TOMS | In Business To Improve Lives

Abner Torres Martinez
4 min readApr 5, 2021

TOMS is a for-profit organization based in Los Angeles, California, which designs and markets quality shoes as well as apparel and accessories. Although they make quality shoes, they are most known for their impact to changing the world for the better. Since being founded in 2006, they have positively impacted over 100 million lives, giving shoes, sight, safe water, and impact grants to those who need it most. In 2019 and 2020 alone, TOMS gave 7,049,436 pairs of shoes and $4,436,000 to help those in need.

The company name is derived from the word “tomorrow,” and evolved from the original concept, “Shoes for Tomorrow Project”

Giving shoes, sight, and safe water for over a decade was an amazing start — the right start — to creating meaningful change. Rather than giving shoes, TOMS is giving one-third of their profits to contribute to select issues that are best served by strong partnerships and financial support. The three issues being promoting mental health, ending gun violence, and increasing access to opportunity. TOMS selected these three not only because it helps lay the groundwork for equity, but it also goes hand in hand with their vision, which is that of thriving humanity — something that they can only achieve through the relentless pursuit of equity.

TOMS vision: Thriving Humanity

TOMS makes use of various types of marketing to get their message and vision out to the public. More specifically, they make use of social media marketing where they create content to not only promote their brand and products, but also to further share their efforts in making the world a better place. Currently, TOMS has 4,000 posts and 941,000 followers attached to their Instagram platform, while 4,222,725 people follow them on Facebook. They have proven to be successful on both social media platform, however, they are looking for creative ways to help build people’s trust in the brand, enhance brand credibility, and broaden their brand’s reach.

TOMS most active social media platforms are Facebook and Instagram

Influencer marketing is a well-known strategy TOMS can implement to leverage their brand. An influencer who I believe TOMS should collaborate with is 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. A former American competitive swimmer, Phelps is known for being the most successful and decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals. He also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (23), most Olympic gold medals in a single Olympics (13), and most Olympic medals in a single Olympics (16). Unfortunately, Phelps struggled with mental health issues, specifically depression. Oftentimes, taking drugs to run away from whatever it was he wanted to run from. His “all-time low” came after the 2012 Olympics, where he didn’t want to be in the sport anymore and contemplated suicide. That is when Phelps knew he needed help.

Michael Phelps and his 23 Olympic gold medals

Since leaving competitive swimming and going through therapy for his mental health, Phelps has become an advocate for mental health awareness, water safety, and increasing access to opportunities through his foundation — The Michael Phelps Foundation. His foundation’s mission works towards promoting healthy, active lives, especially for children, primarily by expanding the opportunities for participation in the sport of swimming. The Michael Phelps Foundation provides dedicated curriculum for emotional wellness lessons and allows access and opportunity to impact one’s ability to realize their talent and maximize their potential.

TOMS partnering with Michael Phelps would be perfect and very beneficially for both parties. Firstly, both TOMS and Phelps are passionate about promoting awareness to mental health. They each aim to encourage help-seeking behaviors, reducing any stigma and connecting people to evidence-based mental health resources. Secondly, TOMS and Phelps are also huge advocates in providing and increasing access to opportunity. TOMS provides access to education and to decent work, whereas the Michael Phelps Foundation provides access to impact one’s ability to realize their talent and potential. TOMS above all is about making a world a better place for everyone, including those who deal with mental health issues or a lack of access to opportunity. Phelps affirms that as he is someone who went through depression and is currently bringing awareness to those who struggle with similar mental health issues and a need for access to opportunity.