It is easy to walk down the sidewalk sporting your new TOMs with the recognized blue and white stripped flag stitched on the back of each heel, and yet have no real knowledge of the company or the founder. I find it sad that people will sport a brand and organization that is doing good in the world, but if approached about what the company is all about would not be able to say anything.
The founder of TOMs is Blake Mycoskie. He came up with the idea of TOMs after forcing himself to take a vacation and a break from work. However, going to Argentina was not just a random idea Blake had. He competed on the Amazing Race before and one of the countries he raced through was Argentina, he told himself he had to go back someday when the race was over.
When he went back he saw the need for shoes in Argentina to help prevent injuries and diseases. He decided to locate a shoemaker in Argentina, work with him and then bring the designs back home.
Then it took off. Soon he was posting adds for interns on Craigslist and working out of his small apartment in Venice, Calif..
The company took off once big name magazines such as Vogue and newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times began writing features on TOMs and soon Nordstrom picked up the trendy shoe, and to this day is their biggest buyer.
Did you know any of that? When walking around sporting the TOMs logo you are sporting so much more then the catch phrase ‘one for one.’ There is much more to your one pair of shoes than just the face value and the fact that you helped send a pair of shoes to a child in need.
You are walking around supporting one man’s dream to help a country he saw in need first hand. You are showing your peers that you support Blake and back him up as he has sacrificed everything and took a leap of faith to make his company work.
It is one thing to wear and support an organization and it is a whole different thing to support them and actually know what they are about, where they came from and what they have done to get where they are today.
Don’t just support TOMs or any organization for their face value; dig deep, educate yourself on the cause and their mission and be one of the few who are able to say, “Do you know how TOMs started? No, well let me tell you how, because it is an inspirational story.”
Williamson is a freshman majoring in journalism and mass communication. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.