Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie announced Wednesday at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York that the company will reaffirm its commitment to Haiti by setting up production there.
In January 2014, the firm will move into a 10,000-sq.-ft. facility located in Port-au-Prince. Toms has made a five-year pledge to produce millions of shoes in Haiti to support the growth of a responsible and sustainable Haitian footwear industry. On a bigger scale, by the end of 2015, Toms should produce a minimum of one-third of its “giving” shoes (the product it hands out as part of its one-for-one mission) in regions where those shoes are donated.
“Toms is extremely proud and excited to make this commitment, and we would not be in this position if it wasn’t for President Clinton’s ongoing leadership inspiration,” said Mycoskie in a statement. “Three years ago at CGI, [he] asked me to help support the people of Haiti, and Toms responded by giving hundreds of thousands of new pairs of shoes to children in need. Today, our dedication to Haiti is so much greater, and we look forward to creating jobs and opportunities [there] over the next several years.”
Over the past year, Toms has collaborated with more than 30 artisans in Haiti to design a limited-edition series of retail shoes under the Haitian Artists Collective banner. That initiative will continue. The company said it also expects to generate local partnerships to support infrastructure and workforce support systems for employees and the broader community.
The move into Haiti marks the first time Toms will have the chance to support the development of public-private partnerships, job opportunities and collaborate with the U.S. government on import and export opportunities from Haiti.