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Brief Published: 30 Aug 2013

Toms Brings Pro-Social Retail Home


Enforcing its brand positioning as a socially focused company, American shoe and eyewear brand Toms is bringing its ‘one-for-one’ scheme – whereby it donates a pair of shoes to the needy for every sale made – to the US.

Since launching in 2006, Toms has given away more than 10 million pairs of shoes in 60 countries, but never on home turf. Now its focus is shifting back to the US as the brand plans to distribute at least one million pairs of shoes to children across 35 states by 2014.

According to Toms, many children in the US do not have access to the resources they need to stay healthy and in school. By distributing shoes via Giving Partners (non-governmental organisations), the brand believes that young people will be better equipped for education and physical activities, both improving their self-esteem and aiding the fight against child obesity.

Alongside the shoe-giving programme, Toms is also introducing the Glasses for Sight initiative to three US states. Every time a consumer buys Toms eyewear, the brand will provide its Giving Partners with the funding to restore or save someone’s sight.

The expansions follow a growing trend towards domestically focused philanthropy in the US. Earlier in 2013, general retailer Walmart committed to hiring 10,000 honourably discharged military veterans, while in August 2013, watch and bicycle manufacturer Shinola created a flagship anchored in championing American-made goods.

Stylus further explores the rise of the ethical consumer and social activism in Outrospective Thinking, part of our Redefine industry trend, and the Wired Conference 2012. Also see Walmart Supports Female Entrepreneurs.