So this is my TOMS Collection.
Well not quite (although my own collection isn’t THAT far off).
This is actually the display of the store in Manila I used to visit just so I can choose a good pair of TOMS from an almost complete collection. Even Blake Mycoskie, the owner and founder of TOMS knows well the Filipino obsession for the shoes since it’s practically one of the first markets in Asia to embrace the alpargata, the name of the Argentinian shoes TOMS are modeled after. Actually I first wore TOMS in Boracay, where they were sold in a little fashion boutique shop. It makes sense really since TOMS are more akin to flip flops, usually worn in more relaxed tropical climates, than they they are to bespoke leather footware that us city folk use on a day to day business.
Well folks. Since Boracay… I find myself wearing TOMS on an almost day to day basis. Even to work.
When not in Manila, I’ve almost had to venture as far as San Fransisco to grab myself a pair.
Not anymore, this past month, the folks at PEDDER and Lane Crawford have begun selling what seems like the full collection online.
Before the launch, I was delivered a book written by Blake, titled, Start Something That Matters (2011), summarizing the whole start up story of the TOMS brand in the first chapter, and spends the next 7 chapters bullet pointing key concepts for would-be entrepreneurs who want to do something beneficial for society via their business.
In a nutshell Blake keeps it simple by summarizing the TOMS idea (fifth startup business for him), and then telling readers to find their story, face their fears, how to be resourceful, keeping ideas simple, building trust, and learning how to “give” as a general rule.
The book is very interesting, straightforward, and an honest to-the-point account of how the TOMS “empire” came about. In a nutshell, TOMS is the first business model of its kind… you buy a pair, they give a pair to kids in need of shoes. Yes, TOMS are modeled after the alpargata, but was completely redesigned by Blake in Argentina for Western needs and urban lifestyles, taking into account comfort, style, and long lasting durability. No, TOMS is not the name of the owner, it stands for “Tomorrow’s Shoes”. And yes, they’ve kept their word, and to this day still distribute shoes globally and one to one via Giving Partners.
Interestingly enough for the social entrepreneurs out there, TOMS was Blake’s fifth business venture… I guess there are just people out there who aren’t born to be paper pushers. Basically according to the book, with the right determination, right simple idea, right story, right product, and right social cause… you’ve got something that people would really like to invest in. In this day and age with so many products bombarding for our attention, a product with a social benefit attached to it will most likely be a brand’s point of difference.
Below, TOMS owned by Danielle of WHITESPACE HK (left), Denise of SUPERWOWOMG (top), LC Blitz’s Marika (right), and my own.
Anyway enough text. Lets look at products and pretty pictures of TOMS pairs on display. #iWant all of them.
Blake came to inaugurate the full collection in Hong Kong at Lane Crawford IFC.
In attendance were Danielle and CLOT’s Kevin Poon.
Blake with artist Charles Munka who designed a shoe for auction.
Blake with artists PRODIP and Jin Meyerson, both also created a special TOMS shoe for Auction.
Shoes by ANOTHERMOUNTAINMAN.
And James Jean, who is in town this week to promote a new line of accessories for Line Crawford BLITZ.
My friends, Mimi and Martin, who are establishing a Fashion / Social Entrepreneurship Business in Hong Kong, in part because they read Blake’s book and were inspired.
Hong Kong Island Magazine’s Coco and Hajime, TOMS head of International Sales and a “Dude-Guy-Brah” according to his business card.
Blake with Christing C.
Blake with Auntie Susan of XPOSURE
The usual suspects with Vogue China’s Grace
Just met the lovely Luisa Fietta, GM at Pedder Red. (This pic styled by Grace hehe)
Dude fight. Jason Capobianco versus Blake.
Hello. The conversation was all about Texas, where we both grew up.
Thanks for the book!
AND the autograph.
In the end of the day it’s a business model which benefits both consumers and non consumers equally. Name me any other fashion brand who works on a one-for-one business model. And they look great… with almost everything. (Well in my opinion.)
Anyway, my work life is less stressful when I wear these that’s for sure. (Well NOT the strawberry one below…. but you get what I mean.)
WEAR TOMS Hong Kong / READ Start Something That Matters / CHARITY TOMS One for One