TOMS to Diversify Beyond Shoes

TOMS is thinking outside of the shoebox. The five-year-old company, founded by Blake Mycoskie and winner of the Cooper-Hewitt’s 2007 People’s Design Award, will begin a new chapter next month when it debuts its first non-shoe product with the same buy-one-give-one business model that has distributed more than one million pairs of shoes to children in need worldwide. It’s part of a push to make TOMS known not as a shoe company but as the one-for-one company, according to Mycoskie, who is stoking interest in the new product with a “mystery box.” The below video shows him wheeling the tall cardboard tube along the Santa Monica Pier. Its contents will be revealed on June 7.

Meanwhile, TOMS shoes are selling swiftly as ever. In recent years, the company has expanded beyond its classic canvas slip-on, based on Argentine alpargatas, with other casual styles, including sneakers, boots, and wedges in a variety of textiles. There is even a “wedding collection,” for the bride or groom who wants to walk down the aisle in philanthropic footwear (anyone for pink sequins?). At the same time, the TOMS model of social entrepreneurship has proved ripe for imitation, with Warby Parker applying a similar approach to affordable eyeglasses.