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My girlfriend recently bought TOMS shoes, and with it came a certificate saying that the company would donate a pair of shoes to a person in need because SHE bought a pair of shoes for herself. When she told me about this company, I thought it was a wonderful idea. So I did a little research on the buy-one-give-one model, and found that there’s actually quite a few companies out there that do this.

The reason that this model works is not because these companies donate products to people in need, but instead donate something more, like an ability to receive an education. I will explain this concept later with examples. The reason why I really love this model is because these companies are for-profit organizations, but still have a not-for-profit feel. These companies are still preoccupied with making money. But the more sales they have, the more they can help out.

I think this raises a company’s brand image, and allows it to be positioned as a premium product. This also allows the organization to charge higher prices, because consumers are willing to pay more to help humanity. There are many companies out there that adopt this model. Here are a few examples:


Toms created a fad with their shoes, and now are moving into the eye-wear market. The reason why TOMS is so popular is because they created a philanthropic brand image around their company. Every time someone buys a pair of TOMS shoes, they donate a pair to someone in need. And every time someone buys a pair of TOMS sunglasses, they create sight for someone in need.

TOMS adopts this model in order for children in need to receive an education. Without proper eye-care, some children would not be able to attend school, and receive an education. Same thing for footwear. Without proper footwear, children can develop infections and get sick. Healthy children are better students, and receive a better education.

Warby Parker

This was a company that I hadn’t heard of before. This company sells eyeglasses. When you buy a pair, Warby Parker provides funding and/or glasses to non-profit partners. These partners then train entrepreneurs in developing countries to start their own businesses selling glasses. These entrepreneurs can then sell affordable glasses to individuals that could previously not afford purchasing them.

I like this model, because in providing all of this support, Warby Parker creates jobs in developing countries, and as well helps individuals that need better eyesight; this can improve productivity, and improve a child’s education.


I’ve seen FIGS ties before. However, I did not know that they adopted the one-for-one model. FIGS sells premium ties, bow ties, and scarves made from the finest silks, cashmere, and woollens. What I like about this model is that every time someone purchases one of its products, FIGS donates a school uniform to an underprivileged child. Without proper uniforms, some children cannot attend school and receive an education

Brand Image

I do believe adopting this one-for-one model can increase a company’s brand image. And it is a good way for a profit company to increase their social responsibility. Not all companies that want to make a change in humanity have to be a not-for-profit. Profitable companies can make as much good as non-profits by adopting innovative business models like a buy-one-give-one model. What are some other companies that could adopt this model?