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Ashley O. Senior Project Research Paper


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Ashley O. Senior Project Research Paper

  1. 1. Olson 1Ashley OlsonMs. TilleryAP Lit18 November 2011 TOMS Shoes The number one can have many meanings. One can signify unity. One can signifyprimacy. One can signify independence. One can symbolize eternal peace, the universe, evenGod. The number one is pretty momentous. Blake Mycoskie knew the importance of the numberone. Mycoskie formulated the One for One movement. Simply put, for every pair of shoes BlakeMycoskie sold, he vowed to give a pair to a child in need. This idea is the TOMS movement. Thenumber one in this case means saving the lives of children all over the world, one pair of shoes ata time. First, the children living in a world where diseases run rampant and school is only forchildren who own shoes are not living their lives. Those children are surviving their lives. “Over300 million children worldwide are without shoes” (“Just the Facts”). In American society, themajority of people do not like to consider hard facts. Americans tend to live with an out of sight,out of mind attitude, while seven-year-olds in Argentina and Ethiopia are forced to go to workbecause they are not allowed in school without shoes. Hookworm, parasitic viruses, and evensome cancers can be prevented by wearing shoes (“shoes4schools”). Children are constantlyattacked by parasitic organisms which cause vomiting, fever, rashes, blood loss, lasting effects tovital organs and even death. While children in the United States whine about their shoes,children in Africa beg for shoes. What is a nuisance in one country is a blessing in another.
  2. 2. Olson 2Although few realize the state of the world outside of their golf clubs and nail salons, one mandid; one man made a huge difference. That man is Blake Mycoskie. Blake Mycoskie and his sister were on a reality televisionshow that first led him to Argentina, the birthplace of TOMS (Moxley). After the show ended--Mycoskie and his sister in third place—Blake was led back to Argentina in 2006 where he hadthe epiphany to start TOMS Shoes (Shambora). While in Argentina, Mycoskie made friends withvillagers, many of them children without shoes. He was disturbed by the cuts and scrapes thesechildren endured on their everyday walks to school or to get water for their family. Mycoskieknew by his sense of unease that he needed to find a way to help the children in the village hevisited. His original plan was to sell 200 shoes, enough to help every child in the village. BlakeMycoskie did not expect the TOMS Company to explode, selling over one million pairs of shoesas of September 2011 (“TOMS Shoes Unveils One for One Eyewear”). With the million pairs of shoes sold, a million pairs have been given away through shoedrops. Shoe drops consist of 10 to 15 people, including Blake Mycoskie himself, traveling to acountry drowning in poverty to hand deliver shoes to children (Schweitzer). TOMS deliversshoes to 28 countries, including Guatemala, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Argentina, to name afew (Schweitzer). The TOMS Company partners with many local nonprofit organizations thatspecialize in public health. These groups and organizations help give Blake an idea of what thechildren in that specific area need, including shoe sizes. Shoe drops are only possible with thehelp of partnering organizations and with the purchase of TOMS shoes, of course. In the five years since the TOMS Company was founded, over one million children havereceived shoes, thus prolonging their lives. Blake Mycoskie lives and breaths for his company,spending as little as five to six days a month in his home—his sailboat—in Los Angeles,
  3. 3. Olson 3California (Schweitzer). The TOMS Company, based out of Los Angeles, employed 72 people(not including periodic interns) as of 2010 (Schweitzer). Blake spends much of his timeanswering emails—sometimes up to 300—when he travels and keeps in touch with all of hisemployees to the best of his abilities (Schweitzer). Blake Mycoskie travels the majority of thetime, so when he is home, he holds quick, focused meetings addressing the company as a whole(Schweitzer). Mycoskie enjoys sharing his adventures with his employees through email, phonecalls, and these large meetings. The One for One movement has inspired people all over theworld, especially here in the United States. However, this company did not grow over night. TheOne for One movement has been spread through many different marketing techniques. One of the most influential marketing techniques is word of mouth. TOMS shoes havecreated multiple events in order to spark conversation and get people asking about the One forOne movement. One of these events is “One Day Without Shoes.” One Day Without Shoes is aday in which TOMS encourages supporters to go without shoes for one day as an effort to sparkconversation and spread the message of the One for One Movement (“One Day Without Shoes”).People all over the United States participate in marches, carry signs and wear t-shirts one dayevery year in April to show their support of TOMS shoes (Stevens). Another way TOMS gainspopularity is through campus clubs. Campus clubs are clubs at high schools and collegesnationwide in which kids help spread the word by creating posters and talking to their friends,teachers, and professors. Another way TOMS spreads its message is through “Style your Sole”parties. At style your sole parties, supporters get together with their friends and decorate a pair ofTOMS. This technique encourages individualism and creativity while still supporting themovement.
