Toms Combines Philanthropy and Virtual Reality
By Khanh T.L. Tran
In an effort to quell the cynics who doubt that it actually provides shoes, glasses and water access to needy communities as part of its “One for One” philosophy, the Los Angeles-based company is letting people tag along on one of its giving trips to Peru through a virtual reality headset. Directed by Jon Watts, the four-minute film gives the audience a bird’s-eye view of the dusty terrain in a remote part of Peru before plopping them next to its employees as they measure kids’ feet for shoes and play soccer with them between pastel-painted buildings in the village.
Starting today, the company is providing one kit — which integrates technology and equipment from Oculus, Samsung and LSTN at a cost of $1,000 apiece — to each of its stores in London; Amsterdam; Los Angeles; New York; Chicago; Austin, Tex., and Portland, Ore. Last weekend, it set up virtual reality nooks in the shoe departments of Nordstrom stores in Seattle and Cerritos, Calif. If naysayers need further proof, Toms even displays the four styles of black shoes that it provides to the kids so that they can hold onto something while on the virtual trip.