Mar 17 2011

the one for one model [day 295]

Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS shoes, was a keynote speaker this year at SXSW.  Not only was it incredible to hear his story, but just to hear the magnitude of positive change his company has created in the world.  Here’s the best part.  Blake made this statement at the end of his talk.

“From this day forward, TOMS is no longer a shoe company. It’s a one-for-one company.  Our next step is meeting those needs around the world.”

Yes, TOMS is now a one-for-one company.  In June, they’re launching their next product.  You buy one, somebody in need gets one.  It’s a for profit model, and an extremely successful one.  I have to say here that I would love to go out and buy a pair of TOMS shoes.  With my one year of no retail shopping, unfortunately that’s not an option.  If I buy them used, a person in need will not get a new pair of shoes, however, even in the secondary market, good can still be done.

  • If I get them at a thrift store, that money goes to charity.
  • If I wear them, I’m marketing TOMS and this one-for-one model.
  • If I buy them used, paying less than retail, I’ve saved money that I can donate to one of my favorite charities.

How else can we apply the 1-for-1 model?

I’ve been pondering this question for a few days now.  I don’t know how anyone can hear the TOMS story and not wonder how we can all be a part of it.  TOMS is obviously onto something here.  I have a few ideas of how this could be applied in other ways to benefit TOMorrow.   Continue reading


Oct 14 2010

toms shoes vs. bobs skechers. for real?! [day 141]

I would have loved to be in the brainstorming meeting when the Skechers people thought this was a good idea…

Exactly copying Toms Shoes, marketing program and compassion program?  Why?  The compassion part is understandable if they are wanting to make a difference.  Not if they’re just wanting to compete to make a profit.  Compassion marketing is the hot thing these days, as I blogged on a couple of weeks ago, and I’m not against it, nor am I against Skechers making money, but their motive seems shady to me.

Brainstorming meeting.

It might have gone something like this…

[marketing dude] “Toms has a great concept and they’re selling a lot of shoes.  We need a product line to compete with them.”

[design chick] “Why don’t we make some fun canvas type shoes.  We can make them in many styles and colors.”

[other marketing guru] “Yes, Toms is doing this great thing where they give a pair of shoes to someone in need for each pair someone buys.”

[everyone] Hours later…  no revolutionary ideas.  Continue reading


Jul 30 2010

humanitarian photographer [day 63 & 64]

I went to the Echo conference this week at Watermark Church.  (#echo10 on Twitter)  As I was looking at the list of speakers, I noticed many good ones, but one stood out to me.

I’m not sure if it was her quirky photo or the words ‘humanitarian photographer’ that got my attention, maybe both, but I was curious about Esther Haven.  Of all of the breakout sessions available, I was most excited about going to hers, and let me say, it was no disappointment.   Through her own experiences, she shared things that every photographer should know and consider when taking photos of people.  It’s not about just taking a photo, it’s about getting to know the people in the photographs.  I took some sporadic notes in her session, as I was completely captured by her images and had to actually remember to put the pen to paper.

Take a look at her website.  estherhavens.com Here’s one of her amazing photos.

Here are some of my notes, which probably contain more questions than anything, but are some very important things to ponder.

what kind of pics r we taking?

think about being in their shoes.  how do they feel about you taking their photo?  have you interacted with them?

negative and positive of stories, choose how to portray each

what is our job when we take missions pics?  do we stop and help?  do we get involved?  minister to them?

being a photojournalist, do not alter the story, record the story.  don’t move them or set situations.

why are you taking photos?  are you trying to tell a story?  do you want to communicate to change something?  are you taking photos just for you?

how does God see the people you’re photographing?

we are not our circumstance.

ask your subjects how they want to be portrayed?

how does God see this person and their story?  we can help them through photos?

what is our motivation for taking the photo?  is it to get a good photo that you like or to communicate a story?

look up wiki on humanitarian

good stories or good neighbors?  it’s about the relationships.

be a voice for people.  listen to the people

give the camera to the kids or to the people

awareness without action is pointless

it’s not just a job, it’s a ministry

Here’s an example she used in her session.  Kevin Carter, a Pulitzer prize winner for this photo in 1994, didn’t stop to help this starving child.  Shortly after, Kevin ended up committing suicide, the note he left behind saying how he was haunted by the things he had seen.

Her session really made me rethink about the way I do photography.  I do take pictures to communicate a story, but I don’t always stop to interact.  Surprisingly, I do stop more with people than I do my ‘trash’ situations like Tom, the homeless guy or Flo, the ghost of Christmas future.

Not just as a photographer, but in any occupation, do we allow a job to separate us from who we are ?  I work for a church, and even I’ve done that on many occasions.  I sometimes hide behind my camera, creating a barrier between me and the rest of the world, not because I don’t want to help, but to keep me in my comfort zone.  As in many of my earlier posts, I’m becoming more uncomfortable with comfort.

Yesterday, Esther reminded me what it’s all about.  When I do a photo shoot, I have a new outlook on what I’m doing.  When shooting for trashsociety.com or taking images for my ‘no retail shopping’ challenge, I need to be a part of helping in the story.  I need to do more than pick up the piece of trash, I need to figure out a way to help change the situation and tell the story in a healthy way.  Thanks Esther!