I first started seeing TOMS Shoes about 2 years ago in smaller upscale shoes stores, like Tani on the upper west side. At first I thought they looked a little funny and didn't know why a pair of [basically] slippers were so expensive. Yea, they were cute little slip-ons for spring and summer, but man at $50-$70 a pop they really thought they were special. Then I realized what TOMS mission statement is: for every pair that we as consumers by, TOMS donates the same pair of shoes to children in developing countries and I was like "awwww ok". That changed my view on these shoes quite a bit.
But recently, amidst natural disasters occurring left and right and poverty still being combated, I'm wondering if TOMS is really living up to the wonderful philanthropic company its been labeled as. A friend pointed out a lot of these problems to me. First of all, the shoes are made outside the U.S. in Argentina, Ethiopia, and China- probably saving a bunch of money in labor and production costs. Second of all, if the shoes are being made for a tiny portion of the price the shoes retail for (around 15 cents compared to on average $60 for retail) it seems that TOMS could afford to donate more than just ONE pair of shoes per child-- why not 2? Yes it is great that retail and philanthropy have joined forces to help others, but are the two forces living up to their full potential? I don't really think so.
But that was just my small rant on the matter. If you want to buy the shoes because they are cute in a kind of relaxed hippy sort of way (a lot of TOMS shoes are "vegan") and because they come in a variety of prints, colors, and glitter assortments, then by all means, indulge. BUT, if you are buying them as a means of philanthropic contribution on your part, maybe think again if there is a better, more effective way, to help people in other countries. That is all :)
Last but not least, if you want to shop the website and learn more about the company click here for TOMS website!
Toys of the 90's
5 years ago