When TOMS first began, our initial intention -- providing shoes to children without them -- was good, but we've since discovered a lot of untapped potential. We found that shoes, when used as a strategic resource, can do more.
Some people have and will continue to call me barefoot and crazy. Springtime in the Midwest isn't the warmest weather and I cannot promise you that it will be comfortable for your toes. Despite all of this, I will continue to go barefoot every year for One Day Without Shoes. Why?
One Day Without Shoes is the annual day to encourage the world to go without shoes to bring global awareness to children's health and education. It is about walking with dignity and it is about opportunities to improve children's health.
Today, skip the Starbucks coffee (it's burnt anyway) and put your dollars towards a cause that you believe in -- because to impart real, meaningful change in the world, people will need to believe that the underlying causes of poverty are solvable. I do.
Almost always, the physical world ignores the power of the virtual world (among other things). Based on my experience, here are 8 concrete ways to generate significant new revenues in that physical world.
I see our American culture becoming less about conspicuous consumption, and more about "conscious consumerism." Traditional philanthropy is not going to feed the world's hungry, but a more conscious consumer and a more caring entrepreneur just might.
Our fervent interests in how big of a flat screen we can buy seems to remain an undying American tradition. But when it comes to the products that we hunt for, our better judgment about whether they are made unethically or not tends to be overlooked.
Lole in Paris, in Canada and elsewhere, holds what are called "meet-ups," or events to which they invite yogis, meditation and massage therapists to their atelier stores -- which double as relaxation spaces.
While the entrepreneurs behind these socially conscious start-ups have tapped into consumer demands to play donor, they also raise questions about whether applying the profit motive can achieve positive and sustainable developmental ends.
When asked to name the one thing they needed to make their lives better, many of the children in developing nations in our hemisphere confided that what they most wanted was the capacity to walk without exposing their bare feet to the elements. Pick anything, and they chose shoes.
Discussion is crucial, yet it's a first step. The second is doing. If you've blindly adored TOMS to date, take a deeper look at the potential issues in their model and educate yourself about proper design of service initiatives.
Products raising money for a cause is nothing new. Whether it's the plethora of pink items supporting breast cancer or a Livestrong bracelet, we're used to giving money and being rewarded with a promo item.
Capitalism is changing. It is evolving. And big companies are going to start to realize that when the cause is the brand, the consumer cannot get enough. That means two things: 1. More profits and 2. more good.