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Bombas has aimed to help people who are experiencing homelessness by donating an item of clothing for every item purchased. They distribute it throughout their network of 3500+ giving partners, all with the goal of helping homeless shelters, etc.
The innovation is donating a pair of socks for every item purchased to homeless shelters and other people in need. Bombas designed their socks to be comfortable and durable. Each sock has a cushioned footbed with thicker material to provide more comfort and support for your soles. They spent over two years on research and development to improve everything about the commoditized product – from the toe seam, the materials used for arch support, and the way the sock are worn and washed. The result was the most comfortable sock in the history of feet. The innovation emerged when Randy Goldberg and David Heath learned that socks were the most needed item in homeless shelters. For hygienic reasons, homeless shelters do not allow used socks and underwear. Bombas made it their mission to help donate these socks and try to solve a problem in their community.
According to Kelly Cobb, the Vice President of Giving, “Bombas exists to help solve this problem, to support the homeless community, and to bring awareness to an under-publicized problem in the United States.” The company took inspiration from Tom’s Shoes and their mission of donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair they sell. This one-for-one giveback was a growing business model back in 2011. David was shocked when they found out that something most people took for granted, socks, was an urgent need in homeless shelters. He then discussed it with his friend Randy, and they became inspired to create a sock company that donates to charity.
Bombas has donated nearly 20 million pairs of socks to over 2200 partners across all 50 states. When the business first launched, it aimed to donate 250,000 pairs of socks in a year. They surpassed that when in their first year, they donated 350,000 pairs of socks. Bombas is the type of business where purpose and profit are married together, allowing them to make such a significant impact.
Bombas now has a team of nearly 30 people. Each time a new hire is brought on the team, they’re given ten pairs of socks to donate in the community to those in need. This business practice has helped them connect their employees directly with the business mission. Even outside of the company, Bombas has created a culture of volunteering and giving back. Bombas now has more than 600 donation partners across the U.S.
Bombas realized that buying and donating socks might accomplish something in the short term but would have little long-term impact. With that, they devised the plan of the one purchased equal one donated business model. This model made them see the long-term effects of their numbers skyrocketing and more socks being purchased and donated.
The numbers speak for themselves. As of June 30, 2022, they have 86,474,933 clothing items donated and 51,664,895 clothing items distributed. As Bombas' Giving Partner network grows, they are committed to furthering their advocacy, donations, and storytelling on behalf of their Giving Partners and those experiencing homelessness.
Bombas products have not only helped solve a social issue but have also helped their customers. Their clothing items' unique quality and design have not been seen anywhere else. This helps their business have a competitive advantage over others and makes them profitable.
Bombas has been faithful to its business model since its creation, with one pair of socks donated for each pair sold. Randy Goldberg and David Heath identified that socks are the most needed item in U.S. homeless shelters. To support the homeless community, Bombas chose to help the less fortunate for social benefit impact. Bombas also lets the public see their impact report on their website, where customers can follow the donation numbers over 85 million+ and distributing with their 3500+ network of giving partners. They design their products with durability in mind so that there is less waste and environmental impact, while using recycled materials to produce the best socks one can have.
Kelly Cobb, Vice President of Giving
Bombas manufactures socks, underwear, and t-shirts for men, women, teens, and girls, enabling customers to wear comfortable, soft and durable products. By implementing a one purchased one donated policy, they have donated over 85 million clothes/socks.