Compassionate consumerism is growing
As reported in Bloomberg Businessweek, what started with TOMS shoes has blossomed into a phenomenon that retail consultants call compassionate consumerism. In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. This “One for One” concept has been imitated by other manufacturers such as Skechers USA which launched a brand called BOBS. Through its BOBS from SKECHERS program, it unites people across the globe with a single goal: to help children affected by poverty, epidemics and life-changing events. Shoppers in their late twenties and early thirties are especially drawn to these programs since they don’t have the means to make big donations and can help by simply buying shoes.
The trend has expanded to retail locations also. Urban Outfitters stores feature apparel by Threads for Thought, which gives part of its sales proceeds to humanitarian groups. Upscale department store operator Nordstrom, opened Treasure & Bond in New York’s SoHo which is more than just a store, it’s an exciting concept in giving. The store sells apparel and accessories from smaller brands and designers and 100% of its profits go to charities benefitting children in NYC.