Shoes for Tomorrow
By: Melanie Helgeson
Introduction Blake MyCoskie established TOMS Shoes in May of 2006. (Fortune, 2008) MyCoskie competed on the second season of the hit show The Amazing Race, where he traveled to Argentina. There he met many children and adults who could not afford to buy shoes, he was troubled by this fact and wanted to do something about it. He traveled back to Argentina for vacation and it was then that he decided he would start a shoe business, but not an ordinary shoe business. He decided that for every shoe that was sold another shoe would be donated to a child in need. It was then that MyCoskie’s “One for One” marketing plan was created. (Time, 2007)
The product that TOMS provides is an alpargata shoe. They are a form of shoes worn by Argentina farmers. These shoes are known for being very breathable because of their lightweight canvas top and leather insole. (http://www.wordnik.com/words/) They are slip-on as well as resilient, which helps in the fighting of podoconiosis, also known as “Mossy Foot”. This is a foot disease many people obtain from not wearing shoes while working in heavy soil. Fungus gets into the pores on the bottom of the foot and ends up destroying the lympathatic system (the tissue that fights against bacteria). TOMS is working to fight the disease and help bring shoes to people in need. (http://tomsshoes.com) TOMS has used its creativity skills to create other styles of shoes. For example they create many designs of shoes other than the classic farming shoe pictured above. Products of TOMS include, botas (a high top sort of sneaker), cordones (a low top sneaker like shoe), wedges for women, and a tall wrap boot for women. TOMS has decided to expand even further and they are creating t-shirts, necklaces, and hats that if purchased there will still be a shoe donated to a child in need. (http://tomsshoes.com) Market Analysis The current market for shoes is defined by 4 main categories: casual, athletic, dress, and rugged. Casual shoes account for 52% of the market, and this would include TOMS Shoes. A report conducted by Global Information forecasted that through the year 2010 more people will begin to appreciate style, innovations, and introductions. And more men are going to become interested in purchasing more shoes than ever. (Global Information 2006) TOMS is a lot different than other shoe companies because of their marketing strategy thus making it hard to determine their market. They should be classified in the casual shoe market, but also in a market for companies who rely on their consumer to take action and social responsibility for a bigger cause. There are other companies who strive to accomplish similar tasks that TOMS does. These companies have a similar
audience including people who feel the need to do something and help better the community. Unfortunately because this is not a huge market there is not a substantial amount of information out there on the subject. The previous information can only be assumed. Competitive Analysis There are a couple of other organizations out there that have a similar mentality to TOMS. For example bodoblankets.com’s motto is “Buy One. Donate One”. This company sells blankets and for every blanket sold they donate a blanket to someone in need. They have adopted the same idea of TOMS and believe that social responsibility is a strong marketing tool to better the community. (http://bodoblankets.com/info.html) NewMan’s Own is known for their salad dressings and other snacks. What a lot of people may not know is that they donate 100% of their profits to charities in the United States. (http://www.newmansown.com/commongood.aspx) This company is not a direct competitor because they do not sell shoes, but for people who are just looking to donate and they do not need a pair of shoes maybe they would prefer to purchase some salad...
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