Complete with TOMS logo cookies, strawberry-infused water, and grand displays of TOMS Shoes all around the front of the store, Masons in Fayetteville was perfectly prepared for the new product release of TOMS. At 12:30pm on Tuesday, June 7, dozens of guests of all ages gathered to see the TOMS mystery box be unlocked.
TOMS Junior Copyright Editor Kellen Merrill flew to Fayetteville from the TOMS headquarters in Santa Monica, California to open the mystery box at Masons. Merrill has worked at TOMS for a year and a half and covers all of the company’s advertisement writing and emails. His favorite part of working for TOMS is their mission to help those in need. Beyond that, he adds, his favorite part is the fun and supportive people he works with. Before working for TOMS, he went on a Shoe Drop to Argentina to deliver TOMS shoes.
Before he opened the mystery box, Merrill asked the audience what product they guessed might be inside. He added that TOMS did promise to maintain their “One for One” campaign with the new product, meaning the new product would help people in need. Guesses from the audience ranged from T-shirts to water bottles and purses.
At exactly 12:40pm, after receiving the “go ahead” text from TOMS Founder Blake Mycoskie, Merrill showed a short video. On the video, Mycoskie spoke of how he became aware of the need for eye care in third-world countries. Simple eye care was lacking and causing so many to go blind at an early age.
After the video, Merrill unlocked the mystery box. He ripped off the cardboard banners inside to reveal posters and samples of the newest TOMS product: sunglasses. The audience cheered. Merrill told the premise behind the sunglasses and exactly how TOMS plans to carry out their mission. Each pair of sunglasses purchased, he explained, will “give sight to someone in need.” This could be in the form of eyeglasses, eye treatment, or eye surgeries. Unlike shoes that can be grown out of, eye surgeries and medication can help people’s vision for the rest of their lives. Merrill sees the eye care as extremely long-lasting and sustainable.
TOMS is beginning their efforts in Nepal, Cambodia, and Tibet. Their main “Giving Partner” in each of these countries is the Seva Foundation. The Seva Foundation is already mobilized to provide eye care in each of these countries. They have the doctors, the medicine, and the care already in place.
Merrill believes the TOMS sunglasses will only help the TOMS shoe sales. They will both be helping people in different way, and will double the exposure that the shoes were able to have. Shoe sales will continue going strong, he says.
TOMS sunglasses are available in three styles with two styles priced at $135 and one style priced at $145. A limited number of sunglasses are available now at Masons until the fall, when they will begin carrying them regularly. For more information, or to purchase sunglasses, visit www.toms.com.
By Mary Grace Joseph for 3W Magazine.