When Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS Shoes back in 2006, it’s doubtful he had goals of his product one day being found in a quaint boutique in downtown Noblesville. Likewise, Tammy Daubenspeck, a partial owner of Eleanor Rozella’s, had never dreamed of one day gaining the company as a business partner – at least, not until she saw a commercial explaining the concept.
Daubenspeck recalls watching television with her husband about a year ago when an advertisement for AT&T came on the screen. The commercial briefly explained the story behind TOMS Shoes: for every pair of shoes bought, another pair would go to a child in need. After seeing images of poor Argentinean youths walking barefoot across perilous terrain, Daubenspeck knew she wanted to help. But she just didn’t think she could.
“My husband said, ‘Tammy, you need to get those in your shop,’” she said. “I have to give the credit to my husband.”
Daubenspeck took her spouse’s advice and set out to try to procure the product for her store. She sent Mycoskie pictures of the boutique and explained her desire to give the shoes a place in Noblesville.
“He called me back and said, ‘You are on board.’ I screamed with so much excitement,” she recalled. “We were the first store in Indiana to get them.”
Customers have come from as far away as Fort Wayne seeking the shoes.
“It has brought a lot of people into the store” Daubenspeck said. “You need a pair of shoes anyway. It has improved the lives of children and families all around the world. You can’t beat that.”
Not to mention, it’s a practical product. She says the shoes are her favorite item sold in the boutique.
“They are the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever had on in my life,” said Daubenspeck, who owns four pairs.
Sales for the charitable footwear have been rising since the first shipment.
“It is catching on already, from word getting out,” she said. “The people who have bought these shoes are just good people.”
The TOMS story
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. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers. The company name is derived from the word “tomorrow,” and evolved from the original concept, “Shoes for Tomorrow Project.”
The TOMS shoe design is based on the alpargata style shoe worn by Argentina farmers for hundreds of years. The canvas or cotton fabric shoes have rubber souls and are manufactured in Argentina, China and Ethiopia in many styles including Botas, Cordones, Stichouts and a Wrap Boot for men, women and children. TOMS offers several vegan styles as well.
As of September 2010, TOMS has given over one million pairs of new shoes to children in need through Giving Partners around the world. For more information, visit www.eleanorrozellas.com