Special-edition, Congolese-inspired TOMS Shoes
We're teaming up with Giving Partner Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), an advocacy and grant-making organization founded by Ben Affleck, on two Congolese-inspired designs with an additional give. Read More >>
TOMS x charity: water - An Eyewer collaboration
TOMS and charity: water, an organization founded in 2006 (like TOMS!) that’s dedicated to to helping bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, join forces for the first-ever TOMS Eyewear collab! Read More >>
Giving TOMS Shoes in the DRC
Founded by Ben Affleck in 2010, ECI is an advocacy and grant-making organization that works with and for the people of DRC, the third most populous country in Africa, and one that struggled under a cycle of violence for nearly 20 years – particularly in the east. Read More >>
“One of the first things I did,” Blake writes in his book, “was to place an ad for interns on craigslist.” And ever since, the internship program has been a crucial part of TOMS. Interns are tasked with a tremendous amount of responsibility. Tthe intern application page states, “You will be important, essential, and you will create change in your world you can point to when you’re done.”
Some interns find their place at TOMS HQ as full-timers, while others go on do amazing things outside of the TOMS family.
The letter below is from a recent internship program alumni, Matt. While climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, he had a “sobering” conversation with his group’s porter, Benson. “As we hiked down, I learned he earns between 1 and 2 dollars a day – not enough to put a child through school.”
Below is an update from Matt and his efforts to help children in Tanzania get an education…
Your book, Start Something That Matters, came out shortly after my internship at TOMS ended in May 2011. I picked up a copy, read it cover to cover, and as expected, put it down feeling incredibly inspired. I’ve had an idea for a company for over a year, and your book was the jump-start I needed to get it off the ground. One thing from your book that resonated with me is how to face your fears. Starting a business can be scary, and reading your quote from Tim Ferris was motivating: “Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you…if its important to you, and you want to do it ‘eventually’ just do it and correct course along the way.”
I wanted to write to you and give you an update on my journey of creating “something that matters.”
While interning at TOMS, I was exposed to things that had never even crossed my mind. I can remember attending “Shoe School,” where we learned how to approach retailers like Nordstrom and how to effectively design a Point of Purchase display. Everyone, from interns to VP’s, was willing to discuss ideas and give feedback. I met with Sean Scott, Chief Shoe Maker, and told him I was working on a business idea, but had trouble finding manufacturers that could make backpacks in the way I wanted. He immediately grabbed his phone and said: “Let me make a few phone calls.” It was so nice to have that support. I have been able to apply much of the knowledge I absorbed at TOMS as the founder ofBenson Backpacks – an initiative that supports a child’s education in Tanzania, Africa with every backpack sold. We just launched in November!
I often talk to people about my experience at TOMS, and explain: “Everyone at TOMS wants to see me succeed, and they’ve helped me in a tremendous way.” Their jaws usually drop and they respond: “There’s a company out there that actually wants to see others succeed?” Whenever that happens, it puts everything into perspective, and reminds me how lucky I am to have interned at TOMS. About 25 backpacks have been purchased by friends at TOMS. So many of them support me through our facebook pageand I continue to be overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve received from the TOMS family.
Now that our website is live, our next steps are to test some of the things that I learned at TOMS; like finding passionate brand ambassadors at high schools and colleges to spread the word about this project on their campus.
I can’t say enough good things about the intern program, and will be forever grateful and proud to say that I’ve been apart of the TOMS family.