Compassionate Consumerism Draws Copycats

Niche businesses that aim to help the poor attract competitors
Sustainability and authenticity are draws at Treasure and Bond

When Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS shoes six years ago, his pitch to consumers—buy a pair and a second one will be donated to the needy—helped launch a phenomenon that retail consultants call compassionate consumerism. Since then it’s been imitated widely by established brands. Inspired by TOMS, Skechers USA launched a brand called BOBS, as in Benefiting Others By Shoes. Urban Outfitters stores feature apparel by Threads for Thought, which gives part of its sales proceeds to humanitarian groups.

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