Looking to restore your faith in humanity? Joshua Coombes is your guy. Our new muse, he started out giving free haircuts to the homeless in London and has since created a huge movement called Do Something For Nothing.

He’s a real-life hero to the homeless community, raising awareness of their cause and making a difference to their quality of life. By listening to their stories and telling them in a real way; he brings a sense of dignity and self-esteem to a community who feels largely ignored – now that can’t be anything but great work.

Joshua has found a trusted partnership with TOMS and is one of many Changemakers in their Stand For Tomorrow campaign. With both parties trying to stand up for issues that matter; it just fits. In a recent interview with TOMS, Joshua gives a glimpse into their amazing work.


TOMS: What does the ‘Do Something For Nothing’ movement stand for?

Joshua Coombes: Do Something For Nothing represents fours words that mean human connection. It’s about trying to address the fact that I believe everyone inherently wants to find moments with one another where you can have some connection with people who are in your community. My version of that is going out and cutting hair for somebody who is on the street.

T: Tell us about the last project you and TOMS collaborated on?

J: I’ve actually just come back from a European tour with TOMS and we put on an art show called ‘Light + Noise’. The focus of this art show was to amplify the stories of people who are experiencing homelessness. So we toured four cities which were; Manchester, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin and at each exhibition, we worked with local NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organisation) and charities that TOMS has donated to, also, local artists. So there was this feel that brought together different elements and it was a really nice way of starting a new conversation about this.

T: Why is TOMS a good partner for the Do Something For Nothing movement?

J: Not once has there felt like a moment where we don’t align on everything. Because truly, whether they’re giving One For One on shoes or helping out communities like when I went to India with them last year and saw more work that they do on the ground there. It’s one and the same.

T: What has been the most empowering story you have heard?

J: There’s a guy called Elko in Amsterdam that I first met a few months ago, we’ve kept in touch since and I have already seen him transition and get a key to a room, to his new place. That often doesn’t happen in such a short space of time but we’ve become friends really quickly. He came along to the exhibition and I think that was so incredible for people there because the idea of this art exhibit is to try and make some worlds collide. People who are living on the street, bring them to amplify their lives on the wall. His story is empowering because even though he was on the streets for a long time, he never lost hope and I can genuinely tell that in him and that’s really strong. That’s resilience that I think anyone can learn a lesson from.

T: What is your ultimate goal for the movement?

J: The vision for Do Something For Nothing in the future is actually to try and involve more cities worldwide. Right now there are so many people I talk to each day on Instagram and Facebook and it’s just trying to make that grow. I think more of a solidified way, where there is charters of people in each city, people who can really use Do Something For Nothing as an antidote to some of the chaos in everyday life.

T: What is your favourite thing about what you do?

J: I feel so lucky that I can spend time with people in this way, that no matter where I am in the world, that I want to stop in a city on a street corner and get my things out and I start cutting someone’s hair. It sort of forms this little pocket of community in such a busy place, like in a city like Mumbai because it’s as busy as you’re ever going to get, and it was nice just to have those moments where everything sort of stops for an hour or so.

T: How have you changed as a person since starting the movement?

J: It’s changed because of the kind of people I meet, I’ve learnt how to really listen. I thought I knew before but I think the last few years the biggest lesson I’ve learnt myself personally, is that I feel slowly but surely I can actually listen and be present for someone in a way that I didn’t really know how to do before.

T: How can people get involved in the movement, what advice would you give our followers?

J: There’s a quick exercise, I say to people which is, if you want to go out and help some people in your community and you’re listening to this and you think I want to Do Something For Nothing, well grab a piece of paper and write down the 3 things that you really enjoy in your life. One of mine for me was hairdressing, and music amongst other things, and next to that list write a list of areas you feel compassionate towards like individuals or groups of people who you might want to help. Go out using the things you already enjoy to help someone because there will be a way no matter how trivial it seems. That’s the best advice I could give is, the smallest idea can actually become something.

If that doesn’t inspire you to make a small difference in the world, we don’t know what will. Go on, find your passion and use it to help others in your community, and hey, it’ll make you feel pretty good about yourself too.