TOMS Shoes, started not by a Tom, but by Blake Mycoskie, is a shoe company that manufactures lightweight, slip on, colorful and fun looking shoes that can be bought online. TOMS uses the “one-for-one” business philanthropy method, where for every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS will deliver a pair of shoes to a child in need. In 2008 they distributed 150,000 shoes to children in Argentina, Ethiopia and South Africa using a team of volunteers made up of shoe customers who signed up to help.
They also have taken their shoes on a road trip, described on their blog, to college campus fashion events and to recruit campuses to participate in the “One Day Without Shoes Event”. Students at USC and Southeastern University in FLA have signed up to leave their shoes home for the day. http://www.tomsshoesblog.com/
The “One Day Without Shoes” event is scheduled for April 16th, (not exactly the most hardship of days to go without wearing shoes in Southern CA or Florida), but nevertheless a clever way to promote the cause.
Mycoskie describes himself as a social entrepreneur who believes a business can do well by doing good. TOMS is definitely a for profit business that can continue to do philanthropy because of its profitability. The marketing comes from the customers promoting the business and the cause.