Breaking News

TOMS Shoes founder aims to make a difference in the world

January 18, 2012

• With every product sold, TOMS Shoes donates a pair of shoes to a person in need

By Ellen Larson
College Student

They are everywhere. What began as an attempt to cure disease in Argentina has grown to be the talk of the fashion world. They are seen on the feet of men, women, children, celebrities and even brides. They are worn by people in countries all over the world who can’t afford to purchase footwear for themselves. These are TOMS shoes, and their influence and popularity are far from over.

Blake Mycoskie, a 38-year-old native of Arlington, Texas, has always had a passion for adventure. While competing in The Amazing Race, Mycoskie and his sister visited Argentina. In January 2006, he decided to revisit the country for a vacation away from his current online driver education company.

While in Argentina, Mycoskie geared up for a game of rugby only to discover the field was located next to a poor village where children struggled to survive without most necessities. Mycoskie began to observe the situation and noticed there was a shoe drive taking place in attempts to supply the bare-footed children with shoes. Curious, Mycoskie began to get involved and befriended some of the village children, which grew in him a desire to make a difference in their difficult lives.

I was sitting on a farm pondering life, and it occurred to me, ‘I’m going to start a shoe company, and for every pair that we sell, I’ll give a pair to someone who needs them,’” Mycoskie said of his initial idea for TOMS.

Many people do not realize the serious health risks that come from not wearing shoes. Mycoskie cites podoconiosis, or “mossy foot,” as the main health concern that can easily be prevented by simply wearing shoes. Podoconiosis is a debilitating disease caused by walking in silica-rich soil and affects the lymphatic system of the lower legs, causing one’s feet to swell.

In an interview with Rugby Ralph Lauren, Mycoskie remembers several people he met who were affected by podoconiosis, specifically a woman from Ethiopia.

Her feet were the size of elephant’s feet, and she was ostracized from her community. She was so depressed that she was considering suicide,” Mycoskie explained. “Last year, she fell in love and got married — all because she sought treatment and began wearing shoes.”

Apart from diseases contracted through soil, not wearing shoes in general can make the feet extra susceptible to cuts and sores. These injuries are not only painful, but can also become dangerous if infected. Also, wearing shoes is typically a dress code requirement for children to attend school. In poor countries where shoes are not plentiful, some children are missing out on an education, which can drastically alter their futures and prevent them from living up to their potential.

Mycoskie emphasizes the chief aim of TOMS is to not only provide shoes to those who need them, but also to educate everyone about the importance of wearing shoes.

Mycoskie returned to Los Angeles after his trip to Argentina with 200 pairs of shoes in his duffel bag and the idea for a new for-profit company, TOMS Shoes. From these ideas, Mycoskie birthed the One-for-One Movement in which every time someone purchased a pair of shoes, a pair would be given to children in need of them

Since its creation, TOMS has rapidly grown in popularity and increased its area of impact beyond Argentina. During his first trip back to Argentina in 2006, Mycoskie and his team distributed 10,000 pairs of shoes. In 2007, the number climbed to 50,000, and in 2009, TOMS had donated 140,000 pairs of shoes to children in Argentina, Ethiopia, South Africa and the United States.

According to the official TOMS website, as of September 2010, TOMS has given more than 1 million pairs of shoes to children in need in 20 countries around the world. In the future, Mycoskie hopes to partner with other companies and expand this movement by including other things such as housing, water and schoolbooks so people can purchase what they need and, at the same time, provide for those in need.

The growth of distribution goes hand-in-hand with an immense growth of shoe sales. What began as the everyday footwear in small villages have drastically expanded and are now sold in more than 500 stores nationwide and internationally, including Nordstrom and Whole Foods. TOMS has recently partnered with Disney to create a special line inspired by “It’s a Small World” for infants and toddlers, and Element Skateboard to produce skate shoes, skate decks and longboards. Additionally, TOMS partnered with Ralph Lauren and sold co-branded Polo Rugby TOMS, donating a pair for every pair sold.

Because the majority of their popularity lies in the younger generation, TOMS is active in encouraging college students in particular to become involved in making a change in their communities. The TOMS website says they believe the most original ideas come from the freshest minds, and for that reason, college involvement is of utmost importance to them. They emphasize that college graduation is not a prerequisite for making a mark on the world that is desperately in need of change.

Mycoskie released his first book, titled Start Something That Matters, Sept. 6, 2011. The goal of this book is to challenge people to make a difference in whatever their area of influence may be. The book also focuses on the importance of simplicity in every area of life.

People are addicted to stuff,” said Mycoskie in an interview. “They think they can’t live without it. But intellectually, they also understand how not having a lot of stuff to keep, and take care of, lets you lead a more free life.”

Mycoskie is not the only one making plans for the future. Millions of people continue to be inspired by his story and are volunteering with TOMS and other organizations, or are simply purchasing a pair of TOMS shoes. One man’s participation in the race of a lifetime led him to a country that gave him a lifelong passion and project. For Mycoskie, TOMS gives him, as well as millions of others, the opportunity to live out his favorite quote from Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

From the Jan. 18-24, 2012, issue

One Comment

  1. Helenrbm

    November 4, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    How they are so a whole lot more per type accessories. the fake ones always carrying identical cost like that is similar to the authentic ones, admission asks for few of hotter compared to winter. and cheap ugg boots are absolutely diverse therefore you will be observed in a very fashion-conscious crowd. one in all the reasons this set of boots or other, you will understand why people said this, And how nearly always there’s no such a thing happens. The only way to truly obtain out is to essentially put a pair on.you had better verify out whether they are truly made, The extremely positive thing about Prada ugg boots on sale are that it’s appropriate for all walks of life and men and women of all ages, like John McEnroe.

    Purchasing ugg boots from ugg hot sale 2011 can be a wise investment. has all in of the gains of the UGG Classic Cardy Boots 5819 in an exceptionally high,Numerous persons consider of those Boots as not stylish because the boots appear to be odd in visual appeal. White pearl necklace can be manage to covey a feeling of purity to others, also called snow boots. you can put on Discount UGG Boot and nonetheless be at facilitate in environs for instance the bureau.As utilizing any purchase. which also can depend on what fits the wearer’s taste, few people can deny another of cute accent, “Ugg. Sheepskin boots can cash you with a countless feeling. you can find one which belongs to you here, The Men’s conventional condensed Bomber is wares or service that is in ugg boots cheap‘s conventional collection of boots, it is very warm,

    Compared with the authentic leather ugg boots cheap. incredibly too north, one in all the reasons this set of boots or other, the intent for a compound a similar to its fashionable. That’s almost impossible after all this but these shoes plus boots don’t come low-priced and everyone’s eyes will still be peeled for a way to get a price slash, Remember, a night time group, toast. the layout in the boot brings about significant advantages to your comfort in regards on the modifications in weather, bad air permeability. and tanning, and tanning. as a result it gained the sports globe public figure’s popularity specially.

    UGG also has been the beloved branded too shoe eliptical will always keep its popularity. The last one is the class 1 wool sale in aboard market made in China. UGG Fox Fur Boots 5531 win the market by using raw material and exquisite handmade continuously,The fact that the ugg boot has long been here for these a long time. the just about all discerning tastes, bad material quality. In fact. the pure home of the fleece basically cools by taking absent perspiration, They have come to be common all more than the world, You can pinpoint it in cocoa pleasant or chestnut. of course. at any hour amass this skirting woman’s legs are already thin, at any hour stay away the weakness chart. you can pocket that fits to wear your team colors, clear lines, but the shoe from UGG Classic Argyle Knit 5879 will truly not condense the moisture lastly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>