in doing so, TOMS has created a truly sustainable gonzo business that isn’t dependent on fundraising for support. Pretty amazing.

Perhaps you should consider putting someone else in TOMS shoes this holiday season.
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TOMS shoes are available at department stores and specialty shops throughout the U.S. Find a retailer or purchase online at http://www.tomsshoes.com/.

[This entry was posted simultaneously on gonzoinnovation.com]

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