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Arts and Entertainment

LAist Goes Shopping: TOMS Shoes Pop-Up Store

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A few weeks ago, TOMS Shoes invited LA bloggers to check out their pop-up store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Due to their overwhelming success, the store, which was only supposed to stay until September, will continue to occupy the space until January. TOMS sells (and gives away) shoes all over the world, however this is their first and only store. This holiday season they aim to give away 30,000 pairs of shoes to children in need in Ethiopia, so it's definitely worth checking out, especially for some holiday shopping.

The concept behind TOMS (which were included in the PhiLAnthropist Gift Guide) is simple; for every pair of shoes sold, they will give a pair away to a child in need. The reality behind starting such a business, and becoming profitable enough to continue giving shoes away at an increased rate, however, is unsurprisingly much more difficult. For Tomorrow explains the story behind TOMS and founder Blake Mycoskie's experiences in Argentina that drove him to start selling these traditional Argentine shoes, known as "alpargatas".

The documentary follows Mycoskie and other TOMS members and volunteers as they travel around Argentina on TOMS first shoe drop where they give away 10,000 pairs of shoes over a span of four days and 2,210 miles. They set up both at schools in small towns and then travel into rural villages, individually fitting each child for a pair. Through discussions with Argentine families and sometimes children, For Tomorrow aims to explain the impact of giving away thousands of shoes. No, shoes won't directly solve Argentina (or any country's) problems. However, the reaction of the children and their families makes it clear that it is more than just about the shoes. The shoes enable the children to walk the many kilometers to school. And based on the emotional reaction of some of the TOMS crew during some shoe drops, it becomes clear that they begin to grasp (and struggle with) this realization too.

For Tomorrow provides a quick and deeper look into some of the stories behind their successful "one for one" mission for those interested in learning more about TOMS and this sort of new convention of selling shoes, social responsibility and giving back.

TOMS Pop-Up Store//1617 Abbot Kinney Blvd.//Venice