Tomsitis: Every time you see a child, you want to give them a pair of shoes

Stumbled across this on Seth Godin's blog. A great model for social enterprise.

Buy one get one free

Brice points us to TOMS Shoes.

I like several things about this approach. The simplicity of the offer, first of all. If you buy a pair of these very inexpensive shoes, he gives a pair to a kid in the developing world for free. No fine print.

Second, Tom has turned the shoe into a souvenir. A post-modern shoe, a shoe for people who don't need shoes, but are happy to wear a statement. This isn't the first pair of shoes most Americans will buy, it might not even be the tenth. But it will be one that people talk about when they're wearing it.

The founder (and chief shoe dropper) is Blake Mycoskie, who, by age 30, has done more than most suburban-bred Texas kids.

From a Jan. 26, 2007 article in Time Magazine, A Shoe That Fits So Many Souls by Nadia Mustafa:

Blake Mycoskie wanted to get away from it all. After founding and running four businesses and losing by a sliver on The Amazing Race, he escaped last January to Argentina, where he learned to sail, dance the tango and play competitive polo. He also visited impoverished villages where few, if any, children had shoes. "I was sitting on a field on a farm one day, and I had an epiphany," says Mycoskie, who had taken to wearing alpargatas--resilient, lightweight slip-on shoes with a breathable canvas top and soft leather insole traditionally worn by Argentine workers. "I said, I'm going to start a shoe company, and for every pair I sell, I'm going to give one pair to a kid in need."
Blake returned to Argentina in October of 2006 with a couple of dozen volunteers to give away 10,000 pairs of Toms shoes along 2,200 miles of countryside. "I always thought I'd spend the first half of my life making money and the second half giving it away," says Mycoskie, who calls himself not ceo but chief shoe giver. "I never thought I could do both at the same time."

See video of Tom's 2006 Agentina Shoe Drop.