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TOMS shoes model: buy one, give one to someone in need

TOMS shoes matches each pair of their shoes purchased in a retail store with a pair given to a child in need.

Photo of Nathalie Collins
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More information about the movement behind the TOMS shoes brand:

In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers.

The TOMS shoes model inspires an interesting form of social business where each purchaser at a developed world retailer becomes a stakeholder in goods provided to the poor.  Perhaps there is a way to modify this model to steer it away from handouts and towards profit-sharing across economic classes.  How could a solution in Caldas be coupled with a business in a more economically affluent area in order to deliver benefits to both communities?

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Interesting to see TOMS shoes coming up as an Inspiration again – see here too: Also worth giving some thought to other side of such initiatives: discusses whether giving shoes away limits local entrepreneurial activity around footwear. Some strong provocations there which may nudge us to also consider local social business solutions?