It’s very simple.
You purchase a pair of shoes for yourself and a pair of shoes goes to a child in need. A pair of tortoise shell sunglasses could provide sight-saving surgery for the visually impaired. You purchase a product that you want, and by doing so you may give something so needed that it changes the life of its recipient forever.
Buy one. Give one. That’s the TOMS mission.
Blake Mycoskie and his socially good company TOMS are no strangers to giving. Founded in 2006, TOMS has been devoted to helping the global community by providing much desired footwear to children in need. Aware that many children in developing countries lack the proper footwear for healthy living, the company personally delivers a pair of shoes to a less fortunate child for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased. One for One.
Consumers, especially young, socially conscious consumers, are drawn to the idea that TOMS is providing a quality product as well as a service that helps those in need. The One for One movement allows customers to feel that they themselves are making a difference. Rather than donating a percentage of sales, like many “socially responsible” brands, TOMS goes the extra mile. Putting a foot ahead of the others (see what I did there), TOMS is giving the very same thing that you are buying.
For every purchase you make, you are providing a brand new pair of shoes to a child in Guatemala, or outfitting an orphanage in Haiti. The giving aspect of TOMS has become such an essential part of their brand that the company often holds a contest for their supporters to take part in Giving Trips.
When it comes to branding the One for One movement, TOMS marketing clearly targets forward thinking customers. Specialty fashion shows, clubs on university campuses, social media campaigns and global events like One Day Without Shoes (a day set aside where TOMS supporters go shoeless in an attempt to better connect with, and bring light to the problem they’re addressing) attract a kind of young audience that fuels corporate and social responsibility and lives to make a change. To meet the needs of their consumers, TOMS products have even been created to fit different environmental ideals and adhere to vegan restrictions. This, however, never outshines the brand’s true mission: One for One.
The brand’s strong marketing of One for One has gained the attention of millions of devoted followers. Since 2006, TOMS has sold over 35 million pairs of shoes and, as promised, delivered 35 million pairs to 70 countries across the globe.
The impressive sales figures show that the success of TOMS has increased exponentially as more and more socially responsible consumers join the One for One movement. To shed some light, the company sold over 1 million shoes in 2012, 140,000 shoes sold in 2009 and just 50,000 in 2007. Fashionable products and a knack for helping out are earning TOMS the corporate image gold medal that it deserves. Who doesn’t want to support an awesome brand and make a difference too?
Having gone strong for nearly nine years, TOMS is showing no signs of slowing down their efforts to leave the world a better place than before. Joining the success of TOMS shoes, the brand has introduced a line of summer eyewear, coffee, bags, etc. In typical TOMS fashion, each purchase of these products improves the lives of people in need.
The success of TOMS has also opened the door for an array of other One for One oriented businesses. Companies along the lines of FIGS, a recent startup that prides itself on providing clean scrubs to international medical providers for every set of FIGS scrubs purchased; and KUTOA Health Bars, a brand of granola bars giving vital nutrition packs to children in third world countries. TOMS has painstakingly carved a market niche for these, and future, givers to enjoy.