When TOMS decided to bring its EMEA headquarters to Europe in 2012, the L.A.-based footwear company found a home in Amsterdam, where fashion, social innovation and creativity collide. Referred to as the “one for one concept,” TOMS’ business model consists of delivering a free pair of new shoes to a child in need for each shoe sale. This innovative blend of for-profit and social entrepreneurship has garnered the company much recognition worldwide.
When considering locations to base its European headquarters, both the UK and the Netherlands were considered. “When making our final decision on location, the Netherlands had some clear advantages,” said Martin Johnston, managing director (former) of TOMS EMEA. “Major fashion brands are based here. There is a large talent pool to draw from. Plus, the proximity of the Port of Rotterdam and of our distribution center meant we were able to penetrate lots of markets from here.”
Once the company had chosen the Netherlands, Amsterdam was the obvious location for its office. “Amsterdam is a hub for social innovation, sustainability, creativity and fashion,” said Johnston. And it has proven to be the right choice. “The city has definitely adopted TOMS,” he added.
“The Netherlands is globally one of the top three countries in terms of making a commitment to a better world,” Johnston continued. “And the contacts I have made so far have vindicated our decision to base ourselves here. There is a clear commitment in this country to sustainability and a better way to do business.”
Johnston also cited the huge amount of support and assistance TOMS got from NFIA and amsterdam inbusiness: “They were great! They reached out to us, showed us around and made us feel at home here in Amsterdam.”