When I think of TOMS, two things immediately come to mind: comfy slipper-style shoes and major social consciousness. Since the brand’s launch in 2006, it’s admirably adhered to its "One for One" mission statement, donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold; to date, that’s over 10 million pairs of desperately needed footwear. Over the past several years, TOMS has gone on to offer tons of other shoe styles in addition to those ubiquitous slip-ons (boots, ballet flats and more), as well as a successful range of eyewear (in line with the brand’s agenda, a pair of frames is donated for every pair sold)—but starting today, the company’s casting an even wider net.
The just-launched TOMS Marketplace features over 200 items from 30 different brands—all of which are committed to the act of giving back. Items on offer range from home goods to tech to jewelry to apparel, making the innovative platform a one-stop shop for feel-good holiday gifting. We chatted with TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie about his latest philanthropic project—read on for more about the Marketplace!
Lucky: How did you go about selecting the 30 brands to include in the new Marketplace?
Blake Mycoskie: We selected brands and products who have either been inspired by TOMS or who inspire us. Each of the products featured on Marketplace have a cause/give back component, ranging from jewelry that empowers women and job creation in Uganda to headphones that help restore someone’s hearing to bags that help veteran employment and strengthen civil-military relations.
What are a few of your own favorite picks from the new platform—and why do you love them?
The backpacks from Stone + Cloth are pretty cool—I hold this brand close to my heart because the founder, Matt Clough, actually interned at TOMS not to long ago and it’s been awesome to see him apply what he learned at TOMS and using his passion to create a business helping students in Uganda access education. I can always appreciate a good journal to have on hand at all times, and I love the Denik Hardcover Journal—with every Denik notebook sold, $1 goes to building schools. This year, Denik is working to build schools in Mali, Africa. And Falling Whistles is another favorite of mine. The founder, Sean Carasso, was actually inspired to create Falling Whistles after he joined TOMS on a Giving Trip to South Africa 2007. Their whistles represent their effort to promote peace in Congo, asking their customers to be a whistleblower for peace.
What’s on your own holiday wish list this year?
I actually have been eyeing the dipped wine holder on TOMS Marketplace by Rose & Fitzgerald. The craftsmanship is amazing and I love that it supports jobs in Uganda.
Click through above to shop my favorite finds from the new TOMS Marketplace; then, head to Toms.com to peruse everything on offer.