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Thank you TOMS!

Posted on November 08, 2013 by Betsy Nunez

Starting a business or pursuing any dream can be the most exciting and nerve wracking time of your life. Throughout the launch and development of Sword & Plough, there has been one stable constant and comfort in place -- the support that we have received from both our mentors and experienced leaders in the social innovation and retail industry.

This week we would like to highlight and thank one of our heroes within the social innovation space and someone who we truly admire, Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver at TOMS, and his entire team.

Emily, Thomas (our younger brother) and I first learned about Blake through reading his autobiography, Start Something That Matters. From the beginning, we were all very inspired.  We truly believe in the synergy between business entrepreneurship and social responsibility. We also really admire the way that TOMS has incorporated a social purpose into their product line and has been able to scale their impact substantially.

What we didn’t know was that two years after picking up Blake’s book, we would be starting something ourselves AND we would soon be a part of the TOMS family in many capacities. Since reading Blake’s autobiography and launching Sword & Plough, TOMS has opened their arms up to our team, supported our mission and is helping our venture grow on many levels.

Here is the recap of our TOMS experience:

Sword & Plough was selected as the first class of TOMS St art Something That Matters fellows at the Dell Social Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony in Austin Texas. Watch Blake’s presentation HERE.

In addition to receiving financial support for our venture through the SSTM Fellowship program, we benefited from the support and encouragement of Elite Mentoring. Our team was paired up TOMS’ amazing Director of Community, Bethany Joy Clark, for a summer of fun, learnings and project-based work geared towards pushing our S&P efforts even further.

 
  
It didn’t stop there -- In addition to elite mentoring with the TOMS staff and open forums with Blake, we had the true honor and opportunity to be one of the 30 brands selected for TOMS Marketplace. We were given the opportunity to interact more closely with the TOMS team and our mentor, Bethany, while visiting the TOMS HQ in LA for a special Marketplace Founder’s Day event.
 

This week, TOMS launched the TOMS Marketplace, a new online retail destination hosted on TOMS.com that features a curated collection of 200 socially conscious products from 30 different companies. Featured at www.TOMS.com/marketplace for US customers, each of the TOMS Marketplace partner brands has a meaningful story and shares TOMS’ deep commitment to giving to those in need. The Marketplace brands span a wide range of causes and geographic areas of impact.

Blake has said "The TOMS Marketplace represents something that is bigger than us."

By bringing together such a diverse collection of social entrepreneurs in various stages of their business, the TOMS Marketplace presents a wide assortment of products across an array of lifestyle categories, from accessories, apparel and bags to home goods, jewelry, sports equipment, tech and more. Prices range from $5 to $500 for products that have never been available at TOMS.com until today.

For the most part, the TOMS Marketplace highlights early-stage companies, each of whom was thoroughly vetted by TOMS’ Giving Department to ensure their ability to deliver on their mission statements.  The companies and causes that make up the debut TOMS Marketplace collection include:

31 Bits * Apolis * Badala * charity: water * Cleobella * Della * Denik * Falling Whistle * Fortuned Culture *From You With Love * HALF UNITED * Harper Belle Jewelry * JADETribe * JOYN * Krochet Kids intl. * Lemlem * LSTN * Movember * One World Futbol Project * Out of Print * Rose + Fitzgerald * Same Sky * Stone + Cloth * Sword & Plough * Tegu * The Base Project * The Giving Keys * The Honest Company *  Yellow Leaf Hammocks

Here are top four favorites clips from the launch of Marketplace this week:

1. TOMS Marketplace - Meet the Founders 

2. Lucky Magazine Interview with Blake 
Lucky: How did you go about selecting the 30 brands to include in the new Marketplace?
Blake Mycoskie: We selected brands and products who have either been inspired by TOMS or who inspire us. Each of the products featured on Marketplace have a cause/give back component, ranging from jewelry that empowers women and job creation in Uganda to headphones that help restore someone's hearing to bags that help veteran employment and strengthen civil-military relations.

3. Elle.com Interview with Blake
On helping to establish the company:"When I wrote my book, I committed to giving 50 percent of all the profits to social entrepreneurs," he said. "I created the Start Something That Matters fund for people that have an idea with a giving component to apply for grants. Sword & Plough won one of the grants, so I actually helped fund their business and have known about them from the beginning."

4. Our amazing S&P Communication Director, Haik Kavookjian, seen here next to TOMS first ever billboard on the NYC cross streets of Thompson and Watts.  

We are honored to know you and your team, Blake and are so incredibly fortunate to have your support! On behalf of our entire team, thank you for believing in and amplifying Sword & Plough’s mission! This is just the beginning!

Sincerely,

Betsy (and the S&P Team)
Co-Founder & COO


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