Tags: Toms | shoe | factory | Haiti

Toms Expands With Shoe Factory in Haiti

By    |   Thursday, 26 September 2013 05:33 PM

Toms, which sells shoes and sunglasses, is broadening its effort to help the poor by building a shoe factory in Haiti.

Toms already has a One for One program in which it donates a pair of shoes to a child in need to match every pair that it sells and donates sight to someone in need for each pair of sunglasses it sells.

Toms CEO Blake Mycoskie told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview that former President Bill Clinton urged him to send shoes to Haiti after its earthquake three years ago.

The company has donated hundreds of thousands of shoes there, Mycoskie says.

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"But this year our commitment changed a bit," he said. "Our commitment is to do manufacturing in Haiti and create jobs." The factory will start up in January, Mycoskie says.

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"I was just there last week, and everything is getting shipped in, all the equipment. And the training and hiring will happen after the holidays. That's a big part of the future of Toms."

Haiti needs jobs to rebuild, Mycoskie says. "So we're excited we're one of the first companies to do that."

Toms, seven years old, is definitely a business. "But our charity and our philanthropy have been built in from day one," Mycoskie said. "It's absolutely part of our DNA."

The company has given away more than 10 million shoes to children in need around the world, he says.

Two years ago the company expanded into eyewear. "Every time we sell a pair of sunglasses, we help give someone sight," Mycoskie said. "We do everything from cataract surgeries to prescription glasses."

And with the Haitian factory, "I feel like we're taking our mission to the next level," Mycoskie said.

The company is offering its model "to create jobs in these developing countries and really stimulate economic development," he said.

Those who buy Toms products know their purchases help people in need, Mycoskie says. "People want to purchase things that they believe in. We're seeing that more and more, especially with young consumers."

Customers don't have to pay up to finance Toms' philanthropy, Mycoskie says. Toms' shoes cost only a few dollars more than competitors Vans, Converse and Keds, he says.

Mycoskie wants to spread the One for One concept to other products. "I believe there are many other industries that a consumer would like to buy a Toms product, because they know it would be helping someone in need at the same time," he said.

"I don't believe this is just a fad or a trend. This is here to stay."

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Toms, which sells shoes and sunglasses, is broadening its effort to help the poor by building a shoe factory in Haiti.
Thursday, 26 September 2013 05:33 PM
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