Short for “Shoes for a Better Tomorrow”, the TOMS brand of footwear was founded by American traveler and entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie in 2006 following a trip to Argentina. Wanting to help the barefoot children he had met in an Argentinian village, Mycoskie established TOMS Shoes with the mission of donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that the company sold.
Why didn’t Mycoskie start a charity, then? Because his goal was to provide shoes continuously on a regular basis and not just make a one-off contribution, Mycoskie realized that it would be difficult to get people to keep donating money year after year if he established a shoe charity. Thus, he created a business with a more sustainable model instead.
Under its One for One program, TOMS has partnered with humanitarian organizations around the world to find disadvantaged communities and distribute footwear that are made to order. Today, TOMS has given away over a million pairs of new shoes in 23 countries including Argentina, El Salvador, China, Peru, Cambodia, and Ethiopia.