Toms Shoes, a brand that has won strong recognition among consumers worldwide because of its One-for-One policy of giving an extra pair of shoes or eyeglasses to people in need for each one that is bought, achieved an increase of its total sales by 35-40 percent in Europe last year, as compared to 2014. Company officials decline to specify the turnover, but part of the growth was probably derived from the takeover of the distribution in Germany and France.
Toms also recently signed a contract with a distributor in Lithuania who will also sell Toms Shoe's product line in Poland, Latvia and Estonia. Meanwhile, Toms opened a showroom for the German market in Düsseldorf last October, as the company changed to a direct distribution model. A total of four employees take care of sales in the German market, and one of them joined the team very recently, at the end of the last year. Toms Shoes also set up a marketing team in Germany. Toms plans to open a mono-brand store in the country this year.
A showroom has also been established in Paris for the French market, where Toms has its own sales team four. Sales in the U.K., which is the strongest market for the brand in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, have been carried out by the company directly since 2013.
Toms EMEA, with headquarters in Amsterdam and 12 new employees hired in the course of the last year, has been pushing the company's sales in the Middle East. The local distribution partner, the Apparel Group, operates seven franchised stores in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi-Arabia and Kuwait, five of which opened last year. Eight additional franchised stores will be opened in these markets in the first half of this year.
After Bain Capital acquired a 50 percent stake in Toms Shoes from its founder, Blake Mycoskie, in September 2014, the company accelerated its international expansion and its diversification beyond footwear. The brand opened mono-brand stores in Portland, Oregon and New York City in November 2014 and others in London and in Thessaloniki, Greece, last year. The company already operated stores in Amsterdam as well as in Venice, California, Chicago, Illinois and Austin, Texas.
New figures were presented at last month's Premium trade show in Berlin to highlight the brand's charity work. As of the beginning of this year, Toms has donated more than 50 million pairs of new shoes and 360,000 people in need have been supported by prescriptions or medical treatments for their eyesight since Mycoskie founded the company in 2006, after visiting a village in Argentina where he saw many children who were not wearing shoes.
The expansion of Toms' product range to coffee with Toms Roasting Co. took place in April 2014. Since then, Toms has been able to provide over 250,000 weeks of drinkable water for people who don't have access to safe water systems. For every bag of coffee purchased, the shoe company provides one week of water to a person in need.
The coffee is currently only sold in the U.S., but the company is looking for a roasting company in Europe to expand the product segment to European markets, too. Toms' coffee is served in the brand's flagship stores in London, Amsterdam and Thessaloniki.
Toms Shoes collaborated with the Keith Haring foundation for a special collection of Toms Classic Shoes to be presented for the first time this summer. The collection presented at this year's winter edition of Premium included for the first time waterproof shoes for men and women.