TOMS: Company Overview

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Company Overview: TOMS (Part 1)

TOMS was founded in 2006 in Los Angeles, California by Blake Mycoskie. The company aims at helping people in need by donating them shoes, medical treatments, and other helpful accessories. An overview of the company's history, core business, and business strategy is given below.

Company History

  • In 2006, Blake Mycoskie (founder of TOMS) witnessed the difficulties faced by poor children as they grow without shoes.
  • As a result, Blake founded TOMS, a shoe company that would offer a pair of shoes to poor children on every purchase. Later on, this simple idea evolved into a powerful business model aimed at helping people in need.
  • Since 2006, the company has donated almost 60 million shoes to children in need.
  • The journey of helping the needy got another support from the creation of TOMS Eyewear in 2011 which has helped restore eyesight to more than 400,000 people. The company decided to create other divisions, namely TOMS Roasting and TOMS Bag Collection that were aimed to provide safe water and birth kits to the people in need.

Core Business

  • TOMS designs and produces shoes, bags, and eyewear for men, women, and kids. It also provides gift cards and coffee.
  • For every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS provides a new pair of shoes to children in need. The company also provides eyesight treatment and prescription glasses with each purchase of their eyewear.
  • Additionally, with each purchase of their coffee products, TOMS provides 140 liters of water to a person in need with the help of their Giving Partners.
  • TOMS division TOMS Bag Collection with each purchase of a bag provides birth kits that help women safely deliver her baby.

Business Strategy

  • TOMS business strategy is based around one-for-one which means for each product sold, it donates another product or accessory to people in need.
  • The one-for-one model allows the company to make benefit from social campaigns and consumer's word of mouth thus devoting minimum efforts in sales and marketing.
  • The one-for-one business strategy has proved quite effective since the cost of the donations turns out to be almost negligible as compared to the gains in sales.
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Company Overview: TOMS (Part 2)

TOMS is a company with a strong corporate responsibility focus, and the company's mission, vision, and purpose are instated in the desire to provide a pair of TOMS shoes for every pair purchased by customers.


  • TOMS' vision statement is to take "the responsibility of providing for the comfort of children in impoverished regions worldwide."


  • TOMS' mission is as follows: "For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased online or at retail, the company will provide a pair to a child in need. One for One."


  • The company's purpose is to sell shoes in order to improve lives and improve communities across the globe. TOMS' focus is on positively impacting the lives of children who are vulnerable and disadvantaged children by acknowledging the importance of footwear when it comes to improving the life of children in need.
  • By donating shoes, the company's purpose is enacted in the way TOMS contributes to growing the community. Its purpose is shown in the act of care of giving disadvantaged children an opportunity to succeed in life, and this is seen in many initiatives TOMS runs.

Company Details

  • TOMS is a for-profit company with headquarters in Playa Del Rey, California. It was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie.
  • The company declined to reveal its 2018 revenues. However, a financial controller Moody's stated in its report that the net sales for the one-year period ended Sept. 30 2019 were approximately $336 million.
  • TOMS is headquarted in Playa Del Rey, California.
  • TOMS operates in United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Austria, Germany, France, and The Netherlands.

Product offering

  • TOMS offers products for men, women, and kids. For each of these verticals, the product offering is divided into accessories, footwear, and sunglasses.
  • For each vertical, the following lines are offered — classic Alpargatas, sneakers, slip-ons, slippers, flats, boots and booties, and apparel & accessories.
  • Pricing for products across all ranges goes from $49.95 to $149.95.


  • TOMS' top competitors include Nine West and Cole Haan.
  • Nine West generated a revenue of $1.6 billion in 2019, with the company filing for bankruptcy in the same year. The company manufactures shoes and bags, and operates four brands — Nine West, Bandolino, Anne Klein, and Jeanswear.
  • Cole Haan's revenue in 2019 was $687 million. The company sells shoes and clothing, with its recent focus being on athleisure.

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Philanthropy/Social Impact Model: TOMS

The philanthropy/social impact model of TOMS involves investing in local partners globally and giving a third of their profits. A detailed overview of their model has been provided below.

TOMS Philanthropy/Social Impact Model

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Philanthropy/Social Impact Initiatives: TOMS

TOMS Giving Shoe initiative has donated 95 million shoes up to date in 82 countries and 38 U.S. states. The Sight Restoration initiative by TOMS has helped over 780,000 people while creating employment opportunities in the communities where the vision centers are set up. The End Gun Violence Together initiative facilitated the sending of 721,082 postcards to the congress urging for universal background checks. A detailed report is presented below.

