I've said it before and I'm saying it again, I LOVE my TOMS shoes! Not only are they the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned, the brand is all about making a difference in the world. For each pair you buy, TOMS gives a pair to a child in need.
The business model is very admirable and the founder of TOMS has said that he hopes more companies will follow in their footsteps.
And some companies have. Some more than others.
Last weekend I was in Birmingham for a university reunion. As I passed by a shoe store, I saw that they sold TOMS. Curious to know how much they are in England, I went in to have a closer look. But to my surprise, they were not TOMS, but BOBS! Not only were they not TOMS, they were more expensive than TOMS!
I was outraged! Did BOBS have the same social conscious as TOMS? Why were people buying a "copy" when the real deal is cheaper to begin with? There had to be an explanation! And of course there was!
Apparently, BOBS are produced by Sketchers. And just like TOMS, Sketchers donates a pair for each pair sold. So far so good. In the end of the day, children in need don't care if they wear TOMS or BOBS. However, the fact that BOBS is an EXACT design copy of TOMS, infuriates me! BOBS copied everything, down to the name, logo and placement of labels. A big company like Sketchers surely can afford to design their own shoe! But instead of creating a design that could add to the "one for one" market, they are trying to steal TOMS customers! Is that really something a company should do if they are trying to position themselves as "socially aware"?
In conclusion, I urge you to buy TOMS. Not only because they did a great job at designing an appealing shoe, but because it's important that they are encouraged to continue their good work. Nowadays, TOMS also sell sunglasses and apparel and everything they sell are matched with equal donations. Sketchers is a huge company, with hundreds of shoe models. But only one shoe model is matched with donations and they still couldn't even be bothered to dedicate time and money to design their own product. Shame on you!