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July 16, 2012

The 1 for 1 Movement

Toms Shoes

The buy one give one (BOGO) movement is a surging trend thanks to the success of TOMS Shoes, a company that gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes they sell. Similar concepts have been popping up in other industries, ranging from backpacks and sunglasses, to vitamins.

TOMS Shoes: Leading the “One for One” movement

Founded by Blake Mycoskie in 2006, TOMS Shoes has become a global brand known for its simple, affordable Argentinean alpargata-style shoes and more importantly, its dedication to philanthropy. Mycoskie’s giving model is simple: for every item the company sells, they donate a similar product to someone in need, whether that’s a pair of shoes or glasses.

“This unique vision for the future came into focus in 2006, when he witnessed the hardships facing children growing up barefoot in Argentina,” Mycoksie’s biography reads. “He felt a need to help, and the One for One movement was born. He returned the following year with friends and family to hand-place 10,000 pairs of new shoes on children.”

By September 2010, TOMS had sold a million pairs of shoes, and donated the same amount. Today that number is undoubtedly higher, as TOMS Shoes are sold in 500 stores internationally, and their popularity seems only to have increased based on the amount of TOMS you see wandering around every big city in North America.

Not surprisingly, a number of other entrepreneurs and businesses have been inspired by the movement, and started one-for-one variations of their own.

A few other one-for-one companies:

  • Warby Parker: Buy a Pair, Give a Pair. Just like the TOMS Shoes model, the giving model behind this eyewear line is that simple. Warby Parker sells both optical glasses and sun glasses in a range of trendy styles, including plenty of retro designs.
  • Life Equals vitamins: This Kansas City vitamin company operates under the same model. “For every purchase you make, Life Equals will provide an equal amount of children’s multivitamins to an undernourished child through our partnership with Vitamin Angels. LIFE=LIFE one vitamin at a time.”
  • Jack’s Soap: For every bar of Jack’s Soap — which is organic, vegan, and wrapped in recycled packaging — the company donates a bar of soap to a child who otherwise wouldn’t have access to such a basic hygiene item.
  • Ark Collective: This California-based social business gives a backpack to another Californian student in need for each backpack they sell. The Ark Collective backpacks are stylish, come in a range of colours, and are fitted with all the pockets and compartments a teen of the digital age could need.
  • The Information Blanket: Even if this business didn’t run on a one-for-one model, The Information Blanket is based on a forward-thinking idea: they’re printed with infographic-style care instructions for infants. But because they are rooted in philanthropy, the company donates an Information Blanket to a new mother in need for every English-language blanket sold.

What are your thoughts on the one for one model? Does it make you more likely to support a brand?