TOMS Giving Shoes Initiative

  • TOMS started the TOMS Giving Shoes initiative in 2006 with an aim to help "people living in communities that are prone to foot-related infections", diseases, and injuries. Beneficiary communities report that foot infections decrease by over 60% after receiving TOMS Giving Shoes.
  • The initiative helps school going children attend classes in the right dress code while reducing the financial burden on poor families. In addition, it helps restore a sense of self-esteem and well-being among children.
  • TOMS Giving Shoes partners with organizations that offer aid to refugees and it has delivered 3.7 million pairs of shoes to refugees in 17 countries including Uganda, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories.
  • To date, the initiative has donated 95 million pairs of shoes in 82 countries and 38 U.S. states. Countries that have received most shoes from this initiative include India, Ethiopia, and Kenya. The project is carried out through 167 shoe giving partners.

Sight Restoration Initiative

  • Over 253 million people are visually impaired globally but only 20% suffer from permanent impairment. TOMS partners with organizations that identify under served communities where they can deliver low-cost treatments via centers that TOMS invests in. The services available through this initiative include prescription eye glasses, eye exams, and emergency eye care.
  • Besides providing eye care services, the vision centers provide stable employment that boost the economy of the communities in question. Within three years of opening, most vision centers can become self-reliant.
  • TOMS works with Seva Foundation and BRAC to get a better understanding of the most appropriate location for setting up vision centers. The centers are built to address at least 80% of eye care needs in the target community.
  • Besides providing eye screening and treatment, the staff at the vision centers carry out programs to increase community awareness and education about eye health. This is accomplished through school screenings, literature distribution, local talks, and other forms of outreach.
  • Through this initiative, TOMS has achieved 780,000 sight restorations in 14 countries.

Safe Drinking Water Initiative

  • This initiative started in 2014 with the launch of TOMS Roasting Co. when TOMS realized that majority of the communities that provided them with coffee beans lacked clean drinking water. In partnership with partners working in the communities, TOMS provides long-term clean drinking water that is community-owned.
  • TOMS funds the water initiative through organizations like Water for People and WaterAid America since they have a better understanding of the local communities and priority areas based on need assessment. Besides, they help equip the communities with better sanitation and hygiene.
  • With the help of this initiative communities have received over 100 million liters of water. The initiative has been carried out in North America, South America, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia.

End Gun Violence Together Initiative

  • In 2018, TOMS launched the "End Gun Violence Together (EGVT) initiative". TOMS announced a donation of $5 million towards the campaign against gun violence, interventions, and survivor support.
  • TOMS created an online tool on its website where users could enter their details and a physical postcard was sent to their representative asking them to support the background checks for gun control. Within 12 hours of launching this initiative, at least 58,000 Americans had sent postcards to their representatives through the system developed by TOMS.
  • At least 90% of American support background checks as a measure to curb gun violence, trafficking, and suicide.
  • TOMS organized a nationwide EGVT tour that attracted over 90,000 people. By the end of the campaign, a total of 721,082 postcards had been sent to the congress urging for universal background checks. In February 2019, the bill was passed in the congress.

Safe Births Initiative

  • When there's ample access to appropriate resources and training, birth-related infections among mothers can be reduced by 80%. Similarly, at least 50% of newborn deaths can be avoided.
  • Between 2015 and 2018, every purchase of TOMS handbags helped in funding safer birth kits and facilitating training of birth attendants.
  • This initiative has delivered over 345,000 birth kits and birth attendant training in countries Ethiopia, India, Haiti, Bangladesh.

Tomorrows Project Initiative

  • Tomorrows Project is an initiative that acts as an enabling platform for employees of TOMS to be advocates for causes that are dear to them. On a monthly basis, employees are asked to submit an idea that will have a positive social impact. Voting is then conducted and the winning idea/project receives $10,000.
  • From 2016 to 2018, there were a total of 36 projects voted by the employees with a total of $360,000 distributed among the projects. Among the top projects include youth enrichment, education, and refugee assistance.
  • In 2019, this initiative offered $10,000 to RAICES, an organization that provides support and assistance to refugees. TOMS funding will assist in covering the costs associated with health screening, education, assessment, and counseling for the migrants in San Antonio.

Research Strategy

In order to identify philanthropy/social impact initiatives of TOMS, we consulted the web for publications, interviews, press releases, reports, and articles documenting TOMS activities surrounding philanthropy. We have provided the most relevant initiatives based on documentation on reports, interviews, press releases and news articles.