For every pair of shoes sold, the TOMS shoe company gives one more pair to children from poor families
American entrepreneur Blake Maikoski, while being on vacation in Argentina, faced with the fact that many children from poor families walked the streets without shoes. This fact gave him an idea for a new project: instead of creating another charitable foundation, he organized a shoe manufacturing enterprise Toms Shoes, choosing traditional Latin American braided alpargata sandals as the basis for the design of shoes.
Since the start of production in 2006, Toms has followed a strict rule: for every pair of shoes sold, the company gives another pair to poor children around the world. As of 2012, over a million children from 25 countries has received Toms shoes.
In one of his interviews, Blake Maikoski shared with journalists the main component of his company’s success:
“I think our work embodies many biblical principles. But one of the principles, to which I always return, is taken from the book of Proverbs, where it is said: “Honor the Lord from the firstfruits of all your profits, and let your granaries be filled to an abundance.” You know, if you think about it, then we did not start the shoe business in order to make a lot of money and then give out shoes. From day one, we started this business to give out shoes. And for the first few years, the business did not bring any profit at all: we lost money, but we still handed out shoes.
Because we did this and stayed true to the “pair for a pair” model, we received incredible blessings, not only from our clients, but also from strategic partners, people who responded to us because we were faithful to what we were going to make.
And we really gave away our “first fruits”. This principle has become such a big part of Toms and my own life that it can be applied to many things. “