I had an idea today that I wanted to share with you. I have several pairs of TOMS shoes, but none that I love as much as my very first pair. They are a pair of cordones in “harbor white” canvas. They wore in beautifully, but after a few years now they’re beginning to wear out. I decided to replace them with the exact same pair, but much to my chagrin, they were a seasonal style and nobody (Internet or brick and mortar) still has them… Sad news… But I have done small repairs to them in the past, and so I pulled out the trusty needle and thread to patch them up one more time. (You’re probably starting to get how much I love these shoes).
As I was sewing, I had an idea. I recently funded a kick starter for a company called Flint & Tinder (you should check them out) who are working to re-ignite the American textile industry. The project I funded is called the “ten year hoodie” and is a hoodie they’ve built so well that they will repair it - not replace it, mind you - for ten years… for free.
The idea I had was that TOMS could do something similar. Shoes wear out. That’s a given, and I think it’s generally accepted. But what if we could hang on to them a little bit longer? What if the longer we had them the more they became uniquely our own. Better for the earth, better for us, right?
What if TOMS offered a care program that cost extra (maybe $30? $50? More? Less?) per pair, that allowed us - free of charge - to send in our TOMS so you could patch them up as best you can and send them back? I know I’d sign up!
But wait… There’s something else: what makes TOMS great is its do-good mission… So what if included in the care program was the funding of one simple sewing/repair kit… and/or one sewing lesson for somebody in need? People in need could keep their own shoes a little longer too! Now I know lots of people who would pay extra for that.
Maybe there are bigger logistical challenges to the idea. I’m sure there are, or maybe TOMS has gotten too big to do something so different. But you’ve started changing the world with the work you do, so I thought I’d share my idea with you to hopefully help you to keep doing that.
Thanks for reading.