Tom’s: One for One and One for All

What are the most ethically run companies? A quick Google search led me to a wordpress blog rating the top 20 companies. I recognized a number of the companies like Pategonia and Ben and Jerry’s to name a few. I saw one company “Toms of Maine” which led me to research Tom’s shoe company. (Funny how your brain works)


Tom’s Shoes is an organization that has recently gained popularity for its “one for one” shoe program. For every pair of shoes sold, a pair of shoes would be given to a child in need. Today, Tom’s continues its one for one shoe program and has even expanded into eyewear. Tom’s now sells fashionable sunglasses and continues to offer its one for one program. Buy one and give one to a child in need.


Hopefully I was not the only one asking, “Is anyone really ever in need of sunglasses?” Fortunately, I was just misinterpreting the program. Tom’s eyewear program means that you buy one pair of sunglasses for yourself and in turn it provides a person in need access to prescription glasses, medical treatment or eye surgery.


Two great programs from one company that bring the basic necessities to those that cannot afford to attain them. It makes me wonder two questions, the first being how is this possible? Are the prices just inflated so that the company still makes money, or is the company built just for charity? The second question is why aren’t there more companies like this?


What do you think?


I am very excited to research Tom’s more as a potential paper 2 topic.




8 responses to “Tom’s: One for One and One for All

  1. I frequently wonder about this myself. Before I knew of the company’s business model, a friend of mine back home bought a pair of these shoes. When she told me that they cost $40, I was quite surprised, because they frankly aren’t worth that much. However, she then explained that someone in need was also getting a pair. I like the idea of running a business that makes sense and brings out the good in people. Let’s hope Toms can continue to expand!

  2. The first time I saw a commercial for Tom’s shoes I probably had the same reaction that most people had. I thought it was a fantastic idea, and that the business model had a lot of potential to do some good. I can’t say that Tom’s is exactly my style, (maybe I just couldn’t pull them off) but I bought a pair my freshman year of college. It certainly felt good to help out, and made me feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself. I admire this company and its goals. $40 may be a bit overpriced for these shoes, but I didn’t really care.

  3. When I first came across a pair of Toms and saw the price tag, I was shocked. How could a pair of canvas shoes be worth $40? Then I read that tag next to the shoes and my opinion of the company quickly transformed. In an industry filled with overpriced items, it is really nice to see people doing the right thing with their company. Fashion is usually plagued with ethically questionable behavior, so TOMS is a nice change of pace.

  4. Personally, I think Tom’s is doing what most major corporations would hate doing even though they all could. Tom’s is not using all of its profits to create more wealth for the employees (or more specifically for the executives) and actually using it to do something good, like donate shoes and glasses who need them in places like Africa. Companies like Apple or Nike could very easily use the profits from their sales to do the exact same things, but they don’t. Why? If they were to do that then people like Phil Knight would, as Michael Moore so eloquently put it, would change from billionaires to half billionaires; and we can’t have that happen can we?

  5. I too was shocked when I saw how much a pair of simple canvas shoes cost. However, the brand’s one for one campaign was enough to win me own over- a own a pair of TOMS. I think it’s really cool that you’re going to look into the brand for your next paper. I believe TOMS has donated something like a million shoes. Cases like this really show us how much power companies have and how they can bring such positive change should they choose to.

  6. I never really knew the background on TOMS. I know that they are a very popular shoe, but to hear the intentions behind the sales of these shoes is heart warming. It is nice to hear about a company with great ethics, when we have been primarily learning about companies with poor ethics thus far in this class. It makes me want to learn more about other companies with such great intentions!

  7. I too was shocked when I saw the hefty price tag on what looked like a flimsy pair of slip on shoes. I am intrigued to see what your research shows on the specific business models that TOMS uses when making its business plans. It is refreshing to finally see a company that uses its power and money to make a positive change in the world. I will definitely continue to buy more pairs of TOMS in the future.

  8. I doubt the one for one adds much cost to the shoes. I had some students look at this in the past. I wonder if looking at their papers for sources might not be helpful, especially as it is is private.

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