Blake Mycoskie is a serial entrepreneur best known for founding TOMS and the person behind the idea of One for One®, a business model that helps a person in need with every product purchased.
A simple idea has grown into a global movement: TOMS Shoes has provided over 86 million pairs of shoes to children since 2006, TOMS Eyewear has restored sight to over 400,000 since 2011 and TOMS Roasting Company has helped provide over 335,000 weeks of safe water since launching in 2014. In 2015, TOMS Bag Collection was founded with the mission to help provide training for skilled birth attendants and distribute birth kits containing items that help a woman safely deliver her baby. As of 2016, TOMS has supported safe birth services for over 25,000 mothers.
TOMS humble beginnings happened unintentionally. While traveling in Argentina in 2006, Blake witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. His solution to the problem was simple, yet revolutionary: to create a for-profit business that was sustainable and not reliant on donations. Blake’s vision soon turned into the simple business idea that provided the powerful foundation for TOMS.
Over the course of its first five years, TOMS was successful enough in providing shoes for children in need. But Blake, having recognized other vital needs during his travels around the world, realized that One for One® could be applied to more than shoes. He developed the idea for TOMS Eyewear in which for every pair of eyewear purchased, TOMS would help give sight to a person in need. One for One®. In the fall of 2011, Blake released his first book, Start Something That Matters, offering his own amazing story of inspiration, and the power of incorporating giving in business. He references other companies and individuals who have been motivated and inspired to integrate philanthropy into their profession as well as their personal lives. The book became a New York Times best-seller. More importantly, it is Blake’s hope that Start Something That Matters inspires others to turn their passion and dreams into a reality.
From shoes to eyewear and now a book, Blake’s unique approach to business has awarded him with numerous accolades. In 2009, Blake and TOMS received the Secretary of State’s 2009 Award of Corporate Excellence (ACE). At the Clinton Global Initiative University plenary session, former President Clinton introduced Blake to the audience as “one of the most interesting entrepreneurs (I’ve) ever met.” People Magazine featured Blake in its “Heroes Among Us” section, and TOMS Shoes was featured in the Bill Gates Time Magazine article “How to Fix Capitalism.” In 2011, Blake was named on Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” list, recognizing him as one of the top young businessmen in the world.
Why Businesses Should Stand For More Than Just Money
Blake Mycoskie is the Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Start Something That Matters, and a world renowned philanthropist. TOMS has given over 10 million pairs of new shoes to children in need since it began in 2006 through it’s One for One program, where for every shoe sold they donate an additional shoe to children in need. Through the success of his company, they recently expanded its unique business model to include TOMS Eyewear. In 2009, Blake and TOMS received the Secretary of State’s 2009 Award of Corporate Excellence (ACE). At the Clinton Global Initiative University plenary session, former President Clinton introduced Blake to the audience as “one of the most interesting entrepreneurs (I’ve) ever met.”
In 2011, Blake was named on Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” list, recognizing him as one of the top young businessmen in the world. In the following interview, he talks about the art of philanthropy, how he created TOMS, how they’ve used social networks effectively, why your company should be based off your passion and the impact he’s seen on children he’s helped.
What Makes a Great Brand Story
The shoe company's founder explains why the Toms business model has resonated so strongly with consumers.
The New Social Entrepreneurism
How do you turn ideas into great businesses? And how do you create businesses that people love, and love to talk about? In this keynote, serial entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie shares his secrets for starting, growing, and sustaining new businesses. Before TOMS, Mycoskie ran a successful national campus laundry service, sold a media company to Clear Channel, and ran an online driving school featuring hybrid cars. Where did each idea come from, and what is the common thread connecting their success?
With infectious enthusiasm, hard-won lessons, and a generous sense of encouragement, Mycoskie lets you in on the proven tactics he’s used to become one of the new faces of American entrepreneurism.
Conscious Capitalism and the Future of Business
In this visionary talk, Blake Mycoskie shows you how to succeed in a new era of relentless competition and heightened social awareness. Why is philanthropy your best competitive advantage? How do you make money and do good simultaneously? How are the two acts intertwined? At TOMS—a self-sustaining, for-profit company—the act of giving is the cornerstone of its business model, integral to its financial success. In a behind-the-scenes look at how it all works, Mycoskie shares counterintuitive ideas (“In tough times, give more!”) that you can apply to your own business.
His bold, winning strategies are proven, and have been talked about by Bill Clinton, the Obama administration, and the hundreds of thousands of customers that have joined the TOMS Movement by buying a pair of shoes. Inspired, inspiring and most of all practical, Mycoskie presents a new direction for business, offering TOMS as his prime case study. After hearing him speak, you too will know why giving just makes sense.
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