“China,” she says, as the students sitting nearby pass out onto the floor.
Then we have the give a man a fish or teach a man to fish discussion, which I undoubtedly flub up and say, “It really comes down to the give a fish or teach a fish discussion.” (And really, if we could teach fish to jump in the boat isn’t that the best solution? The company covers healthcare costs and sends the workers’ kids to school.
) Then I have to get the analogy back on track and bring it home with the example of the Ethiopian shoe company, Sole Rebels. It’s a universal truth that garment workers and shoemakers don’t want their kids to grow up to be garment workers and an education can ensure that.
The young Ethiopian woman who founded Sole Rebels, Bethlehem Tilahun and I discussed TOMS.
TOMS has taken many of the questions I and others have posed very seriously and are rethinking their model.
They are opening a “responsible and sustainable” shoe factory in Haiti to provide opportunities/job to Haitians.
They also plan on manufacturing their “giving shoes” in the countries where they are given.
These are very positive moves in the right direction. And kudos to all of the brave souls willing to speak out about how the TOMS brand could be used to make a real and lasting impact on our world.
“Can anyone think of a brand that will talk about the workers who make their products and seeks to make a positive impact on the workers’ lives?
” I often ask this question when I talk to students across the country.
The students look around the room before finally someone raises their hand, and, even though I’ve told them 10 times already that there is no need to raise your hand, they’ll say… ” Most students have heard of TOMS shoes and their Buy One Give One (BOGO) model — when you buy a pair of shoes they give a pair to some poor kid in some far corner of the world who doesn’t have shoes. ” This is when things get a little socially awkward. Studies show that someone wearing TOMS is 10 times more likely to have stinky feet.
Usually a few pair of students are wearing TOMS and they slowly begin to nod like they are contestants on Family Feud and grandpa just gave a good answer. Reluctantly the student slips off her shoe and searches for a tag.