Ok... Friends... I love TOMS. A lot. I just need you to know that before you read my rant.
When I graduated from college (when Toms was a baby company) I applied to grad. schools, interviewed for jobs, and a TOMS internship. I love love loved that place. Anyways, I got the internship but ended up turning it down for graduate school. Needless to say it didn't stop my adoration at all... I still have multiple pairs and even got my first pair of wedges this past Christmas! Just last night, some of our friends were mocking TOMS and I got a little defensive on their behalf!
All that to say... I've been a HUGE fan and supporter for a while now.
TOMS has built an empire of faithful followers based on its stylish footwear and their 1 for 1 deal (you buy a pair, they'll give a pair to a child in need). Here's the thing though - I think they're getting a little too big for their britches.
Hear me out...
I have been counting down the days for TOMS Ballet Flats to make their arrival into the world (& thus into my closet), but when I went to check 'em out this morning and saw these beauties...
...My mouth dropped at their price: $74-84. WHAT?!!!? For flats? That aren't orthopedic? That can't make you fly? That are made of burlap/linen? Come on. You have got to be kidding me.
I thought the same thing with their sun glasses last year - but excused my shock at the cost because I NEVER buy expensive sun glasses because I know they'll just end up getting squished by my bum in my car (happens EVERY time).
But still - I'm noticing a pattern. New TOMS items are being released at a higher price. What??? & Why??
A few questions for Blake Bycoskie, TOMS CEO:
Why in the world are you charging $80 for a shoe when you can still make them and do the 1 for 1 deal at $48?
How much of the profit actually goes to those in need? (don't get me wrong, I'm ok with you making a buck or two - but for real... don't get greedy and still play the 'We're humanitarians' card.)
Are you trying to pretend to be elitist and forsake the people who made you popular?
The Mister called me this morning on his way to work and I immediately told him the cost of the shoes and he said, "Maybe its time to be done with Toms?" and as sad as that made me... I'm beginning to wonder if he's right! He, too, is a lover of Toms - but we've got to draw the line somewhere.
I'm all about companies making a profit and still giving back to the global society - but if I want an $80 pair of shoes, they're going to be shoes that I can wear in the rain, made of legitimate material, give me arch support, and will last me 3 years (Clarks anyone?).
And I'm just not ok with TOMS leaving their support base and trying to make their products "elite" - ESPECIALLY considering our economy and how the middle class is shrinking. I bet if they surveyed their initial fan base that got them to where they are today they wouldn't find a bunch of rich hipster brats. Nope, it'd be the every day college/grad student, the normal hip mom/dad, the family who loves the 1 for 1 approach.
Ok rant over... but Blake Mycoskie, give us back what TOMS used to be & you'll have my loyalty again. But for now, you have a customer that looks upon her favorite shoe producer with suspicion and doubt.