Is anyone else annoyed by Tom's shoes?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by J Darnielle, Jul 10, 2009.

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  1. akatsuki

    akatsuki Senior member

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    Sounds like Apolis, (Red) and a couple other companies/promotions that are out there.
     


  2. blackderbyhat

    blackderbyhat Active Member

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  3. FidelCashflow

    FidelCashflow Senior member

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    I'm annoyed by most peoples shoes
     


  4. ruben

    ruben Senior member

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    I find oversensitive e-assholes far more grating.
     


  5. TotesMcGotes

    TotesMcGotes Senior member

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    Blake, the owner, came and spoke at The University of Texas and I attended for extra credit in a marketing class. I didn't really care too much for the shoes but his message was pretty solid. If i remember correctly he said that this summer they are going to drop off around 2.5 million shoes. And in regards to them falling apart, Tom's actually partners up with local aid organizations when they drop the shoes off and they provide thousands of replacements for the children when they wear the shoes out or grow out of them. Hate on the guys appearance and the way the shoes look all you want, he is making somewhat of a difference for these kids.
     


  6. Mark it 8

    Mark it 8 Senior member

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    Tom's shoes isnt doing anything different than any other corporation in the US. They are taking a tax write off, but instead of donating money they are donating goods and exploiting the hell out of it. The reason those shoes are so obnoxious looking is so they are recognizable. People can wear them around and discreetly say "look at me and my obnoxious shoes- I gave shoes to a poor kid. Arent I great?" This is pretty funny because it is much more efficient to donate to charity, but of course, there wouldnt be a badge of honor to wear.
     


  7. riverrun

    riverrun Senior member

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    Pretty interesting. Sort of the type of business model that those INSEAD professors who wrote Blue Ocean Strategy have an obsession about - the company sells totally unoriginal products (TOMS are admittedly a direct copy of a traditional design) but grows rapidly at what I'd have to guess are high margins and very high returns on capital bc they are clever on the demand side and found / created relatively uncontested market space. In contrast to most footwear co's, their ad spend is probably very low bc the shoe drop / philanthropy side of the organization basically generates the advertising as free publicity.

    Clearly the high margins and returns on capital due to the philanthropic element are what don't sit well with people, but what's the alternative that would be preferable - TOMS takes lower margins (eg by giving more free shoes to shoeless kids per shoe purchased or spending much more on construction / materials) voluntarily? To spend more on construction would probably be counterproductive past a point - kids outgrow shoes quickly and donating something basic and utilitarian, not prized or potentially the target of theft, is probably more efficient. They do supposedly make a point of trying to identify groups of children that they can work with on a repeat basis bc the recipients outgrow the shoes in like 6 months.

    And if people would prefer they give away more shoes, that's nice, but it's sort of a vote with your wallet situation. By making some kind of humanitarian instinct into a fashion symbol that people can purchase, they sort of earn the right to make whatever profit on that they can and, to the extent they want to reinvest those profits in something philanthropic (more shoes or something else entirely), that is more or less their own prerogative (as it is any business owner's prerogative to give away profits or keep them). If the business grows to a scale where it is, or appears, too profitable, there is probably a trade off between undermining the "brand" and lowering the returns, so at some point they probably have to demonstrate they are continuing to grow the philanthropic side seriously enough the keep people who buy the slippers feeling good about themselves and about the company.

    I think the demand for looking like humanitarian, compassionate people without taking too much independent initiative is sustainable and probably going to be a source of profit opportunities for a long time. Whether TOMS shoes are too faddish to capitalize on that for too much longer is, I think, trickier to forecast.
     


  8. riverrun

    riverrun Senior member

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    I bet the tax point made above is right on - you probably have to think about margins on a net, not operating, basis, bc a large portion of what is really the company's ad spend is recouped through lower tax expense.
     


  9. antirabbit

    antirabbit Senior member

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    I guess you put a "cause for kids" behind any product, you can sell anything.

    Lets make something clear....the reason they target college age is they do not have fully formed logic, hence they dont really consider the fact that our feet were not made for shoes in the first place. Plus they tend to be so insulated from reality that any emotional appeal is answered by the collage kid "we can save the world, one pair of shoes at a time". FUCK. Apparently, Tom just put these philanthropic shoe giving trips in his business plan as part of his operating margin or something.

    I think its brilliant....sell ugly shoes that cost $.25 a pair to make for $40.00, $2.00 from every pair buys a trip to Argentina to give away $.25 shoes to kids who "need them". I need to think up some crazy ass scheme like this.
    Oh, those are some seriously ugly shoes.
     


  10. riverrun

    riverrun Senior member

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    Lets make something clear....the reason they target college age is they do not have fully formed logic

    No I think it's because they are an especially fertile source of
    the demand for looking like humanitarian, compassionate people without taking too much independent initiative
     


  11. Mark it 8

    Mark it 8 Senior member

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    ^^^ Yeah, how about you sell colored bracelets or something that people can wear? Oh shit ... that's already been done (of course, most of those organizations were charitable and just passed profits through rather than keeping them.) Hroi, you make good points. I dont disparage Tom's for making a profit- I disparage them for making it look as if that is not the principle mission. Of course, you are right, a tangible product is being donated. However, this is much less efficient than individuals simply buying ugly ass $20 shoes and donating the other $20 to charity. Toms is trading on (and making a profit on) people's inherent desire for recognition as "socially conscious." People argue that well at least Tom's is doing something... um, well, again, Tom's isnt doing anything that any other profitable corporation in the US isnt doing- they are just doing it in a much more inefficient manner, and often to a lesser extent. This doesnt make Tom's a bad company, but lets at least call a spade a spade.
     


  12. willpower

    willpower Senior member

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    I'm not so much annoyed as I am irritated.
     


  13. racknac

    racknac Senior member

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    their headquarters is right by my work... its like this little run-down warehouse. Seems like a cool laid back environment to work in.
     


  14. rockanascot

    rockanascot New Member

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    I purchased some Black/Black burlap Toms and after 2 weeks, they were fraying and after 3 weeks, the entire heel is separating from the rest of the shoe (sorry...both shoes).

    I hope the cute poor kid with the amazing smile (who was surely the beneficiary of my shoe purchase) doesn't do a lot of walking. Or maybe he can alternate walking in them for a few minutes and then carrying them for a few hours to ensure they last through the month.
    [​IMG]
     


  15. sho'nuff

    sho'nuff grrrrrrrr!!

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    I purchased some Black/Black burlap Toms and after 2 weeks, they were fraying and after 3 weeks, the entire heel is separating from the rest of the shoe (sorry...both shoes).

    I hope the cute poor kid with the amazing smile (who was surely the beneficiary of my shoe purchase) doesn't do a lot of walking. Or maybe he can alternate walking in them for a few minutes and then carrying them for a few hours to ensure they last through the month.


    [​IMG]
     


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