TOMS shoes, a shoe, eyewear and coffee company with a Buy-One Give-One (BOGO) model, has launched a new initiative focused on job creation in Haiti, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. This new project, The Haiti Artist Initiative, is ambitiously setting its sights beyond job creation alone. In addition to providing shoe production jobs for Haitians, it has a larger goal of establishing and supporting a responsible shoe industry in the country. In addition, the initiative commissions local artists to create limited edition TOMS Shoes. Each pair is hand-painted allowing for each TOMS customer to ‘rock’ a true work of art. Through this initiative, TOMS has found a way to transcend its initial BOGO model for impact. The BOGO model has faced substantial criticism for failing to create economic prosperity, and close income gaps, in addition to it shortcomings as a viable sustainable business model for future endeavors. However, by establishing locally run facilities with fair wages, suitable working conditions, and a positive working environment and culture, TOMS is implementing a model to spur economic empowerment beyond its own efforts, while serving as an example for big businesses to work in Haiti moving forward.

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