  4. 4. Olson 4 The TOMS Company has great support from loyal customers because it is so charitable.TOMS tells a story, a story that customers are proud to be a part of and share. The TOMSCompany gives a sense of unity and motivation, for employees and customers both. Employeesof TOMS are not just working to get a paycheck, they are also working to save lives and make adifference in the world. It is for this reason that TOMS shoes are easily promoted through wordof mouth, that and the undeniably fashionable appearance of the shoes themselves. The fact that TOMS shoes are trendy and comfortable while still being charitable makesit easy for almost anyone to promote them. TOMS shoes come in a variety of styles and designsfor men, women, and children. Many celebrities have been seen wearing TOMS shoes, includingJulia Roberts, Jason Mraz, and Britney Spears (“TOMS Shoes”). The fact that celebrities arewearing TOMS shoes helps gain popularity for the movement, as well as proves that TOMSshoes are stylish and hip. One of Blake Mycoskie’s favorite parts of the TOMS Company is thedesign and fashion portion of the business (Mycoskie). Inspiration for TOMS shoes comes fromfashion icons as well as magazines and everyday influences (Mycoskie). TOMS shoes come inclassic styles as well as boots, cordones, wedges, and glitters for women and classic, cordones,boots, and stitchouts for men. The price of TOMS shoes range from $45 to $85 a pair. TOMSshoes have been worn in and to weddings, proms, and graduations. TOMS are appropriate forany number of occasions. This variety of styles makes it easy for anyone to find a pair of shoeshe or she likes. TOMS shoes get the shape from the classic Argentine farmer style shoe that hasbeen familiar to that area for centuries. With the huge success of the One for One movement withshoes, Blake Mycoskie decided to extend the idea. The One for One movement has now been applied to sunglasses. For every pair ofsunglasses bought, TOMS will give a person the gift of sight through correctional glasses,
  5. 5. Olson 5cataract surgery, or medical treatment (“TOMS Shoes Unveils One for One Eyewear”). People indeveloping countries do not always have enough money or resources to get something as simpleas a pair of glasses. The idea of giving sight to the blind is inspiring and truly amazing. BlakeMycoskie’s newest addition to the TOMS Company has completely focused the idea on the greatneeds of the world. TOMS shoes and everything the company has become is not only a fashionicon, but one of the most charitable organizations in the world. All in all, TOMS shoes have made a huge impact on the world today. Children all overthe world suffer every single day from disease, injury, and a lack of proper education for onesimple reason: a lack of shoes. The status and lives of millions of children can be changedforever if the TOMS Company continues to gain support and spreads the One for Onemovement. American society has a tendency to turn the blind eye and to ignore anythingunpleasant. These children can be ignored no longer. Children in developing countries need helpbecause they cannot better themselves on their own. TOMS shoes have now expanded tosunglasses, and the future is very bright. With avid believers, including Blake Mycoskie and therest of the TOMS staff, as well as campus clubs, the shoeless children of the world will be ableto start living their lives without a worry or care. TOMS is a company that deserves support andpride because it is making a difference, one pair of shoes at a time.
  6. 6. Olson 6 Works Cited“Just the Facts Why Your Shoe Donations are Important.” The A Group, 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. <>.Moxley, Tonia. “Shoe giver shares mission of service: Blake Mycoskie, whose company has donated 400,000 pairs of shoes to the poor, gave the keynote address for Radford University’s centennial Charter Day.” The Roanoke Times [Radford] 25 Mar. 2010: n. pag. Student Research Center. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. < login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2W63536269198&site=src-live.>.Mycoskie, Blake. “Blake Mycoskie.” Texas Monthly Sept. 2008: n. pag. Student Research Center. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. < login.aspx?direct=true&db=ulh&AN=34005652&site=src-live.>.One Day Without Shoes. TOMS shoes, 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. <>.Schweitzer, Tamara. “’I’m so used to traveling that I can sleep anywhere.’” Inc. June 2010: n. pag. EBSCOhost. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. < detail?vid=3&hid=112&sid=a4cf4504-fded-41c1-aed4- 9f86b3120c9b%40sessionmgr113&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=5 1338806>.Shambora, Jessica. “Blake Mycoskie, Founder of TOMS Shoes.” Fortune 22 Mar. 2010: n. pag. Student Research Center. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. < login.aspx?direct=true&db=ulh&AN=48493454&site=src-live.>.
  7. 7. Olson 7Stevens, Alyssa. “A Day Without Shoes.” Rev. of TOMS shoes: Would you go barefoot for a good cause? Christian Science Monitor. N.p., 5 Apr. 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. < ehost/detail?vid=5&hid=112&sid=a4cf4504-fded-41c1-aed4- 9f86b3120c9b%40sessionmgr113&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=5 9780625>.“TOMS Shoes.” WOOT Marketing, 2011. Web. 26 Oct. 2011.“TOMS Shoes Unveils One-for-One Eyewear.” Internation Business Times- US Edition. Gale Global Issues in Context. N.p., 7 June 2011. Web. 9 Nov. 2011. < Documents&idigest=b527955b5caccdb4b4a2d40e86fe061a&type=retrieve&tabID=T004&prodId =GIC&docId=CJ262658940&source=gale&userGroupName=cant48040&version=1.0>.“Why it is Extremely Important to get Shoes to Africa...” Shoes4Schools N.p., 28 Dec. 2008. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. < extremely-important-to-get-shoes-to-africa/>.