By Lydia Regan
One of the many fashion trends this year that has been carried over since last year is TOMS. When people talk about TOMS they usually talk about how comfortable they are and what kind you have, but TOMS are not just a shoe, they are a fundraiser. The idea came to TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie while he was visiting children in Argentina. While he was there he noticed that many of the children there were not wearing shoes; these children’s families do not have enough money to afford shoes.
Shoes are very important, not just because they are comfortable. A leading cause of disease in developing countries, and developing parts of countries, is soil transmitted disease. If people in these areas are not wearing shoes they are more likely to get these diseases, because they are walking barefoot in the soil. Shoes are also important because without them children and adults can get sores, and cuts which can become infected without protection for the outside environment. Another reason why shoes are important is education. Many schools require shoes as part of their uniform, and if a child does not have those they cannot go to school. If a child cannot attend school, there is no chance for them to have an education and prosper.
This is when Mycoskie decided to help these children. One for One is a powerful idea, that appeals to consumers. People can feel like they are helping other people, when they buy themselves the newest trend shoe. Whenever one person buys a pair of TOMS in Nordstrom’s or other high-end department stores, a child in a developing country will get a free pair. Mycoski and his company has been able to give 2,000,000 shoes to children in developing countries, and they will only be able to add to that.
How do they do it? TOMS first find a community to give their shoes to. They research the economy of the area, the education, and make sure to not hurt local business. Next they size the children’s feet, and specially make sure to fit them, and not have discomfort. The children revive their shoes as part of a larger health and educational programs; these are run by Giving Partners. TOMS will continually give shoes to the children as they grow up, in order to help them stay healthy and in school. They use the feedback form the communities to work to make better shoes.
Today TOMS gives shoes to over 40 developing countries. They usually give unisex black TOMS but in some cases they change them and give them color in order to go with the cultural norm. In the countries where they are selling the shoes they are making more styles and new shoe types, to get them to be able to sell year round. The company is also looking to expand the concept ONE for One. Recently Mycoskie has noticed that many people in developing counties are struggling from poor eyesight. They are looking to give sunglasses to these people.
TOMS is working very hard to improve the lives of man and this is very important.