Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TOMS Shoes: An Innovative Social Enterprise

Have you heard of creative capitalism? Can companies make money yet make a difference to the world? Good work has always been associated with non-profit organizations but TOMS Shoes has been following the concept of creative capitalism since it started in 2006. Blake Mycoskie started the company with a One for One movement on a simple premise. If you purchase one pair of TOMS shoes, the company will give a pair of new shoes to a needy child. During the first year in business, the company sold 10,000 pairs. With the support of its customers, TOMS Shoes plans to give more than 300,000 new shoes to kids all around the world in 2009.

TOMS Shoe Drop initiative is more than just giving away shoes to needy kids. The volunteers prefer hand placing them on children’s feet. Blake’s visit to Argentina was the inspiration behind this initiative. He was moved to see poor kids moving around without any shoes. After starting this company in May 2006 he returned to Argentina in October with 10,000 pairs of matched shoes to distribute among poor kids.

I have participated in several shoe drop initiatives by TOMS and the experience has been overwhelming. A simple One for One concept has made a huge difference to the lives of children and brought a smile on their faces. Social enterprises like these will be more encouraged when consumers extend their support and help such companies do good work.

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