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Buy one, give one: How these 5 companies are giving back

The ‘buy one, give one’ business model is being adopted by businesses as a way to give back to those in need.

Warby Parker

Also known as ‘one for one’, the model was pioneered by footwear company TOMS and is a trend that has gained popularity ever since.

It operates under the simple premise that for one item sold, another identical item is donated to a person in need.

In 2006, Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS using this model and it has since provided more than 60 million pairs of shoes to those in need. The company has since expanded its product range to bags, eyewear and apparel which also use the one for one model to provide water, eyesight and safe birth services.

Here are five companies following in his footsteps.

  1. Warby Parker

    For every pair of glasses sold at eyewear company Warby Parker (pictured above), a pair is given to someone in need.

    According to the World Health Organization and Warby Parker partner VisionSpring, providing one pair of glasses in the developing world can increase productivity by 35%. This ultimately increases monthly income by 20%.

    The ‘Buy a Pair, Give a Pair’ program also trains people in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell glasses at affordable prices. Warby Parker has given more than three million pairs of glasses since it was launched in 2010.

  2. SoapBox

    SoapBox sells a range of bathroom products including body wash, liquid hand soap and bar soap. For each product sold, whether in store or online, a bar of soap is donated to someone in need – it’s one of the most requested items in homeless shelters.


    Founded in 2010, SoapBox works in collaboration with Clean the World, an organisation that collects remnants of hotel bar soap and remakes it into new bars. These bars are then donated to homeless shelters within the US.

    Internationally, SoapBox works together with local soap makers; buying its soap and distributing it at schools, medical centres and orphanages.

    The organisation also collaborates with non-profit organisations to teach local communities how to make their own soap. More than 2.9 million bars have been donated so far.

  3. Bombas

    For every pair of socks sold at Bombas, one pair is donated to those in need.

    The company’s name comes from the Latin word for bumblebee as bees work together to make their world better. The bumblebee also forms the basis of Bombas’ motto ‘Bee better’ – a phrase that is also knitted on the inside of every pair of socks.

    Bombas socks have been specifically designed with a honeycomb structure that provides extra support. They have a special anti-microbial treatment so they don’t have to be washed as often.

    In addition, the socks have reinforced seams and come in darker colours to decrease visible wear. Bombas has partnered with several organisations throughout the US to donate its socks to people in need. More than7.8 million pairs have been given since it was founded in 2013.

  4. Roma Boots

    Roma Boots was founded by Samuel Bistrian in 2010 after noticing impoverished children travelling through snow and rain with improper shoes in his home country, Romania.

    Roma Boots

    While pursuing a career in the fashion industry, Samuel met TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie and was inspired to start his own business.

    For every one pair of rain boots sold, another is given to children and families in need around the world. In addition, 10% of the company’s proceeds go towards educational resources and initiatives worldwide.

  5. FIGS

    FIGS creates comfortable and functional medical apparel designed to meet the demands of medical professionals. These are wrinkle resistant, antimicrobial and made of durable fabrics. They are also lightweight and breathable.

    For each set of scrubs sold, one is given to a healthcare provider around the world. FIGS has donated more than 75,000 pairs to people in 34 countries.

Find out what companies like H&M, IKEA and Coca-Cola are doing to give back.

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