By Darlene Pham
When junior Oyke Duroglu bought her shoes, she also gave a pair to a child in need. By just paying for that one pair, a child in need received a pair of shoes. The pair of shoes Duroglu bought was TOMS, a brand that donates a pair of shoes for every one pair it sells.
“I wanted to buy TOMS because I liked the whole style and look of them. Also, I liked how a child got a pair when you bought some,” Duroglu said via e-mail.
TOMS advocates a movement, called One for One which donates shoes to children in need. The One for One club here, founded by senior Victoria “Tori” Weinkauf, supports and promotes this movement.
“TOMS Shoes is a small company based out of Venice, CA. he founder Blake started the company with the goal of finding a way to give shoes to children who cannot afford them,” Weinkauf said via e-mail. “TOMS is different because when you order a pair of shoes, you know that you just helped a child immensely by giving them their first pair of shoes. It is more of a direct affect thtan donating money or other similar things.”
According to www.tomsshoes.com, the official site of TOMS shoes, TOMS was founded by American traveler Blake Mycoskie in 2006. Since the beginning of TOMS, the company has donated over 150,000 pairs of shoes to children in need through the One for One movement.
This movement chose shoes because in developing countries, walking is the main mode of transportation. Without the necessary protection, infection through cuts and sores can be caused by unsafe roads and contaminated soil. By giving shoes, infection can be prevented, as well as the risk of amputation as a result of disease.
Not only do they assist children in need, but TOMS also appeals to people like Duroglu into buying their product. “Giving a pair of shoes when you buy a pair is what kind of made me get a pair,” said Duroglu.
Weinkauf agrees with Duroglu. “It is a bit of a different twist on charity. Instead of just donating money, TOMS appeals to the consumer market. A child gets a pair of shoes when someone orders a pair of shoes. So to give a pair, you get a pair which is an ineresting and intriguing concept to many people,” she said.
TOMS is not the only company that associates with a charity. RED products, or products whose companies have agreed to donate 50 percent of their profits to buy and distribute antiretroviral medicine to AIDS victims in Africa, also uses consumers to help a charity. According to joinred.com, the official site of the RED movement, companies like Dell, American Express, Converse, Apple, Gap, Hallmark, Microsoft, Starbucks and many more have all joined with RED to help fight AIDS, a significant problem in Africa.
According to club sponsor Michelle Satchwell, there is certainly a trend in these companies associating their products with charities. “It’s saying that corporate America is seeing that it has a responsibility to charity works and volunteerism. It allows people who don’t have the extra money to donate to charities to buy what they need, but be able to donate at the same time,” Satchwell said.
Not only does TOMS support the One for One movement, but the company also presents vegan shoes and shoes made of recyclable products. The lightweight shoes are environment friendly as TOMS uses vegetable and non-toxic dyes on its shoes. The shoes are designed after an Argentine shoe, the place where it all started.
This aspect, however, may give concern to some that the shoes are not as good quality wise. Duroglu, however, disagrees. She said she thinks the quality is good, although they can sometimes be flimsy.
While TOMS features these eco-friendly shoes, it’s the One for One movement that really encourages people to buy their products. “I think it’s a good charity. I like the fact that it’s kind of a buy one, get one free deal, but instead of you getting another pair, it goes to a child in need,” Duroglu said.