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TOM’S Shoes Making A Tough World Better


UnknownThis holiday season is, for many of us, a little less merry. The economy keeps many in difficult circumstances and the unfathomable horror of Newtown school shootings has laid a cloud of sadness over the entire nation.

Even so encouragement and goodness can be found. Sometimes one just has to look hard enough. Or take the initiative and do something good on your own.

TOM’S Shoes is doing the later. Inspired by founder Blake Mycoskie’s dream, TOMS Shoes is making the world a better place. His personal philosophy of “One for One” has led to the company’s current operating policy. For every pair of TOMS Shoes sold, the company gives a new pair of TOMS shoes to a child in need—bringing the “One for One” philosophy to life. Mycoskie is considered the “Chief Shoe Giver” at the company. The name TOMS Shoes essentially stands for “Shoes for Tomorrow.” This revolutionary company truly embraces its powerful mission.

In 2011 TOM’S added eyewear to its offering and is using the same “One for One” philosophy of donating eyewear to children around the globe in need of corrective eyewear.

Both are noble causes. I applaud the concept.

Now Mycoskie is taking another bold step in philanthropy. The TOM’S founder has donated 100% of the proceeds from his bestselling book “Start Something That Matters.” Mycoskie has established the Start Something That Matters Foundation with the book’s proceeds, approximately $300,000, to benefit social entrepreneurs and students around the world. The first three recipient organizations of the new fund are the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, Echoing Green and

TOM’S is not without its detractors. There are those who argue the company makes people in poor nations “dependent upon the good will of others” rather than creating opportunities for them to better themselves. Critics also argue that TOMS business model, particularly its “A Day Without Shoes” event, reinforces the pre-existing stereotypes of the poor and incapable developing countries.

To the critics I say this – if you don’t like it do something different or better. Mycoskie did.

He says “I started Toms with no shoe or fashion experience, no retail experience and basically five thousand dollars,” said Mycoskie. “I’ve created this foundation to help those who have amazing ideas that will ultimately make a positive impact on the world.”

You don’t need to be rich, experienced or well-connected. But you do need a vision and drive.

The stories of TOM’S Shoes are a welcomed relief from this not-so-merry Christmas.

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