TOMS is much more than the cool coffee shop on Abbot Kinney. This for-profit company revolutionized the way in which companies interact with non-profits. TOMS originated as a shoe company that gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold. Overtime, TOMS has launched an array of products that are all tied to an environmental or social cause. It’s latest debut was the TOMS band for the apple watch with the tagline “Give Time.” The cause that the bands benefits involves building and helping to research solar light. Our session was lead by Patrick and Shira, both LMU alumni. Their passion to do good inspired our projects.
Our session began with the history of TOMS and and overview of their products. What I loved about this was the tour of the office. They have a slide and a full coffee and tea bar. With an agency office vibe, TOMS felt like a place where good things happen. After we all took a turn on the office slide (no joke), we headed into the session caffeinated and ready to learn. Something that I found shocking was the statistic that Patrick and Shira presented regarding the fact that only 51% of TOMS shoe buyers know about the One for One giving program. This is, in my opinion, the one thing that sets TOMS apart from all other competitors. We were tasked to help them raise more awareness to consumers the social causes behind all TOMS products. I found this hard to do because I feel that TOMS does this well and has brand messaging on essentially everything.
What I loved about this visit was the enthusiasm that Patrick and Shira brought to the discussion. Working for an innovative company that also does good, must feel good. TOMS is partnered with over 100 non-profit organizations and provides either financial support or physical goods. Not only do they make cool shoes but they also help those in need. Patrick’s story about how the shoes empower young children to continue their education was enough for me to consider buying a pair. TOMS has acted as a successful model for other companies to follow suit, proving that making a profit and doing good can be done at the same time.