Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2009
"Toms Shoes' model is sell a pair, give a pair away"
Here's the article's spin: Serial entrepreneur establishes a business selling casual shoes - for every pair bought, another pair is given away to someone in need living in poor regions of the U.S., Argentina, Ethiopia and South Africa. So far Toms Shoes has given away 140,000 pairs of shoes. This year, TS is on track to donate 300,000 pairs of shoes, bring in $13 million in sales and work toward the goal of eradicating podoconiosis in Ethiopia, a deforming foot disease caused by walking barefoot in silica-rich soil. So far, the company has turned only a marginal profit. They have to sell about 1 million pairs of shoes a year to be really profitable. He hasn't taken on any outside investors. Pretty cool idea.
Now, I ask the FohBoh community, could this model work in the restaurant business or other facet of the food delivery supply chain? By US companies? Others? With millions starving to death or malnourished in spite of billions given away for domestic & foreign aid, maybe a "buy a meal, give one away free" model could be a force, even paying for workers to ensure that the meals actually reach people and not corrupt governments/military?
The goal: feed people for a profit - and take most of the profit to feed those starving and return what's left to socially driven investors. Like restaurants? Food distributors? Food manufacturers? Farmers? FohBoh'ists?
What do you think?