The Problem With Toms

The Problem With Toms

Is One- For- One sustainable?
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We all love our cute and trendy Tom's shoes, the very basic but versatile canvas shoes, with dozens of patterns ranging from stripes, dots, and even cats- Americans love these seemingly charitable shoes. With the company's worth estimated at $625 million, it is easy to see that we love products that make us feel good about ourselves.

But just how much "good" are we actually doing? Tom's famous "one for one" model may seem like a innovative idea, but it has been harshly criticized by economists, who claim this model of donation could actually cause harm to countries receiving the donations.

The idea is that donations from other countries can do major harm to local economy; for example, a local store owner who sells and repairs shoes has fewer sales because his customers were given free shoes from Tom's, which can create a dangerous dependence on foreign aid.


In fact, a study done in El Salvador in 2016 performed by professor Bruce Wydick of San Francisco proved Tom's shoes had no positive impact on foot health, shoe ownership (old shoes were just thrown away), or even self- esteem.

This may sound selfish, of course we want to help developing countries with much needed supplies, but rather than outright giving them these products, we need to assist them in stimulating growth of their local economies to become financially independent and prosperous without foreign aid.

Since Tom's shoes tend to be directed into the most poverty- stricken areas, we realize that shoes are probably not the first thing we ought to worry about for these recipients, you can not eat shoes, nor can you cure a treatable disease with a pair of canvas loafers.

Of course Founder Blake Mycoskie means well, as a person he has proved to be caring and charitable, but his so called "charity" has no significant impact on poverty.


Not only is this model ineffective in ending the cycle of poverty abroad, but quite frankly consumers are being duped. Tom's shoes, made of only rubber and canvas, sometimes suede material, cost $9 to make. Let me repeat myself, $9. Meanwhile we pay anywhere from $44- $150 for these kicks. So even if we were to buy two pairs, one for us, and one for an underprivileged child in Ghana, we may only spend $20- $25 for the shoes and shipping costs.

If you're feeling charitable, one of the best options you can choose is actually donating money. None of us want to hear that- but the reality is developing countries need clean water, food, and access to education and healthcare more than they need a pair of shoes.


Cover Image Credit: Toms

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8 Things You Need To Know About Selling On Redbubble

Everyone buys their stickers from Redbubble, but have you ever wanted to be the one making them?
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As someone who loves to fool around in Photoshop and Illustrator, I saw Redbubble as a chance to flex my skills as a graphic designer. The massive popularity of them provided me with an opportunity to make a little money on the side doing something I not only enjoyed but could do when the mood struck me. It seemed like a win-win, but there were a few things I wish I knew before I started making stickers.

1. Don't expect to be rolling in dough.

It took a month and maybe 10 different designs before I sold any of my stickers. I joined in October of 2017, and I have sold about 20 stickers.

2. Redbubble stickers are expensive for a reason.

At this point, I have sold about 20 stickers which may seem like a lot, until you find out how much I make per sticker. The artist sets how much they make after Redbubble’s share, so artists can set it as low as 0% profit (which means the sticker sells for $2.29).

3. Buying 10 and getting 50% off is great when you're the one buying the stickers...

...but it sucks when you’re the one selling them. I make an average of 20% per sticker, so when you buy my $2.75 sticker for $1.38, I only make 23¢.

4. Make things you would buy.

If there’s something you want to buy, but it doesn’t exist, make it. Keep in mind as well that if you wouldn't buy it, odds are that not too many other people would.

5. Try to offer variations.

You might make a design in blue and love it, but consider offering it in different colors. Someone might love the design but hate the color.

6. Make your designs as versatile as possible.

Redbubble is primarily known for its stickers, but your designs can be put on anything from a poster to a wall clock. Take advantage of that because more expensive items mean you make more for the same design when they sell.

7. Keywords are KEY.

You want your designs to be as visible as possible, so take advantage of all the tools they give you. Try to tag your design with anything that might relate to it; you want it to pop up in as many tags as possible.

8. Do your research.

If you are interested in making something, search one of the keywords and see how many results there are for it. Sometimes there is a need, and you can fill it.

I have enjoyed my time on Redbubble nonetheless, and I recommend it to anyone who likes to design or draw. It’s certainly not a good way to get rich quick, but I enjoy it. Every time someone purchases one of my stickers, I feel this rush of pride in knowing someone liked something that I designed. That's a big reason why I continue to put designs on Redbubble.



Cover Image Credit: Meagan McDowell

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5 Reasons For Running An E-Commerce Site

As a business owner you understand the importance of catering to your customers wishes

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As a business owner, you understand the importance of catering to your customer's wishes. By providing the products or services that your customers want you are creating happy customers that will eagerly purchase from you time and time again.

Have you thought about offering your customers a more convenient way to purchase your products or services? What I mean by this is have you looked at providing your customers with the opportunity to purchase online?

People love to shop online these days. It is convenient and can be done at any time of the day or night. This is a great business model to utilize if your business model allows for it.

So why should you consider offering an e-commerce solution via your website? The following top reasons should persuade you to at least consider this model.

1. A way to help increase your bottom line.

Allowing your customers to order or download products online will increase your revenue. This is especially true if your website is already popular. Adding a convenient option such as an online store allows you to showcase your most popular products. In addition, it is a great way to run special offers and discounts.

2. An online store provides your customers with convenience.

Your customers can order at any time and they don't have to travel to your store to do so. If your business is small and consists of smaller items an e-commerce store can dramatically reduce your costs versus the standard brick and mortar store.

3. Depending upon your products or services an online store allows you to broaden your reach.

You could potentially reach customers around the world. On top of this, you can make use of the popularity of social media and advertise your business there.

4. Setting up an e-commerce store is very easy and affordable.

Depending upon your needs you have various options from using a free plug-in such as Woo commerce or using something more detailed such as Infusionsoft.

5. This reason is huge and could almost be your tipping point.

An e-commerce store allows you to tap into the mobile market. Just take a look around you and see how many people carry some type of mobile device with them.

Overall adding an e-commerce store to your current business can help you increase your revenue and your profits. It will allow you to expand your market reach and provide you with a method of tapping into the mobile user market.

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