Most shoppers know TOMS as the brand that matches every pair of shoes and glasses purchased by giving new footwear and eyewear to a child in need. Now, the One for One brand is launching TOMS Marketplace, an online retail destination hosted on TOMS.com that features a curated collection of socially conscious products from third-party companies, in the hopes of using its trusted name to bolster social entrepreneurship.
The marketplace featured 200 products from 30 different companies at launch. Each company’s listing includes a meaningful story, spanning a wide range of causes and geographic areas of impact. Featured products range from block-printed textiles, handbags and accessories made by artisans in the Himalayas to paper jewelry made by women in Northern Uganda.
“The TOMS Marketplace represents something that is bigger than us,” Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver of TOMS, said in a press release. ”We believe social entrepreneurship is a movement that is here to stay, and the TOMS Marketplace is our way of bringing awareness to so many amazing companies, causes and products.”
For the most part, the TOMS Marketplace highlights early-stage companies and their causes, each of whom were thoroughly vetted by TOMS’ Giving department to make sure they have the ability to deliver on their mission statements, the company said. The marketplace includes a wide assortment of products across an array of lifestyle categories, from accessories, apparel and bags to home goods, jewelry, sports equipment and tech. Prices range from $5 to $500.
“For the past few years, I have been humbled by the number of social entrepreneurs who have been inspired by the TOMS business model,” Mycoskie continued. “In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that I found myself in a similar position. So I thought, ‘What can we do to help support these companies?’ The TOMS Marketplace is the result.”
In addition to launching the marketplace, TOMS recently announced that, through its giving partners, it has hand-placed more than 10 million pairs of new shoes on children in need and has helped give sight to more than 175,000 people around the world.
The success of the company’s One for One business model has led to a continued evolution of its giving efforts, with the company having made major investments in its shoe manufacturing, economic empowerment and commissioned field research, as well as product partnerships that have raised millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations. The marketplace is the latest in such investments, the company said.
“We’re so excited to utilize, share and leverage TOMS’ platforms, our resources and our marketing to assist our TOMS Marketplace partners to help give to those in need,” added Mycoskie. “We believe our customers – and even those who aren’t necessarily customers – trust the TOMS brand and what we stand for. They are coming to our website because they want to buy or give a gift that gives back, and with the TOMS Marketplace, they will have a much greater selection of choices, all in one place.”
Image credit: TOMS
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Mary also contributes to Earth911; her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands and The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.