TOMS and Target Teaming Up to Help Others and Polish Their Images


Target and TOMS are teaming up this holiday season on a collection with numerous gift options for yourself or to help others in need as well as polish both of their tarnished images. Their “do-gooding partnership” will include traditional TOMS footwear, apparel and home goods. The special, limited-edition holiday line will debut Sunday, Nov. 16, at Target and online.

TOMS has built its reputation on donating goods to the needy for each purchase made of their products. Target has had other collaborative initiatives that supporting food banks and other charities, and also donates a percentage of store projects to local schools.

Following suit, Target will donate a blanket, meals or shoes (depending on the item) for each item purchased from the TOMS for Target collection to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief, Canadian Red Cross Disaster Relief, Feeding America and Food Banks Canada. “Target has existing partnerships with these charities,” commented TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie. “It was a natural fit.” According to the companies, they expect the holiday shopping (and giving) initiative to provide at least 11 million items or meals for those in need.

That sense of giving and making purchases that benefit others will undoubtedly inspire some sales. But, the fact that the approximately 50 items for men, women, children and the home are attractive and all priced below $50 will certainly help the products move quickly.

TOMS built its brand through their basic canvas shoes (and now eyeglasses) and their “One for One” commitment to provide a needy child with a pair for every pair it sells. The Target version of the TOMS line includes their iconic slip-on shoes in new fabrics for men, women and children ($32-38 for children and $48 for adults). But, it also includes a number of new products. “Every item from the collection is unique to the collaboration and was created special for Target,” according to Mycoskie. “The collection also includes a number of products we have never sold before, including blankets and picture frames.”

For women, the clothing items include a cozy gray poncho for $28 and an off-white denim jacket for $40. For men, there is a blue denim shirt for $30 and a navy anorak jacket for $40. Adult T-shirts are $16 and shoes $48. For children, there is a hoodie for $22 and a beanie for $10. Other household items include a journal/pen set for $18 and fringe throws for $30.

Both companies have a lot invested in the deal. Target is trying to repair its tarnished reputation from a massive data breach of customer credit information that made the last holiday season bah-humbug. The company had to resort to discounts on everything in the store mid-December to draw in shoppers. Target’s CEO Brian Cornell summed it up for 14,000 employees gathered for the company’s annual meeting, “We need to be cool again.”

TOMS is trying to show they are still cool, too. The company had a hip, socially conscious reputation, and has provided 35 million pairs of shoes to children in 60 countries. However, TOMS sold 50 percent interest in itself to Bain Capital earlier this year. Bain is the private-equity company co-founded by Mitt Romney. The deal reportedly netted TOMS about $625 million. While Bain promised to continue the One for One charitable efforts, the sale has spawned accusations of selling out.

While it remains to be seen what impact the TOMS deal will have and if Target is back on track, their teaming up this holiday season will surely help others and polish both firms’ images. And, as Mycoskie put it, every purchase from the collection will “do good, providing nourishment, warmth and shoes” for someone in need.

By Dyanne Weiss

TOMS for Target
Wall Street Journal

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