Mitscoots Outfitters: The Buy-one, Give-one Company that Also Gives Jobs
Many question the ultimate impact of the buy-one, give-one model. The main criticism is that while resource provision feels good, it is simply a band-aid and does not address root causes of problems. Dropping off resources fosters dependency and inadvertenly undercuts demand for local products.
TOMS, the pioneer of this approach, has even pivoted its business model to give more meaningfully. TOMS Bags support training and give supplies for safe births and care for babies. Warby Parker gives glasses, but charges a small fee to promote ownership. In doing so, it also trains the local workforce to provide the eye exams.
More social enterprises are using "new and improved" models. In fact, they are often now categorized into three types: 1.0 companies that treat symptoms, 2.0 companies that treat causes, and 3.0 companies that restore. Mitscoots Outfitters, an Austin-based company, is a 2.0 company to look out for.
Mitscoots Outfitters uses a “Get, Give, Employ” model. With each item you get, Mitscoots Outfitters gives an equal item to someone transitioning from homelessness. The 2.0 part is in the job creation aspect. The company partners with shelters and placement agencies to employ homeless individuals to prepare and package the items. Workers are paid for each item that is packaged, which "averages to well over minimum wage."
Mitscoots also strives to do good with manufacturing decisions. All products are 100% made in the USA - in North Carolina. This ultimately supports American manufacturers, which are losing out to factories abroad who can offer lower labor prices.
Through this 2.0 model, Mitscoots gives basic items and creates jobs to treat a cause of homelessness.The goal is to build the self-esteem and work experience of those in need to prepare them to maintain a permanent home. In the end, the gift of opportunity can make all the difference.
Photos: IG @mitscoots