Posted by: benherst | January 5, 2010

Profile: Blake Mycoskie – Part 2/4

Part 2:

TOMS’ simple slogan and principle is “One for One.”  Specifically, for every pair of shoes that is sold, a pair is given to a child in need.  The shoes are inspired by the traditional alpargata footwear that Blake observed during a polo vacation to Argentina in 2006.  On the same trip, after witnessing villages full of impoverished children who were unable to afford shoes to protect their feet, Blake – a college tennis player who dropped out to focus on his college laundry service startup – vowed to utilize his entrepreneurial spirit to make an impact on the world.  His vision morphed into a company with a social mission – to eradicate the soil-transmitted podoconiosis disease through shoe giving.  TOMS was started as a for-profit company, free from dependency on donations of time and money, for the sake of long-term sustainability.  True to his word, Blake returned to Argentina one year later for the first “Shoe Drop,” where he and his team hand-placed 10,000 pairs of new TOMS shoes on the battered feet of suffering children – the first pair of shoes for most.  To date, Blake has delivered 300,000 free pairs to children in countries all over the world, including the United States.  For his work, Blake has been honored by the Clinton Global Initiative, invited to economic policy meetings with President Obama, and given the Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence – recognizing the global corporate citizenry of American businesses – thus adding TOMS to a list that includes several multi-billion dollar companies.  These accolades recognize the inspirational impact that Blake and his initiative have had on American commerce.  Consumers may now give and receive with the same purchase, a novel concept that is redefining traditional views of the model of philanthropy.

To Be Continued…

Blake Mycoskie and a TOMS shoe.

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