Dec 30, 2010

Fashion Will Save the World: TOMS SHOES

I was in Argentina on vacation in January 2006, and I notice that a lot of local farmers and polo players were wearing these slip-ons called alpargatas. I bought a pair and really enjoyed wearing them. 

Around the same time, I met some people doing volunteer work in the area, and they told me about a shoe drive they were running for the local kids who couldn't afford shoes. I went with them and heard stories I'll never forget - one was about two brothers and a sister, and they had only one pair of shoes, so the kids would alternate every third day to go to school.

I thought, this is crazy! As an entrepreneur, when you see something that seems broken, your brain immediately goes to "How can we fix this?" I didn't feel like straight charity was the most sustainable way to do it, because then I would have to ask my friends and family for money year after year. And what happens when they get bored of my charity? 

What if I had a for-profit business whose charter stated that for every pair of shoes the company sold, it would give one pair to a child in need? The name TOMS comes from tomorrow - the idea that you buy one today, we give to a child tomorrow.

The article above was taken from an interview in the Teen Vogue Handbook. I love how Blake Mycoskie created this worldwide shoe trend with helping others at its core.

I marvel at what Mike Magallanes says in his blog that "fashion will save the world." Very strong statement. In these efforts to make the lives of others better, maybe that vision will slowly materialize.

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