Interview + Photos: TOMS Announces One for One Eyewear

With the snip of a lock and the opening of a “mystery box” that had been sealed since SXSW, TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie revealed the next chapter in the Santa Monica-based company’s one-for-one mission: Eyewear.

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“In 2007 after giving away 10,000 shoes, I recognized that the one-for-one model was working but what I also saw in a lot of the villages we went to was that there were many more needs that were not being met,” Mycoskie told a crowd of about 200 fans, supporters and media outside the California Heritage Museum Tuesday morning. “I made a promise to myself that as soon as the business was ready we would use our model to address another need.”

TOMS one-for-one model has provided more than one million shoes for people in need worldwide as a result of more than one million pairs sold via the TOMS website and retail partners including Nordstrom, where TOMS is the number-one selling shoe.

With eyewear, TOMS believes it can have an immediate impact on a solvable issue. For each pair of eyewear sold via toms.com/eyewear or TOMS retail partners, someone will receive either medical help for severe eye diseases, glasses to improve eyesight, or sight-saving surgery, in conjunction with TOMS giving partners, which include the SEVA foundation.

The launch of TOMS next chapter is a great story for the potential of the one-for-one business model and is receiving international headlines as launch events occurred in 90 locations simultaneously this morning. At each location an identical mystery box was opened and nobody — not even the president of Nordstrom — knew for certain what was inside.

The celebration continued into Tuesday night at the Santa Monica Farmers Market space between in the 2600 block of Main (between The Victorian and the California Heritage Museum). Ice cream, pastries, live art, and TOMS sunglasses for sale ($135-145) on site. DJ sets by Garth Trinidad, TOKiMONSTA and Paul Devro and live performances from Lord Huron, and Fool’s Gold.

What’s next for Mycoskie, who launched TOMS out of a Venice apartment in 2006 after succeeding multiple times as a small business entrepreneur? His first turn as an author, “Start Something That Matters” is out in September.

Originally posted at LAist.

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