Make a profit, or make a difference?

Posted on September 24, 2011

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Imagine walking into a shoe store, and as you’re browsing the aisles, a certain shoe on display catches your eye. They are not only comfortable, but made out of recyclable material. Also, for every shoe bought another one is donated to a child in need.

Obviously you assume that I am referring to Blake Mycoskie’s TOMs, but if you read the label it reads BOBs. Are you confused?

According to his website, in 2006 Mycoskie traveled to Argentina. While on his visit, he found that many children had no shoes. Also, that the leading cause of disease in develoing countries is soil related.

In an interview with PhiLAnthropist, Blake explains that seeing so many barefoot children had a strong impact on him. Knowing that he was making a financial risk, he created TOMs. For every shoe that a customer buys, another pair would go to a child in need.

After TOMs became successful, Sketchers created BOBs. They are made out of recyclable material, and comfortable. Also, for every shoe bought another pair is donated to a child in need. Does that sound familiar?

Sketchers duplicated the idea, style, and mission of Blake Mycoskie’s TOMs. The only difference between the two are the names. “The Sketchers BOBs in my opinion are not quite as meaningful of a company,” says Kylee Mroz, owner of TOMs. “Sketchers was probably looking for a way to further improve its public image.”

Sketchers have not given any details as to why they created BOBs, nor when they were created. “I would rather stick with TOMs because the entire company is built around the one for one policy,” says Kylee Mroz.

Reported by Gabrielle Hill

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Posted in: Style