Yesterday, everyone’s favorite give-back company, TOMS, took its e-commerce game to the next level by launching a new online marketplace. Highlighting the work of “social entrepreneurs,” TOMS Marketplace features products made in a socially responsible manner, broadening its own “Give One, Get One” creed by recognizing and selling products made by companies that give back in a multitude of ways.
And this isn’t your run-of-the-mill, sacrifice-style-for-the-greater-good type of stuff, either. Nope, TOMS Marketplace is selling gorgeous boho-babe bags by Cleobella, nautical-insipred backpacks and iPad cases by Stone + Cloth, kits from Jessica Alba‘s wellness line, The Honest Company, great stackable rings, and more.
We caught up with TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, on the heels of the launch to chat about his latest endeavor.
StyleCaster: Why is now the right time for TOMS to launch an online marketplace?
Blake Mycoskie: The TOMS Marketplace is a disruptive new business idea coming at exactly the right time. We’ve been talking about for a couple of years, and the idea really started to crystallize when my book Start Something That Matters came out. I kept hearing from so many social entrepreneurs about how TOMS had inspired them. I remember being in that position. When TOMS was younger, we had received such incredible support from more established brands such as Ralph Lauren, AT&T and Theory and now, with TOMS being in a similar position to help, Marketplace was born.
SC: How did you choose the companies and the products featured in the online marketplace?
BM: We chose companies that have either been inspired by TOMS or inspire us. Once we had a list of potential partners, we went through a vetting process and chose the featured brands based on their business practices and giving philosophies.
SC: Are consumers willing to pay more for products made by socially responsible companies that are giving back?
BM: I think so – I think that consumers who know that their purchase will be helping another person are more inclined to buy products with a give back or have a social component.
SC: What are your favorite products available in the marketplace?
BM: I really like Rose & Fitzgerald’s handmade products – the product looks amazing and supports local artisans in Uganda. Krochet Kids intl. is another fun company started by three young guys who learned how to crochet in high school and took that passion to create their brand, which now employs more than 180 women in Uganda, providing them with consistent income, skills training and mentorship.
SC: How do you see the marketplace evolving over time?
BM: The TOMS Marketplace is here to stay season to season and isn’t just a promotion we are doing for the holidays. The plan is to feature new companies and their products each season using the TOMS Marketplace as a platform to share their product and brand story through our site.