You’ve seen them before, the simple canvas slip ons, whether it be walking through Paddington or around Brunswick. Love them or hate them, you can’t deny the good TOMS is doing around the world.
They call themselves The One for One Company. Every time you buy a pair of their shoes, they donate a pair to a child in over 70 countries allowing children to walk to school, play, enjoy their life!
It doesn’t end there though. Since its inception, the company has grown to offer more and more life enriching and extending services and launch several more initiatives. Every time someone buys a pair of glasses from Toms, sight is returned to someone through cataract or trachoma surgery. Their range of 100% sustainable coffee ensures rural farmers are ethically treated. Through the purchase of Toms bags, training is provided to birth attendants to reduce the risk of infant and mother mortality. The list goes on.
The boss behind it all? Blake Mycoskie. Entrepreneurism was in the Chief Shoe Giver’s DNA from a young age. While at University during the 90s he founded the business which would launch his career, EZ laundry; a university based laundry service. The company spread to 3 campuses in the south of the States as sales pushed towards $1 million.
This was just the beginning, Mycoskie opened several more companies over the next decade including advertising firm, Mycoskie Media, and Reality Central, a cable network. He also appeared on the Amazing Race. Our boss had already lived an extraordinary life before he had even come close to making his biggest life choice.
While travelling through South America in 2006, he noticed several children living without shoes. On return to the US, he founded the company today known as TOMS. While for-profit, the main idea behind the idea was to provide shoes to those in need. A perfect example of how business can indeed by beneficial to many. Business boomed and shoes were being given out right through out the world, it was not enough for Mycoskie. The business expanded into sunglasses and bags and the social benefits only kept coming.
In 2014, 50% of TOMS was purchased by Bain Capital. Blake decided that 50% of profit from sale would be used to start up a new social entrepreneurship firm. Bain Capital matched the figure. What a boss. The company is estimated to be worth $625million USD.
Myscoskie now spends 3 months per year travelling the world, getting lost, living his dream before returning home to continue the social good.
The story of Blake Mycoskie and TOMS goes to prove just how beneficial business can be. In fact, generosity was the key to his success. Keep it in mind.