I’ve spent a lot of time writing about TOMS shoes since I started FFG. I’ve done this for two reasons: 1. I absolutely love their shoes and 2. I am blown away by what the brand stands for. TOMS is all about the “One for One” movement in which each purchased pair of shoes equals a pair of shoes that is given to a child in need. To date, this has meant that well over 1,000,000 shoes have been given to children around the world. And it’s all because of one man, the founder Blake Mycoskie. TOMS has inspired so many of us to look at how we can change our businesses to not only outfit people in great fashions but also change the world around us in doing so. However, it seems Blake Mycoskie and TOMS are not yet satisfied with their amazing impact on communities around the world. They are taking their brilliant idea and expanding.
This time around Blake Mycoskie has decided he wants to move from feet to face and concentrate on outfitting the globe in stylish sunglasses while also addressing a serious problem with blindness and visual impairment around the world. For each pair of TOMS sunglasses purchased, Blake and TOMS will make sure one person is given the gift of sight whether that be through medical treatment, prescription glasses or sight-saving surgery. To say I was floored when I first read this would be a massive understatement. But there’s more… I learned a lot after reading about the new line from TOMS and here are some interesting key facts which will show you exactly how important this whole program is (all taken from the TOMS website):
- Blindness and visual impairment is the seventh-largest health disability in the world. But in most cases it can be prevented or treated. In fact, available solutions, including medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses or a 15-minute cataract surgery, could impact 80% of people afflicted with vision impairment and blindness.
- Of the nearly 284 million people in the world who are visually impaired, almost 90% live in developing countries. It’s a vicious cycle — poverty and disease can lead to vision loss. And blindness and poor vision keep people trapped in poverty.
- More than 18 million children around the world suffer from blindness or impaired vision. Children who have trouble seeing are often unable to go to or succeed in school, and have fewer chances to achieve a productive and successful life.
- Many of the solutions to blindness and visual impairment can be immediate. If it’s a pair of eyeglasses or medical treatment that’s needed, patients are treated on the spot. Those needing eye surgery are referred immediately so their vision can be restored within just a few days.
So just a suggestion as the sun has finally resurfaced in London… take a moment and consider buying a pair of TOMS sunglasses and thinking about the fact that everytime you wear them, someone else is wearing a pair of glasses that is changing their life…because of your purchase. That’s a pretty powerful moment and one that I’ll cherish all summer as I slip mine on. It’s also why I’ve bought one pair for each of my closest friends to gift for the summer months ahead. I can’t imagine a better present or a better feeling in giving.