When Laura was teaching children and volunteering in the construction projects in the Situmi Village on the border of Uganda and Kenya, she came across an interesting scenario. Four previously shoeless Ugandan children each received a pair of TOMS shoes, along with a “TOMS” piece of fabric that resembled a flag. The four children hung the fabric on a stick and ran through the village for days waving it joyously. Today, the flag is still a toy in the Situmi Village (“Waving the TOMS Flag in Uganda”). Some may ask why these children are getting shoes; this happiness is all thanks to a man named Blake Mycoskie. He has created a surprisingly successful business, in which for every pair of shoes bought, a pair is given to a barefooted child. This respectable business may be a representation of the evolution of business in the future.
After a visit to Argentina in January 2006, Blake Mycoskie got the idea to create a shoe company. He saw many children without shoes and decided he wanted to do something to solve the bare foot problem (“A Shoe That Fits So Many Souls”). This was an average guy with a mission. When he returned to Santa Monica in 2006, the CEO reasoned it was time to start solving the problems he found in Argentina (DeBernardi). His business partner and previous polo instructor, Alejo Nitti, is now the head of production.
Originally these men took over 200 samples of Argentinean shoes to the doors of U.S. citizens to see which type of shoe was most popular (Sharkton). The glass slipper is called an apargata, which is worn by farmers. Mycoskie transformed the plain, canvas shoe by adding a soft leather insole and sturdy rubber sole (Irwin & Fifield). The two planned to have a very small business and sell the shoes out of Mycoskie’s loft. However, demand for the footwear started a race to become the best (DeBernardi). Mycoskie and Nitti wanted to show how together a better tomorrow can be created by taking compassionate action today (Obrien). Blake Mycoskie was no different from any other kid growing up in Texas, but after seeing children who have so little, he moved on to a sailboat in Los Angeles, California (Irwin; Sieberg). Before TOMS shoes, Mycoskie tried to start five different businesses unsuccessfully, including a college laundry service. With each new business attempt, he learned what would and wouldn’t work. Finally, at the age of 30, Tomorrow’s Shoes jumped into existence. Mycoskie had no experience in shoes before this company (Fifield).
The better tomorrow began with little steps. The goal of the name was to figure out a purposeful title that delivered the message of the company; TOMS is short for Tomorrow’s Shoes. The recipients of the shoes donations have span from New Orleans all the way to South Africa (Sienberg). Mycoskie released his first collection of shoes in July 2006 with 15 different styles, including shoes for children and adults, men and women (“A Shoe That Fits So Many Souls”). TOMS Shoes were...