Trip to TOMS Shoes!

By Amanda Nicholson on Apr 08, 2014 at 10:44 AM in Business Partner Activities
Trip to TOMS Shoes!
With Kristin Brown of TOMS!

           Before even walking through the front doors, we were welcomed by not only those employees who worked at the facility, but simply by the very comfortable work environment TOMS has created within their main headquarters. Immediately as we were walking around the courtyard right outside of the office, we were welcomed by Kristin Brown, TOMS Giving Account Specialist, who was nice enough to give us a well-informed introduction and tour of the offices and the company itself. The interior of the entire building had such a modern, yet fun appearance that it could convince anyone to want to work there. We were just seeing the beginning of an afternoon that would change the way we looked at the world.

            One of the first office spaces Kristin had presented to us was the marketing department. She explained that their goal was not to simply sell a product, but to find a way to connect people with the brand and its mission. Because TOMS cannot automatically touch every market first hand, they tend to collaborate with other brands that may have a slightly different target market, which will then open TOMS doors to that new market. Kristin also explained how TOMS does not spend millions of dollars on advertising. Instead of creating numerous commercials to air on television, they simply take a popular costumer, such as a celebrity, to then wear their product to essentially advertise their products when they are seen in public. TOMS also relied heavily on the use of “word of mouth” advertising, which seemed to work so efficiently due to their inspirational mission statement.

            But all of these complicated techniques of marketing and advertising have one purpose to accomplish something so simple: serve those who are in need of basic essentials. Their question in on all operations is “with everything that we do, who can we impact”. We learned all of this and much more as we were all given a presentation on their giving program. Their presentation was centered on the idea of “One for One”, which is TOMS main statement to give to those living in poverty. They explained this idea to be very simple as each pair of shoes bought would then give a pair of shoes to a child in need.  

         The presenter also brought up their other branch of TOMS that sells eyewear, and with that money made a person’s eyesight can be improved whether be from something as simple as corrective lenses or as complex as sight-saving surgeries. She also had brought their newest venture to our attention, TOMS Roasting Company which was established no longer than a month ago. With the profits made from selling premium coffee, clean water can be given to an impoverished community. Through various visuals and explanations of their giving we were all inspired by how many lives this company has the ability to change.

            As inspired as we were by TOMS’s extraordinary mission to give, we were ready to present our own ideas to partner with TOMS so that we can also help them achieve that goal. We presented to one of the original business partners of TOMS, Sean, who had been with them since the very beginning. Our CEO, Jesus Terrazas opened with his introduction of the Don’s Net Café and we too would like to “do some good in the world”. Jesus, being a part of Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Youth Council, he presented the idea of TOMS collaborating with the program to create a shoe designed to pay Roots and Shoots and their work and also at the same time, honor Jane Goodall’s birthday. By selling this shoe a percentage of the profits will go to Roots and Shoots, so that they may be able to continue their work to sustain a healthy environment, but also, no different from many other shoes bought from TOMS, a corresponding number of pairs will be given to those children in need. We then continued to give multiple other ideas including the concept of putting school logos on shoes, sell them to those corresponding schools, and then each school will then choose where in the world those shoes will be given. Sean, as well as everyone else in the conference room was very pleased with our ideas saw a great future if TOMS were to partner with the Dons Net Café. Leaving our meeting and our afternoon at the TOMS office, we were all over joyed and inspired to make a great change and take strides into the right direction with the objective to assist those who are less fortunate.