A few days back, I was sitting in my chaise lounge, enjoying my slumber. Suddenly an AT&T ad caught my attention. Now I hardly like American ad sense, but this one was really good. I saw a young man rushing through a crowd of young kids, giving them shoes and telling us about how AT&T has helped him. At first I thought it to be a gimmick. But then realized that it actually was Blake Mycoskie, the man founder of Toms(shoes for tomorrow).
In a chance visit to Argentina, where he wanted to rest and with his dear game of Golf. It was here that he met children who would walk nearly two miles in search of fresh water-- bare foot, often causing illness and grotesque infections with risk of amputation. Besides the health implications, he learned that some of these kids were not allowed to go to school without shoes.
Wanting to help but concerned about the sustainability of starting a charity, he decided instead to start a for-profit shoe company that would match every pair of shoes sold with a pair given to a child in need. His new ambition was met. He wanted to create for the US market on the traditional Argentine alpargataa slip-on—in lightweight fabrics and vibrant colors and prints.All this without any experience of shoemaking or design.
Blake initially planned to give away 200 pair of shoes from his loft in Venice, CA to children in Argentina. As word spread around, LA boutiques such as Fred Segal and American Rag, started to stock up his shoes. Available at such retailers as Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom's, Toms sold 10,000 pairs during its first year(2006) in business and donated the same number.
His inaugural shoes drop was about three years back and since then he has given away 140,000 pair of shoes in Argentina, Ethiopia and parts of southern US. In 2009 alone he plans to give additional 300,000 shoes.
A Toms shoe costs $44 and $98. They have introduced a new line of shoes made from 70% recycled plastic bottles and 30% hemp, so the fabric is more sustainable than even an organic cotton.
Most of those who are part of this initiative are young college or high school students, who help with designing till shoes dropping and even popularizing this effort.
Tom's is clearly not selling just shoes here, it is the fact of keeping people ahead of him. So if you really want to make a difference in someone's life, order one online today.
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