TOMS, whose canvas slip-ons became favored by an international style set, is brewing up a whole new facet to its buy-one-give-one business model.
Founder Blake Mycoskie announced TOMS’ foray into coffee -- including a new chain of coffee shops, a wholesale roasting enterprise and an online subscription club -- yesterday at SXSW.
With beans sourced from Rwanda, Malawi, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru, TOMS will provide clean water for a week to residents of those countries for every bag sold. Outside of its own cafes and website, TOMS’ coffee beans will be vended exclusively at Whole Foods.
Six total roasts will be available in 12-oz. bags for $12.99 a piece, while cafes are slated to begin rolling out this month in Austin, New York, Portland and San Francisco.
And “project burlap,” as the coffee initiative was code-named, marks a new era for the company.
Mycoskie told Fortune that TOMS will henceforth enter a new product category every year, employing the same one-for-one archetype. For every item sold, in other words, a similar product or service is provided to impoverished communities across the globe.
What realms is the company eyeing? Hospitality, banking, transportation, education and beyond.
"When we think about product, we don't think, 'What can we make and sell,'" COO Joe Scirocco told the outlet. "We think, 'What does the world need, and how can we address it with a commercial endeavor?'"
Its latest endeavor also represents Mycoskie’s return to TOMS since he left the company in 2011, seeking to enjoy the fruits of his hard work.
Upon his return late last year, Mycoskie ousted TOMS’ acting CEO, Laurent Potdevin, who subsequently left to become chief of Lululemon.
For consumers scratching their heads at the unexpected product extension, TOMS is already one step ahead.
“TOMS makes coffee?” reads an inscription on each sky-blue bag of beans. “When we started as a shoe company, we knew nothing about footwear. But starting from scratch only made us work that much harder.”
Related: How I Did It: The TOMS Story
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