Inside the Buy-One Give-One Model

The buy-one give-one model is not only a viable way to create both commercial and social value, but a model of social entrepreneurship that is likely to increase in prevalence and power in the coming years.

Since the inception of TOMS Shoes in 2006, the buy-one give-one business model has been widely embraced (and criticized) by consumers and businesses alike as an effective model for creating both commercial and social value. Blake Mycoskie founded the for-profit TOMS after a visit to Argentina, where he met children who were so poor that they had no shoes. Inspired to help, Mycoskie designed a shoe after the common Argentinian alpargata, and pledged that for each pair sold, TOMS would donate a...

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1 Christopher Marquis and Laura Velez Villa, “Warby Parker: Vision of a ‘Good’ Fashion Brand,” HBS No. 413-051, Harvard Business School Publishing, 2012.
2 Frederick F. Reichheld & W. Earl Sasser Jr., “Zero Defections: Quality Comes to Services,” Harvard Business Review, September-October 1990.
3 Cotten Timberlake, “Skechers Chases Toms Seeking to Woo Do-Good Millennials: Retail,” Bloomberg Businessweek, August 2, 2012.