Toms relaunches local offering

Eight years after entering the Australian market, Toms has opened its first permanent bricks-and-mortar location on Little Collins Street in Melbourne.

The store, which opened its doors last month and “officially” launched last week, features a broader range of men’s, women’s and kids’ footwear, as well as bags and sunglasses, than was previously available to Australian consumers through pop-up stores or wholesale partners. Consumers can also shop online through a new local website, which launched in May.

The change comes after Toms shifted away from internally managing its presence in Australia and New Zealand to a distributor model. The California-based retailer appointed Retail Prodigy Group (RPG), Nike’s biggest franchise partner in the country, in February.

RPG general manager Franc Renzi said  the company was “inundated with good will”, receiving comments like “finally” and “at last” when the store opened.

“Interestingly, [we received] a lot of requests out of NSW asking when we are bringing Toms to Sydney,” Renzi told IRW.

Prior to the store opening, RPG CEO Stephen Younane told IRW that Toms’ unique giving model resonated with customers, making it an attractive partner to work with.

He cited one recent example, when RPG sent out two emails to its customer database in the same week – one offered a discount, while the other highlighted Toms’ one-forone model, where for every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is given to a child in need.

“The traffic on our site went up threefold after that message, compared with the one about a discount,” Younane said.

Toms founder Blake Mycoskie is widely credited with popularising, if not creating, the one-for-one retail model. Over the years, he has broadened the impact of the business beyond shoes to include funding for medical treatment to restore eyesight and access to safe water.

Many retailers have since founded their own businesses on the one-for-one model, including local streetwear label HoMie, which donates items of clothing to people living on the street and offers training programs to help young people experiencing homelessness to gain employment.

Toms recently selected HoMie as a local project it will be supporting over the coming months, and invited HoMie founders Nick Pearce and Marcus Crook to travel to Hyderabad, India, to witness the impact of its giving program on local communities.

“It was really inspiring to me to see that it’s […] had a real impact, and our program is on the right track. It was sort of like seeing the HoMie program into the future a little bit, which was cool,” Crook told IRW.

RPG last week launched a second US brand in Australia, with the opening of the first Timbuk2 bricks-and-mortar store in Melbourne


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