What Happened: The one-for-one business model started seven years ago when TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie decided to create a profitable enterprise around giving back to the world with every purchase. TOMS promises to send one pair of shoes to impoverished children with each purchase and gives a portion of profits from each eyewear sale to help save or restore eyesight in developing countries.
The model was not only successful—it was inspirational, giving rise to a growing cadre of charitable for-profit organizations that use the one-for-one model. To help these fledgling enterprises, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based shoe and eyewear company launched TOMS Marketplace, a digital platform on its website that allows users to browse and purchase the latest products from likeminded companies. The new e-commerce initiative represents a “one-stop shop,” as TechCrunch put it, for 30 different socially conscious companies, with TOMS as the focal point.
What This Means for Brands: TOMS has created the foundation of an Amazon or eBay for charitable e-commerce. Likeminded consumers (and those who may just like TOMS products) will flock to the digital site and learn about other one-for-one companies, and in turn gain more insight into the latest from TOMS. The model is the essence of 21st century business, embracing the ideas of collaboration, sharing, technology and common purpose.
For other brands, it is a lesson in how to find common ground with other businesses and how by helping others you ultimately can help yourself.
Contributing to TRENDING items are Jenna Carter, Sarah Gordon, MaryFrances Hicks and Abby Ray.