Sunday, September 19, 2010

Great business model

I love TOMS shoes. And I especially love my pair of them. The reason that I found out about them is that there was this crazy story that I heard about a company that if you purchased a pair of shoes, they would give another away to a child in a developing country where shoes are needed. This sounded kind of crazy and that the shoes should cost a ton of money in order for this to work. Or that the shoes would be of inferior quality in order to make enough money for this program to work.
The thing is that they don't cost that much money considering that they are designer shoes. Most of the shoes are around $60 - $70.
I was lucky enough to get a pair for my birthday several years ago. I have worn them almost every day and they still are great shoes. And they are SO comfortable! It is like wearing slippers while you are out and about. The only issue is that being that I live in Minnesota, they don't work real well in the winter. So I am hopeful that I will be able to get another pair that is lined or more like the boots.
And this has been a very successful buisness model. In fact, it really is, as their website states a movement. The shoes are different looking and invite people to ask a person who is wearing TOM shoes about their shoes and it starts a conversation that allows the wearer to spread the story of TOMS and feel good about wearing their shoes.

I read an article today about TOMS and in a sidebar of that article it mentioned some other companies that are also following the buy-one, give-one model. There is another shoe comapny call Twins in GB that has some tennis shoes that if you buy one they will give a pair away. These are some pretty preppy shoes too!

Another company that is doing something similar only with eyeglasses. The company is Warby Parker. The glasses are fashioned after classic looks and are all done over the internet so that even though the looks are fashionable and for every pair that is sold another is given away - their glasses are less then $100. So I think I know where I am going to look when it comes time to get some new glasses.

These are great models for running a business. Create something memorable. Make it affordable. And do good. Make it easy to spread your message. Which enables you to do more good.

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