By creating quality apparel products around a social mission, Bombas maintains high profits margin and still keeps winning the trust of customers, employees and more
When counting United States’ social enterprises that make giving back to the community a part of their DNA, it is hard not to mention the New-York based apparel brand, Bombas—a startup that donates one clothing item to homeless communities for every sold (clothing) item.
Founded in 2013 after its co-founders, David Heath and Randy Goldberg engaged in extensive product research that lasted for two years, Bombas has grown to become a household name among the homeless communities in the United States. Through partnerships with over 3,000 organizations across the country, this community-focused startup has donated more than 40 million items of clothing to underserved communities, focusing on the homeless population in the country.
Although many businesses engage in philanthropic work as part of their corporate social responsibility, Bombas make all the difference by fusing social goods into its business model. Through its one-for-one business model
, the company has consistently embarked on a mission to help the homeless while making a profit at the same time.
From the outset, David (co-founder of Bombas) was moved by the fact that half of a million people experiencing homelessness in the US don’t have access to socks. While socks could be easily neglected as part of clothing items, David discovered its importance to people on the streets–socks are the most requested clothing item among the homeless communities. To them, socks not only provide health benefits such as protection from cold, infection and diseases, but they also serve as a source of pride.
With these startling facts, the co-founders recognized an opportunity to introduce a high-quality product that reflects its social mission of making an impact on the world. Adopting the ‘buy-one, give-one’ blueprint seems plausible because they saw that the pioneer of the business model, TOMS Shoes
, were making all-around success at that time.
Due to consumer demand, the Bombas expanded from producing only socks to another category of products – T-shirt, sweatpants and underwear–in recent times. Just as the socks, for each of these clothing items that are sold, Bombas will give away a one to someone who needs it. Despite this generous act of giving back to society, Bombas annual revenue is estimated to be $100 million, according to media reports. One of its current growth projections, according to the co-founders, is to become a billion-dollar company.
“I think when we look at the future, we could easily be a billion-dollar brand in revenue in the next 5 to 10 years, David told Yahoo! Finance
in 2019. “We’re not necessarily thinking about, how we’re maximizing value for ourselves and our shareholders. We’re really thinking about how we build a brand that is going to be around for our grandkids?”, he added.
100% Customer Happiness, Guaranteed!
Bombas’ Customer Promise, "The Bombas Customer Happiness Team is your go-to when you need a recommendation, a refund, or just a reason to smile. Seriously, reach out. Even just to say hi” - speaks about the commitment and passion of the company for customer delight. To deliver on its promise to its customers, the company has hired a bunch of the best, nicest, most awesome human beings to help with anything customers need - even if it is just a smile -:)
Putting Employees At The Heart Of The Social Mission
To facilitate employee engagement with its mission, Bombas requires new hires to distribute 10 pairs of socks to homeless people in their first 2 weeks of work. The seven-year-old company also runs a weekly volunteering program where a group of its employees joins donor organizations to distribute clothing items and food to different communities.
Another linchpin in the area of employee relations is the company’s special initiative for black communities, developed in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement
in 2020. Known as The Black Hive, the initiative allows black employees at Bombas to develop clothing items that celebrate the black heritage and culture.
Finally, it is interesting to know that Bombas’s way of treating its workers has yielded good results. One, it has been awarded
the best place to work in New York multiple times by Crains
. Secondly, employees boast about the level of investment they receive. In a survey conducted by Great Place To Work
, nearly 100% of Bombas employees confirmed that the company provides a working system for growth, fulfilment, and happiness. According to an article on Forbes
, only seven people have quit work at Bombas as of 2020, another reflection of the level of employee engagement with the company’s social mission.
Do the mission and the work of Bombas inspire you? If show, go ahead and show them your support by sharing their story with your network via Twitter and Facebook.