TOMS is evolving every day, with each new fan, customer, friend and Giving Partner that joins us. And in paving the way for what lies ahead, we think it’s important we remember how we got here.
In the early days we called our firsthand shoe-giving experiences Shoe Drops. Our founder Blake, the small TOMS staff, and some their family and friends, traveled back to Argentina to distribute the very first One for One shoes to children in need. For the next few years, the TOMS family was an essential part of every pair of shoes given to children in need.
But as our movement gained support and the company grew, we learned more about international development, and strategies and solutions to help eradicate poverty and create opportunity for communities, families and children. We began to change how we gave shoes. Humanitarian organizations, with deep roots and experience in the communities they serve, became a crucial part of our Giving strategy. We found that our shoes had greater impact – and better matched our ideals for responsible giving – if we integrated them into these Giving Partners’ broader strategies in health, education and economic development. Eventually, Giving Partners were giving all of TOMS Shoes.
But, we still have a lot to learn, and we want our family and community to learn with us. We continue to travel to the field for firsthand giving experiences, this time as visitors and volunteers of our Giving Partners. In the spirit of this new approach, TOMS Shoe Drops have become TOMS Giving Trips.
A TOMS Giving Trip today is a unique experience. We invite TOMS family and community members to visit one of our Shoe Giving Partners for a week or so. Those travelers help distribute shoes to children in the communities our Partners serve. They also experience and learn about both the TOMS Shoe Giving model and the wider world of international development.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing stories from employees who have gone on TOMS Giving Trips, where they had the opportunity to learn and assist our valued Giving Partners in distributing shoes to children in need. TOMS family members always come home with a new lesson learned and story to share, and they’re excited to share them with you on the TOMS Blog.