Toms, the pioneer of the one-for-one Toms shoe model, has expanded its 'buy one, give one' business policy to eyewear.
For every pair of Toms eyewear purchased, prescription glasses, sight-saving medical treatment, or surgery will be provided to someone in the developing world who does not currently have access to vision care.
Toms is partnering with what it calls a Sight Giving Partner, the Seva Foundation, which will administer the actual eye programs. Previously, Toms founder Blake Mycoskie was much more hands on - personally delivering shoes provided to children in the developing world through its one-for-one program, which brought 1 million pairs of shoes to the U.S., Argentina, Ethiopia and South Africa.
What we've seen with our shoes is that they really help people with two basic needs: education and being able to work and have a livelihood, Mycoskie told Fast Company. As I traveled around the world, I started to see more people who were visually impaired or blind living these desolate experiences. As I started asking question about what they needed, it was so simple. They either needed glasses, cataract surgery, or medical treatment.
..as Toms grows, he added, it has to be less about 'What's Blake's most intimate, joyful experience?' and more about 'What's the great need?'
The sunglasses are available for purchase beginning today, for $135 and up.
Los Angeles Times described the scene at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica, where Mycoskie announced the expansion Tuesday morning, as part rock concert, part political rally. The gruffly handsome, big-hearted Mycoskie has won widespread admiration for his grassroots entrepreneurial efforts - which began in 1997 with a laundry service so successful that he dropped out of college to run it. A subsequent billboard company was sold to Clear Channel, followed by a couple of hits and misses.
Mycoskie and his sister appeared together on the reality competition show Amazing Race. His travels connected to the competition (they placed third) ultimately inspired Toms shoes.
Mycoskie also keeps an inspirational blog called Start Something That Matters, where he offers guidance to future charitable entrepreneurs and reports on his many global adventures.