I’m going to get serious with you for a moment.
If you go back as little as two years ago, I wouldn’t have known how to answer the question, “What kind of company is TOMS?” It’s sad, but I wouldn’t have known who you were or what you sold. I wouldn’t have understood your mission statement of One for One, or valued One Day Without Shoes. Honestly, I wouldn’t have even thought about trying on a pair, let alone buying a pair of your shoes, simply because I didn’t think they were “my thing.”
Putting all that aside, the root of my problem was skepticism. How was I supposed to know if you were actually giving a pair of shoes to a child in need? It could have been an extremely clever marketing scheme, or only happened once and you made it your slogan.
But I’ll admit I was wrong, and I’ll tell you how I eventually fell in love with TOMS.
During my time at High Point University, I wrote an article about a classmate who was selected to go on one of your Giving Trips and hand deliver the shoes you promised your buyers you’d give to needy children. After doing extensive research on your company and talking with this girl who was so passionate about your mission, I realized I had been missing out on an opportunity to be a part of something more than just shoes.
Now, let’s jump ahead about a year. It was June 14, 2013 and I had wandered into Journeys with no direct purchasing plan in mind…until I saw the TOMS display. I walked over, tried on a pair, and instantly realized this is what I had been missing all my life. These shoes and I were meant to be together, and I spent 21 years of my life missing out on this joy. After sitting on the decision a few hours – look, a girl can never be too careful with her spending money – I decided I had to go back and get them. The rest is history.
It started with one, but it quickly grew to four, then six, and now eight. Of course, I’m confident that number will grow because I have 12 other pairs on my birthday list this year. They also happen to be the only items on my birthday list.
I was so TOMS crazy after my first pair that I even bought a pair of canvas TOMS to hand decorate for my wedding. I wore them for my entire reception and throughout my honeymoon. After a week in Florida, I had a TOMS tan line on my foot, and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon.
Oh, and while I’m at it, your shoes are the only style I can wear without foot pain. I have Achilles tendonitis, and for years I thought the only kind of shoe I could wear was tennis shoes. After I realized I was pain free in your shoes, I started wondering why I didn’t buy them sooner and I’ve been tennis shoe free for casual day wear for almost a year.
So basically, what I’m trying to say is I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the skepticism of your cause and mission. I hate that I would turn my nose up at your shoes, simply because I was too afraid to just try on a pair. In about 10 months, I went from not knowing your brand at all to making it a goal to always compliment people on their TOMS and participating in One Day Without Shoes every single year.
Now, I couldn’t imagine a single day without my TOMS. So please, don’t stop making amazing shoes, because as long as you sell them, I will buy them – I promise.
An Open TOMSaholic
Cover image courtesy of Sarah Laval
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